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Green Bay's Secondary Well Represented In Pro Bowl

For the second straight season, safety Nick Collins and cornerback Charles Woodson were selected to the Pro Bowl, but both players admitted that receiving the honor this time around as a member of one of the league’s top defenses and a playoff team made the recognition that much sweeter. - More Press Release: Three Packers Earn Pro Bowl Selections


For the second straight season, safety Nick Collins and cornerback Charles Woodson were selected to the Pro Bowl, but both players admitted that receiving the honor this time around as a member of one of the league's top defenses and a playoff team made the recognition that much sweeter.

Collins and Woodson are the first Packers defensive-back duo to be named to the Pro Bowl in consecutive seasons since cornerbacks Willie Buchanon and Ken Ellis earned the honor in 1973-74. They are one of only two teammate tandems in the NFL to have at least six interceptions each (Cincinnati's Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph each have six), and are part of a secondary that has accounted for 23 of the Packers' league-high 27 interceptions on the team's No. 2-ranked defense.

"They're each special," Woodson said of this year's recognition. "I think what makes this one special of course is that we're heading into the postseason, so it means that what you've done on the field has contributed to something that could turn into something great."

Coming off the first Pro Bowl appearance of his career last season, Collins had to make the adjustment to new defensive coordinator Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme, which calls for the safeties to be the primary communicators on the field.

After tying for second in the NFL last season with a career-high seven interceptions, Collins started off slowly in that category this season by picking off just one pass in the first seven games of the season before posting five interceptions in the next six contests. That included a streak of four straight games (Weeks 11-14) with an interception as he became the first Green Bay player since defensive back John Symank in 1961 to accomplish the feat.

Collins ranks second among NFC safeties with his six interceptions on the season, and has added 51 tackles, his first career sack, and a fumble recovery in his 15 starts at free safety. He is the first Packers safety since LeRoy Butler (1996-98) to earn Pro Bowl recognition in back-to-back seasons.

"It means a lot, to show everybody that I'm consistent and I care about my job and I put all my effort into everything I do," Collins said. "I involved myself in everything. I was around the ball more, lining everybody up, being more of a leader, and just being very consistent when I'm out there on the field. Every week I go out there and leave everything on the line."

For Woodson, the sixth Pro Bowl selection of his career comes for his finest all-around season in his 12 years in the league. Capers has lined the veteran cornerback up all over the field, and his play-making abilities have come out wherever he has been.

"It's got to be the best so far in my career," said Woodson, who was selected as a starter for the NFC squad. "First and foremost, it's been a lot of fun. Playing this year, there's been a lot of ups and downs, but everybody has stuck together through it all and that's where we are now. As far as my play, it's definitely the best season I would say so far."

Woodson's eight interceptions match a career high and rank fourth in the league, and he also leads the team with four forced fumbles, which also matches his career best. He has also posted two sacks, which is tied for the league lead among defensive backs, and is just the eighth player in league history since sacks became an official statistic to post eight interceptions and two sacks in the same season. Woodson also leads the Packers secondary with a career-high 81 tackles and ranks second on the team with 18 passes defensed.

Two of Woodson's most memorable performances came in nationally televised games during the Packers' five-game winning streak. The first was against Dallas in Week 10 with the Packers standing at 4-4 after a disappointing loss at Tampa Bay the week before. Woodson had a hand in each of the Packers' three takeaways in the 17-7 win over the Cowboys, becoming the first NFL player in two years (Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison) to register two forced fumbles, an interception and a sack in a game that he called his finest of the season.

{sportsad300}"I think not only for myself but team-wise, coming off of the previous game before that and getting back on the right track and the way we played and the energy we played with as a team, was what we needed to turn the season around," Woodson said. "That particular game I was used in a number of different ways on the field - corner, safety, nickel, dime - the whole nine. I thought it was just a complete performance."

Woodson followed that up less than two weeks later with an even rarer feat at Detroit on Thanksgiving as he became the first NFL player to record a sack, two interceptions, an interception return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery in the same game.

"I think he showed his all-around abilities in those games," Capers said. "He's a very solid tackler, and I think that gets overlooked nowadays. It's hard to find corners that can tackle the way he does. He's always going for the football and that's why he causes so many fumbles.

"In both of those games, he sacked the quarterback, he caused fumbles, he got interceptions, he scored touchdowns and he set up our offense to score touchdowns. He kind of did it all in those games."

Woodson's play throughout this season has thrust him into the discussion for the league's Defensive Player of the Year Award, but for someone who has played on the NFL's biggest stage once in his career with the Raiders, that individual honor is not his focus.

"I feel like when I go out there on the field, I leave it all out on the field," Woodson said. "If that means Defensive Player of the Year, so be it. But I'll keep saying this over and over. For me, it's about a Super Bowl championship, and that's what I look forward to accomplishing."

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