Woodson Rests His Case

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Charles Woodson may have closed his case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Sunday. The dynamic Packers cornerback returned yet another interception for a touchdown during the Packers’ 33-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, his third this season and seventh of his Green Bay career to find a couple of more places for his name in the franchise record books. - More Packers-Cardinals Game Center

100103woodson215.jpg

CB Charles Woodson races down the sideline for a touchdown on a 45-yard interception return Sunday in Arizona.

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Charles Woodson may have closed the case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Sunday.

The dynamic Packers cornerback returned yet another interception for a touchdown during the Packers' 33-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, his third this season and seventh of his Green Bay career to find a couple of more places for his name in the franchise record books.

"Charles has had an incredible season," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "I'm sure there's a lot of excellent candidates out there for defensive MVP, but I don't know how he does not win the award.

"His teammates are chanting 'MVP' every day at practice and he goes out and does it every Sunday. He goes out and played at a high level again today."

The big play came in the second quarter. Arizona already had turned its offense over to backup quarterback Matt Leinart, but top wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin were still in the game.

On second-and-11 from the Arizona 32, Woodson jumped a slant pass intended for Fitzgerald, snagged it and pirouetted back toward the far sideline.

He had a nice convoy of blockers in front of him as he sprinted for the goal line, outrunning Fitzgerald and diving in for the score.

Moments after scoring the touchdown, Woodson's day was done. On Arizona's next possession, while trying to reverse his field to make a tackle on Boldin, Woodson went down and jammed his shoulder, according to McCarthy. He has played with some shoulder problems throughout the year.

He went to the sidelines to be examined by the medical staff, did not return to the game and he did not speak with reporters afterwards. But McCarthy got a quick thumbs up from his defensive stalwart right away, alleviating any worries about next week's playoff game.

"Just when he was walking off he told me right then he said, 'I'll be fine,' so I wasn't concerned after that," McCarthy said. "As we know, Charles has always fought through injuries. If the situation was different, he would have returned in the game."

For his Packers career, Woodson now has eight defensive touchdowns (seven interception returns, one fumble return), a new franchise record. Herb Adderley (7 INT) and Darren Sharper (5 INT, 2 FR) held the previous mark. Woodson also tied Adderley in franchise annals for interception returns for scores.

Woodson's third interception for a TD this season tied the single-season team record held by Adderley (1965) and teammate Nick Collins (2008). Only one other player had ever scored three times on defense in one season, and that was Sharper, who did it twice (1997, 2004) with two interception returns and a fumble return each time.

Sunday's big play put an exclamation point on a spectacular regular season for Woodson, considered one of the leading contenders for the league's defensive player of the year honor.

Used in multiple positions in new defensive coordinator Dom Capers' scheme, Woodson finished the 16-game slate with a career-high nine interceptions, one better than in 2006, his first season in Green Bay. He also recorded four forced fumbles, tying his career high (Oakland, 2002), two sacks and a career-best 81 tackles.

Woodson's other interception returns for scores this season came in Week 2 vs. Cincinnati and in Week 12 at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.

{sportsad300}"He's had a tremendous year," McCarthy said. "He's a complete football player. He's played four positions for us on defense. He's gone against their no. 1 receiver, he's gone against their top tight end.

"He's really been an outstanding, outstanding football player for us this year and has given Dom Capers a lot of flexibility, and we've been able to maximize our creativity on defense with him."

Capers has said multiple times this season that the two defensive players of the year he has coached (Pittsburgh's Rod Woodson and Miami's Jason Taylor) had years similar to Woodson's in terms of impact.

"I think the more you're with Charles and the better you get to know him, you develop an appreciation for his football intellect," Capers said earlier in the week. "I think that he can see the big picture. He knows where he fits into that picture. I think he sees the big picture in terms of how offenses are trying to attack people. Those are qualities that enable a guy to make the plays that most people aren't going to make."

Woodson's primary competition for the league-wide award could be New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who finished his regular season Sunday night against Cincinnati. Revis, a pure lockdown corner, didn't do anything of note in the nationally televised finale, and he ended the regular season with six interceptions, one returned for a score.

As for who should win, the vote in the Green Bay locker room would be unanimous.

"Of course, in my mind," fellow cornerback Tramon Williams said. "I play with the guy every day, and it's just great hanging out with him and learning from him. In my eyes, he's the best player. Hopefully he gets it."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising