Like how he broke down Eagles film prior to his visit to Philly (Matthews said he tried to do that for every team he had a meeting with during the pre-draft process); or how he asked for tape of the defensive backs he’d be facing at the Senior Bowl, then woke up before dawn to dissect it.
Big on precision, Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage said of the Vanderbilt wideout: “I think when the offensive coaches say that we want you to run this route at eleven and three-quarters yards…he’s going to be at eleven and three-quarters yards. He’s going to do exactly what he’s told to do.”
Does the SEC’s all-time leading receiver consider himself a perfectionist?
“I like to say a technician,” Matthews replied. “To think you are ever going to be perfect, that’s absurd. I always feel like I try to be a technician. I try to take what the coaches give me, apply it to my game and do it to the best of my ability.
“I feel like I am one of the most competitive guys ever. I believe that’s what really feeds into my work ethic. I want to be the first guy up, first guy in the building. I want to be the last to leave. I like to compete in everything I do. I’m going to try and eat healthier than you, I’m going to try and go out and practice harder than you, I’m going to try and stretch longer. It’s kind of been ingrained in me over time because my parents were that way, my older brother is that way. This character has manifested in me and I feel like that’s just who I am. I feel like in the NFL, everybody works hard. I just try and give myself an extra edge.”
The Alabama native explained that some of his additional drive stems from the fact that he didn’t get any offers coming out of high school. He received one from Vanderbilt only after another player decommitted.
“It wasn’t like I was being looked over by some teams, I wasn’t wanted essentially by anybody,” he said. “It didn’t matter what round I went in, free agency, I would still want to keep that chip on my shoulder and go help whatever team got me.”
Matthews talks “Murderleg”
Following his press conference Friday, Matthews spent a few extra minutes in the hallway speaking with a smaller group of reporters. There he was asked for his take on everybody’s new favorite kicker, Carey Spear.
“I think people have started a new nickname — ‘Thunderleg’ or something,” said Matthews.
“Murderleg,” the group of reporters shot back in unison.
“Murderleg, that’s it,” said Matthews with a smile. “He is awesome. He is not your regular kicker, not your regular special-teams guy. At Vanderbilt, he would come in and lift with the receivers, with the running backs, with the quarterbacks. I think he repped out 225 something like 16, 17 times. Dude is a hard worker. In conditioning, in sprints, he always raced with me to make sure he was first. He is a professional.”
The nickname came from a Vanderbilt blog because of Spear’s reputation for launching himself at the opposition on kickoff coverage. One such instance came against Tennessee and elite return man Cordarrelle Patterson, now with the Vikings.
“When you watch the replay you can’t see the sidelines,” Matthews said. “but we were going crazy.”