1) Introduction: Packers S Morgan Burnett was the lone holdover from 2011 as a starter and pure safety. Charles Woodson was a starter on the 2011 team, but was listed as a cornerback in addition to playing a hybrid safety role. The Packers decided to release the other starting safety, Charlie Peprah, early in training camp. Remember, Burnett missed most of his rookie season in 2010 so this was essentially his second year as a regular player in the defense. This was the first season that Burnett did not miss a game due to injury.
Morgan Mark Burnett
- Age: 24
- Born: 1/13/1989 in College Park, GA
- Height: 6’01”
- Weight: 209
- College: Georgia Tech
- Rookie Year: 2010
- NFL Experience: 3 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: Burnett was the Packers’ “rock” at safety. He was on the field for more of the defensive sub packages than any other safety. He was largely responsible for making sure that youngsters M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian knew their responsibilities and, when Charles Woodson went down with a collarbone injury, he became the most experienced safety on the roster. Burnett showed flashes of being able to get after the football in 2011 and the team was hopeful that he could continue to grow in his coverage abilities and help force some turnovers in 2012.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Burnett’s best game came in week eight against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In that game and according to Pro Football Focus, Burnett posted a sack, a quarterback hurry and had seven tackles including six stops. Morgan also single-handedly helped win the week 13 game against the Minnesota Vikings with two key interceptions to thwart Vikings drives. Another noteworthy accomplishment was that Burnett was penalized just two times all sesaon. Burnett’s low points came at the book ends of the season. In week one against the San Francisco 49ers, Burnett will most be remembered for a very poor attempt at stopping 9ers running back Frank Gore as he romped into the end zone for the go-ahead score. In week 17, Burnett posted his worst game of the season as he struggled in run support against the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. Another moment that comes to mind was Burnett allowing a Matthew Stafford pass to go right through his hands and into the arms of Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson for a touchdown at Detroit. Green Bay was able to come away with a victory, but only after some late-game magic by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Randall Cobb.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Burnett’s 2012 season can best be described as “steady”. He was adequate in run support but struggled against superior running backs in that of Gore and Peterson. As mentioned, his biggest single contribution was in the win against the Vikings in week 13. Having not missed a game in 2012 and in a season where the Packers saw many go down to injury, Burnett was consistently available. I don’t think Burnett has reached his potential and will continue to grow both in his play on the field and in becoming a leader on the team.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Burnett had an up-and-down 2012 playoffs. He performed well in the wild card round against the Vikings, actually scorin positively in his run defense when he had struggled against that same attack just one week prior. Burnett then struggled again in the divisional playoffs against the 49ers. The entire team had a bad game defensively but as the last line of defense, Burnett was ineffective against the mobile Colin Keapernick and the pistol offense.
Season Report Card:
(C) Level of expectations met during the season
(B-) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: C——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: