On Now
Coming Up
  • Sun., May. 31, 2015 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM CDT Packers Coaching School

    The Green Bay Packers are set to host the team’s second annual “Green Bay Packers Coaching School” at Lambeau Field on Sunday, May 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    The complimentary coaching school has a curriculum exclusively designed for youth football coaches, and can accommodate a maximum of 300 coaches. The event will feature innovative classroom sessions in the Lambeau Field Atrium, as well as on-field football instruction from top local high school and youth football coaches in the Don Hutson Center.

  • Tue., Jun. 02, 2015 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM CDT Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Three of the Packers’ upcoming OTA practices will be open to the public at Clarke Hinkle Field.

    The three open practices, weather permitting, will take place on May 28, June 2 and June 10. All practices are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

  • Tue., Jun. 02, 2015 1:35 PM - 2:05 PM CDT Live Mike McCarthy press conf.

    Head Coach Mike McCarthy available in Media Auditorium

  • Wed., Jun. 03, 2015 3:00 PM CDT Mentor-Protégé Program Fourth Session Celebration The Green Bay Packers Mentor-Protégé Program is set to recognize the successes of the program’s fourth session participants on Wednesday, June 3, at a reception at 3 p.m. in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
  • Sat., Jun. 06, 2015 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM CDT Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic The 18th annual Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic is set for Saturday, June 6, inside the Don Hutson Center, the Packers’ indoor practice facility.
  • Wed., Jun. 10, 2015 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM CDT Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Three of the Packers’ upcoming OTA practices will be open to the public at Clarke Hinkle Field.

    The three open practices, weather permitting, will take place on May 28, June 2 and June 10. All practices are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

News

Print
RSS

Countdown to camp: Cornerback may be deepest position

Posted Jul 22, 2014

Battle at safety feature attraction of training camp

The following is the seventh and final installment in a series of stories that has examined the Packers’ roster position by position. The series concludes with the defensive backs.

GREEN BAY—For all the discussion of the Packers’ depth at wide receiver, it’s the cornerbacks soon to be covering those receivers in training camp who compose what might be the roster’s deepest position.

Any of five experienced corners could be on the field at any time for the Packers defense in 2014, and that doesn’t even count the most veteran player in the group, a draft pick, and two practice-squad holdovers.

The Packers will want to see their top three of Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward on the field as much as possible, which didn’t happen often enough last season. Hayward was nagged by a recurring hamstring injury and eventually landed on injured reserve, while Shields missed two midseason games with his own hamstring problem and then left the playoff game with a knee/ankle injury.

In the meantime, Williams returned to his peak form in the second half of last season, reminding observers of his play in the 2010 playoffs, when he was one of the team’s defensive heroes. With Shields re-signed to a big contact just before the start of free agency and Hayward healthy again, the Packers could have as strong a lead trio as they had back in 2008-09, when Williams was the nickel alongside starters Charles Woodson and Al Harris.

Right behind the big three are Micah Hyde and Davon House, who are young and developing but with plenty of experience to draw upon. Hyde manned the slot in the nickel and dime as a rookie fifth-round pick but worked at safety during the offseason, so his exact role for this season hasn’t been revealed. House, a fourth-round pick in 2011, is strictly an outside corner and hopes to have shaken the injury bug that slowed him down his first two seasons. He stepped in for Shields in the playoffs last January and might have played his best game as a pro.

The elder statesman of the bunch is Jarrett Bush, who has made a career of being ready to fill in on defense while remaining a special-teams leader. He made two game-saving plays, one a pass break-up against future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez and the other an interception, down the stretch in the one-point victory over Atlanta last December.

Added to the mix this season is sixth-round draft pick Demetri Goodson from Baylor, a converted Gonzaga basketball point guard loaded with raw athletic ability, while Jumal Rolle and Antonio Dennard return after spending portions of last season on the practice squad. As undrafted players, Rolle, Dennard and rookie Ryan White (Auburn) will look to follow the same under-the-radar path that began the productive careers of Williams, Shields and Bush.

Safety was the position that garnered the most attention from fans and analysts in the offseason, as the Packers struggled to find an adequate partner for starter Morgan Burnett in 2013. The entire position group failed to record a single interception last season, so all the blame can’t fall on the departed M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian, but more consistent, reliable play alongside Burnett should help him live up to the multi-year extension he signed before last season.

Hyde took the snaps with the No. 1 defense in offseason workouts, while first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, drafted 21st overall in May, is sure to push for the starting job in camp. Clinton-Dix played both deep centerfield and in the box during his college career for Nick Saban’s Alabama defense, while the Packers coaching staff has publicly discussed making Hyde an every-down player. Stay tuned there.

Also at safety, third-year pro Sean Richardson is another year removed from neck fusion surgery, which kept him sidelined until Week 12 last season. Known for his strong run support, Richardson can make a bid for more playing time with improved coverage skills.

The undersized Chris Banjo (5-10) returns as well after making the team as a surprise undrafted rookie a year ago, when he became a regular on special teams. Aside from Clinton-Dix, the other newcomers to the group are undrafted rookies Charles Clay (Hawaii) and Tanner Miller, a former teammate of Hyde’s at Iowa.

Previously in Countdown to Camp:
 
blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Packers Wrap Up First Week of OTAs

    (2:49) Posted May 29, 2015

    Packers Analyst Larry McCarren breaks down more key storylines from the Packers offseason. McCarren looks at the return of both B.J. Raji and Jared Abbrederis from injury, the work ethic of backup QB Scott Tolzien, and how cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. is handling the new faces in the secondary.

  • On the Clock: Packers select UCLA QB Brett Hundley

    (8:23) Posted May 29, 2015

    Check out QB Brett Hundley's NFL Draft journey (appears at 1:08 and 6:36).

  • Top 10 Green Bay Packers of all time

    (7:38) Posted May 29, 2015

    NFL Media's Elliot Harrison gives you his top 10 list of the greatest Green Bay Packers players in NFL history.