As Casey Matthews described it, he just made the call "on the fly."
The Browns lined up at their own 20-yard line. It was first-and-10 with 4:49 left in the first quarter. Matthews noticed that the Browns shifted the tight end so to counter he made the call for the line to shift as well. It was the perfect call as Matthews stopped running back Montario Hardesty for no gain. Making calls such as that one in Thursday's 24-14 win over Cleveland is starting to become easier for the rookie middle linebacker.
"When they shift the tight end, you have to move the front or you'll be playing left-handed," Matthews said. "Stuff like that, it's becoming more natural now. It's just becoming more natural now instead of having to think about it too much."
Matthews finished the game with five total tackles, which was tied for most on the team. After getting his first extended amount of reps against the Steelers last week, Matthews had a better idea of what to expect. The Eagles also simulated the preparation for a game week leading up to the Browns contest by studying their tendencies on film.
"I felt like we improved a lot, just knowing what to expect out there," Matthews said.
Against the Steelers, Matthews said that after watching the game film the players were in the right position but plays were just not made. The Steelers put up 21 points on the Eagles' first-team defense. There wasn't a repeat of that performance on Thursday night as the Browns starters were held to just 103 yards of total offense and more importantly zero points.
"He got guys where they were supposed to be. That's the guy that gets the defense setup," strong safety Jarrad Page said. "He played well. He was vocal. You could hear him. The rest is physical and he can do that."
It didn't hurt that the man on the strong side, Jamar Chaney, had a tackle, good coverage in pass protection and was around the ball all night.
"He had a great game. I think he had a couple pass breakups. He felt more comfortable out there," Matthews said. "We didn't know too much of what to expect last week. Now we know, we had to learn from it. We did. Same thing this week, we're going to watch the film. Look at any mistakes we made and correct them."
Matthews did play in the second half with the second-team nickel defense. It remains to be seen whether Matthews will get any snaps in the preseason finale, but Thursday was a step in the right direction for the rookie linebacker.
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