4

April

Packers Cannot Gamble At Safety

Micah Hyde

The Packers need to finally find a solution at the safety position.  Micah Hyde is one of a few options

The Green Bay Packers have already made some moves in free agency to help bolster their roster and chances in 2014.  The addition of defensive lineman Julius Peppers made big headlines a few weeks back and indicated a shift in the team’s approach to improving on the past few seasons.

With the  addition of Peppers, the Packers Super Bowl odds dropped from 16-1 to 10-1, according to sites like FootballBettingCenter.com.

But will the addition of Peppers really have that much of an impact on this Packers team? With just one playoff victory since winning Super Bowl XLV in 2011, the Packers have lacked that spark and edge that got them over the hump during that incredible run over three years ago.

With Aaron Rodgers and quarterback and a solid stable of receivers, Green Bay has been able to maintain its production on the offensive side of the ball.  The addition of Eddie Lacy last season (NFL Rookie of the year) rounded off the offense and took it a step closer to being more complete.

The defense has been the point of emphasis in looking at the most glaring needs that the Packers have had and continue to have.  In 2011, defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins departed in free agency and the Packers struggled to get consistent production from the defensive line.  Jenkins was replaced by Jarius Wynn, and I use the term “replaced” very loosely there.

The Packers D-line has seen flashes of production since, but not consistently.  The addition of Peppers will hopefully help that unit make more of an impact on Sundays.

Prior to the start of the 2012 season, the Packers lost inside linebacker Desmond Bishop to a season-ending injury and the team released him prior to the start of the 2013 season.  Bishop’s spot has since been replaced by a combination of DJ Smith, who is no longer with the team and was released last offseason, and Brad Jones.

Jones has spurred debates about whether he is the future at inside linebacker, was worth the contract that he received last offseason (three years, $11.75 million), and most importantly,  whether he still has room to turn into the player the Packers need him to be.  That remains to be seen but there have been many rumblings that inside linebacker should be addressed relatively early in this upcoming draft by Green Bay.

But the one position that the Packers have virtually put a band aid on over the past three seasons is safety.  Since losing Nick Collins early in 2011 and along side Morgan Burnett, the Packers have run with Charlie Peprah, Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings as starters.  None of those three are on the team any longer and McMillian was released mid-season this past year after being drafted in the fourth round in 2012.

Still, over that three-year span, the Packers have managed to win 32 games and three straight division titles.  That goes to show what having an elite quarterback and a good offense can do for a team with a deficiency elsewhere.  But imagine what could have been if the Packers had done more to address that need at safety.  Perhaps a few more wins, better seeding, playoff wins or if you want to dream big, another chance at a Super Bowl.  I’m not saying that one position was the missing link, but it is arguably the team’s biggest need.

Peprah filled in nicely for Atari Bigby in 2010 and helped the Packers to a championship but was nothing special in 2011.  The Packers learned the hard way that neither Jennings nor McMillian were their guy either and many had their doubts about both going into last season.  Heading into this season and with Jennings off to Chicago, the Packers need a new starting safety.

In the pure sense of the word, you envision a running mate with Burnett.  But with as many defensive looks as the Packers use and as many times that they run their nickel package, it’s not always a traditional free safety that they need.

At last week’s NFL owner’s meetings, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that he wants to see  Micah Hyde become an every-down player this season.  Hyde is listed as a cornerback and so for that to happen at that position, he would have to supplant either Sam Shields or Tramon Williams at outside cornerback.  Shields is a planted at his spot after receiving a new and lucrative contract.  Williams may end up moving inside or down the depth chart if age starts to catch up to him and he regresses this season, but heading into this year, Green Bay likely has him penciled in to start on the outside.

The Packers play a lot of nickel and run a third cornerback in the slot, which was Hyde’s primary role last season.  It would seem that he is already an every-down player in that sense, but Hyde played just half of the defensive snaps in 2013.  If McCarthy’s thought rings true, the Packers need to find a way to get Hyde on the field for the other half of each game.

Moving Hyde to safety is one way to accomplish that and is one option to address the safety spot.  It’s an unknown, as it would be a position change.  Hyde is a good athlete and showed that he belongs on the field last season.  He’s smart and seemed to pick up the defensive scheme well for a young player.  Still, there is always risk when moving a guy from one position to the next.

Playing some safety in college is not playing safety in Green Bay’s defense.  Playing slot cornerback in Green Bay’s defense is not playing safety either.  I have my reservations about the Packers brashly assuming that they can put Hyde out there and see the improvement that they need at safety.  He may turn into a good safety, if moved, but it’s far from a slam dunk.

Another option that Green Bay has is to address the safety position in next month’s draft.  This year’s class is said to be deep at the safety position so the Packers would seemingly have options to address it early on, even when 20 other teams are picking ahead of them.  The popular names like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor may not be on the board when the Packers pick first and the Packers may not be looking to take a safety in round one either.

Other guys such as Jimmie Ward, Deone Buccanon, Craig Loston and Terrence Brooks could become options in some of the early rounds as well.  We have also seen enough of Packers general manager Ted Thompson to know that he may also have his eye on the next kid out of the University of Eastern Vermont to be the team’s answer at safety.

If the Packers are going to use the draft to fill this need, they need to hit on the pick.  Green Bay may take multiple defensive backs in this draft, but to swing and miss on another safety would be a huge detriment to the rest of the defense.  It won’t be excused and Thompson will face heavy criticism from media and fans alike.  The draft is always a gamble, but it’s Thompson’s job to reduce the risk.

The last avenue that is still available to the Packers is free agency.  Many Packers fans hoped that the team was going to address the need at safety early in free agency.  As in on day one.  It was “Jairus Byrd or bust!”.  Day one of free agency came and went and gone were Donte Whitner, Byrd, Malcolm Jenkins, T.J. Ward and Antoine Bethea.

At this point, even Chris Clemons has found a team after sitting out there for multiple weeks.  Unless a team is going to part with a safety during training camp, the pickings are slim on the open market.  We’re talking about guys like Ryan Clark, Thomas DeCoud, Patrick Chung and Michael Huff, to name a few.

For the Packers to go the route of one of those names, or worse, would be a surprise.  Anything is possible after what we saw them do with the backup quarterback position last year, but even Thompson admitted he probably could have done more to solidify that need.  If one of those guys are coming to Green Bay, it likely means an injury has occurred and bigger issues loom.

However the Packers plan to fill the need at safety, they need to see marked improvement.  Technically, improving is as easy as can be when there were no interceptions by a safety last season and passes defended can be counted on one hand.  But the 2014 Green Bay defensive backfield needs to look more like the 2009 and 2010 unit than any of the past three years.  Otherwise, the Packers will, once again, struggle to compete with top-tier teams this season.

 

 

 

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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55 Responses to “Packers Cannot Gamble At Safety”

  1. SchenySchen says:

    Acme packing company (see link on right) did a piece on Kyle Fuller from VT. I didn’t know much about him but the video shows a bunch of great plays and against high end competition. If the coaches think they can draft him and convert him to S, I am all for it. He is a hitter, has decent size and is fast. GREAT ball skills, better than any of our current DB’s, including Shields. The case was made in that article on why it would work. Give it a read. I like that idea, getting a more talented player and coaching him, more than settling or reaching for a S that is less talented. GoPack!

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    • Archie says:

      I think this is a real possibility. TT likes OTs to play G, why not a hard hitting CB to play S in this day of pass, pass and pass some more.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. Nick Perry says:

    One player I didn’t see mentioned was Hayward. I’d think Hayward would cover the slot, not Hyde. Clark might have been interesting considering he knows the defense, but he signed with the Redskins and is on the wrong side of 30 at 34. McCarthy has mentioned the Packers want to start playing fewer packages really well, opposed to a bunch of packages so-so. Getting Hayward and Hyde on the field would be part of that I’d imagine. I like Hyde, he’s a good tackler in a secondary that needs good tacklers and seemed to pick up the defense pretty quick. I think this year he’ll be that much better, more reacting less thinking. I think he can make the switch to Safety and play well there. I’m still trying to figure out what Burnett has done to deserve that contract in the first place. If the Packers do draft a Safety early, maybe Burnett should start to worry.

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    • marpag says:

      In fact, it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me if Hayward started on the outside.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

        I didn’t want to derail the piece and go in a different direction, but I think Hayward is starting outside before season’s end. Either because of injury or because it’s just time.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • Sven says:

          Williams was playing well to finish last season, and should hold his spot through camp and into the season. Also, I am not sold on heyward being better than House on the outside. House gets physical with recievers, and disrupts routes. Heyward seems to use agility and intelligence rather than pure speed and contact, he is great in the slot, but that may not mean he could handle the outside as well.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

          • Stroh says:

            Couldn’t agree more. Perfect illustration of the players strengths and roles. I’m expecting Hyde to be the safety/dime CB. Tramon and Shields will start outside and Hayward is just a perfect nickel/slot CB. House has the ability to be an excellent outside CB if he puts everything together. Right now he’s inconsistent, we’ll see how he progresses this year.

            If Tramon isn’t extended this year, House and Hayward would likely compete for the starting job, but Hayward would still see a lot of time in the slot, whenever the Packers go nickel, which is very often.

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  3. Razer says:

    The picture that you paint at safety over the last 3-4 years is dismal and it is directly attributed to a lack of talent. I think that moving Hyde to safety is a great move. His is athletic, smart and will flourish as a full-time part of this defense.

    The other part of this under performance came from our front seven. Our inability to get pressure on the opposing QB has put constant pressure on the secondary. Personally, I think we have a very good secondary, better than the rest of our division. Other than one guy we have strong corners and Burnett is not bad, if he isn’t playing for two. More pass rush will improve our safety almost as much as a new body.

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    • Nick Perry says:

      You’re absolutely right on about getting more pressure from the front 7. Peppers will help, but the Packers just need Matthews and Perry and everyone else to just stay healthy. If Neal, Matthews, Peppers, Perry, Daniels, Raji, (At NT) and Jones all stay healthy, the front will be getting TONS of pressure. More pressure means more ducks thrown by Cutler, I love it!

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      • BubbaOne says:

        Cutler may throw a lot less ducks moving forward. Bears coach Trestman said at the start of last year the way to improve their O was to get the ball out of Cutler’s hand faster. They succeeded, Cutler’s time holding the ball in the pocket went down IIRC from 4.2 to 3.4. That’s how they could get away w/ two rookies on the OL and have all the linemen’s stats look better.
        Their QB coach, Matt Cavanaugh is one of the best in the business and Cutler will have another year in the system so be careful what you wish for, he just may have turned the corner.

        From your post above”…I’m still trying to figure out what Burnett has done to deserve that contract in the first place.” At the time TT resigned him I don’t remember anyone complaining. It seemed everyone felt Burnett was ready to make the jump in his fourth year ala Collins.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

        • Archie says:

          Burnett got the big payday and regressed a la Antonio Freeman in days of yore. Prior to that he was so-so but you’re right, most made him out to be more than that, including TT. Outside of Nick Collins, and he took a long time to develop, TT has been swinging annd missing at S for a full decade now. I agree with the premise of the story, he can’t afford another miss at S unless you think Burnett/Hyde is going to become Woodson/Collins. Odds on latter are at least 200-1.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

        • Bedrock says:

          Perhaps Burnett will need 5 years to do what GB’s previous safeties showed in 4. Slower learner, perhaps, but I’ll take it if he becomes even 75% of Nick Collins.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • Nick Perry says:

          Interesting, I’ve never confused Burnett with Collins. Two totally different class of players.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  4. GBPDAN says:

    I agree, the safety position is troubling and Nix and Pryor will be gone when we pick at 21. I hope safety isn’t huge weak link in 2014 like it has been for several years now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Sven says:

      I like the idea of Hyde at safety. I agree that he warrents more time on the field. I also think that Burnett is starting to be undervalued based on last years Ints, I expect he will be much improved this year. He had alot of good play last year.

      I also expect Richardson to show up in 2014. He has the measurables, and they have stuck with him. Hevwas a UDFA, but so were Williams and Shields.

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  5. SchenySchen says:

    Great points by all about both “pressure” and “health”. Cycling through defensive players throughout the season has been a killer. Continuity is built if they stay mostly healthy. The back-end will look much better if the front 7 stay healthy and active. GoPack!

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  6. JH9 says:

    As any half-conscious Packers fan knows, we need a safety. Although I read reports that the Packers met with Pryor at the combine, I don’t think we will nor do I think we should take a safety in the 1st round. I think we can get a terrific safety like Deone Bucannon in the 2nd round.

    Personally, I think our greatest need is at ILB and that need should be addressed in the 1st round. How long has it been since the Packers have had a real intimidating ILB? ILB is the center of a defense and any great defense has a great ILB. We need a terrific safety, but I believe we need an even better ILB.

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    • Archie says:

      The draft isn’t loaded with R1 ILBs. Some like Mosley but many don’t. Add me to the crowd that doesn’t like his film. The other guy is Shazier. Pack could trade down 5 or 10 spots and still possibly get him. So ILB is a tough R1 projection for GB. The kid from Iowa could be a nice ILB and he could last till R4.

      I think Dix/Pryor are gone before 21.

      Drafting Fuller (CB) and converting him to S is a possibility. But more and more, Kony Ealy (OLB) looks like the fit for GB in this draft in R1. He is about 50-50 to be there at 21. He is a real OLB type as opposed to a tweener or a DE trying to play in reverse.

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      • Ed Schoenfeld says:

        Interesting point about an OLB in the first. I think the bigger take-away is to not worry that much about the position of the player we get in the 1st round, just make sure the talent fits the 21st pick. There will be more choices at more positions in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. We can fill positional needs with at least 4 picks in the first 100.

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  7. Archie says:

    Since Desmond Bishop?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • JH9 says:

      With Brad Jones and AJ Hawk, we have “serviceable” ILBs. Desmond Bishop was a little better, but he was no Ray Lewis or NaVarro Bowman.

      I think an argument could be made that the Packers have not had a real intimidating presence at ILB since Ray Nitschke. I don’t think it’s any coincidence either that is when we last won back-to-back Superbowls.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. NYPACKER says:

    I like Ward or Bucannon in the second round. If they don’t like Mosley, Ebron the TE or the best Dtackle could be options.

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  9. grizzlymitch says:

    We keep hearing Nix and Pryor will be off the board. Remember that Burnett was a third rounder. We’ll find a good safety in the draft. My apprehension is that he better be ready to play because at this point, there is no one else if that is our direction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. Since '61 says:

    I am not at all confident or comfortable with the current situation at Safety. First, why do we think that Burnett is going to make substantial improvement? He doesn’t need to improve a little, he needs to improve drastically over his 2013 performance. I realize that the team has invested a hefty salary in him but after last seasons performance he should have been cut. Now, since we have no other options we need to play him as a starter again, Yikes!!! Then, why do we expect Hyde to be there answer? He is a good player, but a starting safety, another big question mark. Now add a rookie into the mix. What we will have is the incompetent (Burnett) leading the inexperienced (Hyde, Banjo, Richardson, and a rookie or two). Without a veteran FA signing (they are gone) I don’t see a much better situation than what we had last year at safety. We may get more pressure from the DL but it only takes one blown coverage to flush that hard work down the drain. And it only takes one or two such plays to blow the game. I am not being pessimistic, but realistic about this. I don’t see a reason to be confident about the safety position in 2014 at this point or with this approach that the Packers are taking. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • Ed Schoenfeld says:

      We think Burnett will improve over 2013 because he played better in the past and the main reason for his underperformance in 2013 was trying to play 2 positions because MacMillian and MD Jennings were negative contributors — Burnett is better just because he doesn’t have to make up for those two any more.

      Hyde is less of a question mark at safety than any FA who was good in a different system (Byrd) or in a completely different role (Clemons).

      If we really need to sign a veteran back-up, such players are still available.

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      • JimR_in_DC says:

        I hope you’re right Ed, but I share Since ’61′s worries.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • Elle says:

          Ed is correct. Morgan Burnett has game, which is why he’s getting paid.

          If you watch game film, you’ll see him cheating towards the other safety all the time. He’s had to keep one eye on the other half of the field all season, especially in the deep game.

          Burnett did take a step back in tackling last year, though, he’s still doing too much thinking. With even a slightly above average safety across from him, we should be fine.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

          • Since '61 says:

            Yes, he has game. Really Bad game.
            I have the tapes from every game, from the league, not my own and I don’t see Burnett cheating very often. His problem is he either misreads the formation, or the play and therefore take himself out of the play. Other times it looks like he doesn’t know his assignment. Sometimes he is just lost out there. As does Jennings and MacMillan. It’s sad and disappointing. Thanks, Since ’61

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        • Since '61 says:

          Jim – as usual we’re thinking alike. The basic problem is that he has his ring and his payday. The next question is, is he good enough to be a starting safety in the NFL? If yes, to that question (which I am not sure of) is he willing to do what it takes to help the team win another SB? Hope so. But hope is not a plan. We’ll see. Thanks, Since ’61

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    • I usually agree with Since 61, but not on this. Packers have better internal options at Safety than they do at center, TE, or ILB. Yes, I mean Hyde, but also Richardson too. I think Burnett will go back to being average, maybe even above average if he doesn’t have to worry about McMillan or M.D. running the wrong way, and waiting for Hawk to get beat over the middle. I agree w ’61 that a Vet FA S would have been a good idea, but that ship has sailed due to TT’s inactivity. The most important thing is to draft a play maker, preferably one on Defense drops to #21, and it can be at ILB, S, and D-line. I’d love to see a center prospect, or a true center, drafted later.

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      • Elle says:

        A FA Safety is almost as big of an unknown as a safety coming out of college.

        How a safety will play in Capers’ scheme is so difficult to gauge, it’s tough to spend the money on a gamble like that. You use a good player the wrong way and they immediately become ineffective. Ask Darrelle Revis.

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      • Elle says:

        A FA Safety is almost as big of an unknown as a safety coming out of college.

        How a safety will play in Capers’ scheme is so difficult to gauge, it’s tough to spend the money on a gamble like that. You use a good player the wrong way and they immediately become ineffective. Ask Darrelle Revis.

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  11. PackerNation says:

    I would encourage you to grab a six pack of cold Pabst prior to draft day because there is a very real possibility that the Packers will not select a safety in this draft, just as they passed last year in a draft deep in safeties.

    The cold, hard, fact is that you can only afford to pay about 10 or 12 players and the rest have to be minimum wage guys or people on their rookie contract. So you make choices as to which positions get paid. Two highly paid CBs, a highly paid OLB, a highly paid DE, a highly paid QB, two offensive linemen getting paid,…..

    In Thompson’s plan, you go cheap at one of the safety spots. That’s why we see this endless procession of Atari Bigby, Nate McMillian, Charlie Peprah, MD Jennings, etc. It’s not a position that he’s willing to pay for and that’s why he can’t spend a high draft choice on it.

    He took Collins in the 2nd and at the time, most people thought he had reached. Rouse in the 3rd. Burnett in the 3rd. Blackmon in the 4th. McMillian in the 4th. And a host of UDFAs.

    And you hear the “Michael Hyde deserves to play” theme song coming out of McCarthy’s mouth. What do you think that means?

    Our starting safeties on opening day will be Burnett and Hyde, and they’ll be backed up by Banjo and Richardson. I’m not saying I like it, but I am saying that I think that’s the way it’s going to be.

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    • Scheny Schen says:

      You had me at “grab a cold six pack of PBR”…… That is truly a recipe for a great Packer game. — regarding S, I think Burnett will improve his level of play. As was mentioned, a secondaries best friend is QB pressure. If, and I know this is a big IF, we stay relatively healthy along the defensive front, I am confident we will get a much better level of pressure on the opposing QB’s than we did when we were cycling in rookies, ufa’s and only moderately healthy players. With a mixture of rushers between CMIII, peppers, Neal, perry and Daniels, we will get more pressure. — I personally think we’re Super Bowl bound, but that’s just me. GoPack!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Elle says:

      You make a really good point, about having blue chip anchors at different parts of the defense. Indeed, you can’t pay everyone.

      But if he drafts a safety in the first (or even second) round, he’s still paying a rookie “minimum wage” … if Dix falls to 21 somehow, I guarantee you Thompson drafts him.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Big T says:

    TT is talking with Terrell Buckley to see if he will come out of retirement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  13. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    I would have felt A LOT better going into the year with Hyde, a vet FA (like Clemons) AND a 1-4 round pick at FS.

    There is now NO wiggle room for the safety situation in GB. AGAIN. Ugh.

    1. Burnett has to become “the guy” that his contract states him to be.

    2. Hyde has to be an at least effective FS.

    3. The rookie they draft has to be effective by the end of year 1.

    4. No one can get hurt.

    Not where you want to be going into the season. Ugh.

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    • Since '61 says:

      Bearmeat – I agree with you. Given the approach that the Packers are taking they are leaving themselves no “wiggle” room if Burnett fails again, or if Hyde, or Richardson or a drafted rookie doesn’t work out or if one them gets hurt. Many who have posted on this article are assuming that Burnett will be better because he won’t have to worry about Jennings or about Mcmillan. So in other words he won’t need to be concerned about an inexperienced Hyde or a rookie? Doesn’t make sense. Also, he should be focused only on his own position. He is not good enough to worry about another position, when he has not even demonstrated that he can play his own position. When he starts making good football plays as a safety I’ll believe that he is improving. He ain’t no Willie Wood back there. That’s for sure. Thanks, Since ’61

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  14. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    It seems to me that an agreement has been reached between Thompson,McCarthy and Capers concerning the complexity and difficulty of learning and performing the schematics of the Capers’ 3-4 defense and the often very slow progress of McCarthy getting that ‘step up’ from players of high expectations.

    Who we draft when is not of the consequence that many would place upon it,since the three year rule is the get out of jail card for any who fail as a 1st rd-day one expectant.Since that is the rule,any draftee should be void as to the why’s of the seasons outcome.The answer lies this season via the ‘before your very eyes’ of which side is proven right….complexity or inability.

    Can Burnett show more with less worry?Can Hyde actual take those much demanded steps easier with the downsizing of the schemes on defense?Will Hayward return with the same approval that appeared to grow prior to his string of hammies?

    Will the front seven,names not be typed,finally be able to play the ‘out of position’ positions to a more advantageous result with scheme reduction and the application of some Peppers.

    I like the Peppers signing and I like the moving of Hyde to safety,but what I like more is that the answer to the most resounding question the last couple of years will be answered…”Is the Capers’ scheme too complex for anyone to learn or is it just the players capabilities on this team?”…names need not be typed as we know who they are and aren’t.

    The coaches have done their part by reducing the learning book,now we get to see if certain players can ‘pick it up’.

    IMO,either we get a really big boost on defense and a real chance at the Super Bowl(not just getting in the playoffs) or a complete overhaul of defensive scheme,DC and many a new player to start over and the lost of some very important seasons with Rodgers as a result.

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    • billabong says:

      good post….especially the “very slow progress” part…that just bugs me how year after year we are waiting for a few high draft picks on defense to “develop”…people are so satisfied with getting into the playoff and one and done…Rodgers clock is ticking lets get this all together and make a run…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Razer says:

      I too like the recognition that we are getting too mired in scheme and package complexity. Seattle showed that you can put a base of good athletes on the field and force teams to play outside their comfort and strength.

      I am curious what the discussion between Capers and McCarthy was like at the end of the season. “I’ll get you more talent but you need to clean this scheme thing up”. Either way, Capers has next year to get results or he will be moved on. Personally, I think that our defense will be very solid this season. Looking forward to what we add via the draft.

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  15. tim says:

    I gotta agree with taryn & reynaldo, our problem at ilb, olb & safety or the whole defense for that matter can’t be blamed on a particular player. A better ilb will make the safeties better, a better strong safety will make a better free safety. (And better ilb for that matter). Better players make everyone better. Better schemes make everyone better. I believe Hyde will be a huge upgrade over Jennings, and Peppers also a huge upgrade. The ilb is the heart of the d, and they looked bad last year, they haven’t done anything to get better there. No one is arriving off of IR or FA to save the day.  not that we don’t need to grab a te or safety early, but I think unless a real stud te or safety is there, looking to ilb in round one makes most sense, maybe even if we trade back a little.

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  16. LOL, Packer Nation! I always grab a 6-pack just before the draft, but only because I am pretty healthy and don’t have access to any sedatives!

    No safety drafted this year – Noooo! It would be just like last year. I moaned about TT passing on the all of the safeties (and for passing on WR Patton), but on the bright side, TT’s draft last year looks to have been a gem. I agree with everything Bearmeat wrote too.

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  17. Mike Sherman says:

    hyde may be young and making a change, but he plays like a vet. I doubt safety is addressed 1st round, probably TE or ILB. Hyde and Burnett at penciled to start, Richardson and 2 rookies battle for 2 spots. I also another corner being drafted high. House prob isn’t a starter and hayward stays in the slot…. someone will be drafted to take williams role on the outside after this season. ILB, TE and CB will all probably be picked before a Safety unless a safety falls do us. Don’t expect TT to move up either….. We need ILB, WR S CB TE and a back up center as well as a space eater to take picket/jolly’s spot, someone cheap behind Raji. To many needs to throw around draft picks to move up

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  18. Wagszilla says:

    Gamble? No, however a more competent D-Line and pass rush neutralizes a so-so safety corps.

    Burnett is a C-tier player playing the captain role and Jennings/McMillan were F-tier.

    Congrats, you have a D-tier safety unit.

    Find a smart guy who isn’t afraid to hit and stick him back there. It’s all I ask.

    I wouldn’t take a Safety until rounds 3 and up, personally.

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  19. Stroh says:

    The biggest risk would be to draft a Safety, even a 1 or 2, and start him at Safety in year 1. It also has the highest upside long term.

    The least risk would be to sign a Veteran and start him, while moving Hyde to back up safety. It also has the least upside long term.

    The best combination of risk moderation and upside is to move Hyde to safety and start him. He knows the Defense pretty well and will get better. He’s got physical tools as good as anyone after the 2nd round as a safety. Then you can draft a Safety, whether its high or mid round to learn behind him. It would also mean its not a must to get a safety early in the draft.

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    • Ed Schoenfeld says:

      Outstanding point on ‘minimize risk/maximize opportunity’ approach. They can still take a S in the 1st *if the appropriate player falls to them,’ but the point is that moving Hyde gives them enough talent at S that they don’t *have* to get a S in the 1st or 2nd.

      That lets them maximize the value of every draft pick, which is the core of TT philosophy in Draft and in FA.

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  20. jtmax says:

    Deone Buccanon would be my pick. He’s the most physically gifted one out of the bunch. Top combine numbers to show. 6’2″ 211 lbs with 4.49 speed and 37″ vertical. Shows great potential on film. He’s not flash in the draft but he’s the kind of guys MM is looking for – more size, power and speed. We’re getting smoked by all these 4.4 speed QB’s. They can pick up first down anytime they want on us. I believe TT will have to focus on speed and size in this draft on defense. Can’t teach either of those.

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    • stevesaari says:

      thats why you have to fill weak positions like safety inside linebacker center need another wide receiver backup guard you have to have some kind of experience instead of trying to fill positions with rookies. they exploit you in the nfl they will find your weakness and we have too many.inside linebacker is huge we are lacking there.

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    • stevesaari says:

      thats why you have to fill weak positions like safety inside linebacker center need another wide receiver backup guard you have to have some kind of experience instead of trying to fill positions with rookies. they exploit you in the nfl they will find your weakness and we have too many.inside linebacker is huge we are lacking there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • stevesaari says:

      thats why you have to fill weak positions like safety inside linebacker center need another wide receiver backup guard you have to have some kind of experience instead of trying to fill positions with rookies. they exploit you in the nfl they will find your weakness and we have too many.inside linebacker is huge we are lacking there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. stevesaari says:

    thats why you have to fill weak positions like safety inside linebacker center need another wide receiver backup guard you have to have some kind of experience instead of trying to fill positions with rookies. they exploit you in the nfl they will find your weakness and we have too many.inside linebacker is huge we are lacking there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  22. stevesaari says:

    thats why you have to fill weak positions like safety inside linebacker center need another wide receiver backup guard you have to have some kind of experience instead of trying to fill positions with rookies. they exploit you in the nfl they will find your weakness and we have too many.inside linebacker is huge we are lacking there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. stevesaari says:

    thats why you have to fill weak positions like safety inside linebacker center need another wide receiver backup guard you have to have some kind of experience instead of trying to fill positions with rookies. they exploit you in the nfl they will find your weakness and we have too many.inside linebacker is huge we are lacking there.

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  24. Dan says:

    Hate to rain on the Micah Hyde parade here, but I watched him play the position at Iowa for a few games his junior year. Iowa was absolutely desperate for safety help that year. The Micah Hyde experiment lasted for only a few games because he was terrible there. Now, this doesn’t mean that an entire offseason practicing there won’t help, but Ferentz did make the switch pretty early in the spring to give Hyde every change to get used to it. I would be very surprised to see it work. Hopefully TT can get one of those top safeties in rd 1 or 2 because Hyde is too big of a risk at this point.

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