Early offseason work has surely put a smile on Clay Matthews' face. The linebacker moved back to the outside after spending much of the past two years lost inside.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Matthews has spent the "majority" of his snaps at outside linebacker, which is where the Green Bay Packers hope he'll stay this season.
"As I've continued to say, I think (outside linebacker) is my most natural position, my most impactful position, and I think we'll see that on a more consistent basis this season," Matthews said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Pushing Matthews back outside is the goal, but whether he remains there depends on how those inside fare once real bullets are flying. The Packers hope Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington and fourth-round rookie Blake Martinez will stabilize a middle that has been porous -- necessitating Matthews playing inside in certain formations.
"Only time will tell on those things," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "You never really know until you get into playing games, and you have the pads on. So many times guys will look one way in OTAs, and then you get into the preseason and it's a different game when you've got the pads on, you're going full go and that type of thing.
"I think we've got some young guys there that are going to be ascending. We've just got to evaluate how much progress they make."
It's clear Matthews wants to be outside, in a position to get after the quarterback. The Packers want that too. But after Ted Thompson again decided not to thrust many resources into the position, whether it happens on a full-time basis in 2016 will depend on how other players progress.