Could the Packers go with Burnett and Banjo at safety? All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Chris Banjo's playing time is on the rise, while Jerron McMillian's is declining. Could the Packers pair Banjo with a healthy Morgan Burnett?
Chris Banjo’s playing time is on the rise, while Jerron McMillian’s is declining. Could the Packers pair Banjo with a healthy Morgan Burnett?

Following the Packers’ week two win over Washington, defensive coordinator Dom Capers hinted at a bigger role for undrafted rookie Chris Banjo.

“You could see more and more of Chris Banjo,” Capers said, per Ty Dunne. “I thought he did well. He had one missed tackle one of those long runs, but other than that, I thought he did a nice job. He’s been a physical guy for us there through the preseason.”

And see more and more of Banjo, we did. Banjo was on the field for 54 of 56 snaps last week against the Bengals–more than M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian, according to Pro Football Focus.

Banjo’s snap count could very well go down once starter Morgan Burnett returns to the lineup. But from a physical standpoint, pairing Banjo with Burnett may give the Packers their most talented duo on the back end.

If the Packers could pull the best attributes from Jennings and McMillian, they’d have a top-notch player alongside Burnett. But Jennings (6-0 187) is limited as a run defender, and McMillian struggles in coverage.

Banjo, despite only playing 87 snaps on the season, may be the most complete player of the trio.

Jennings is coming off one of his best games as a professional at Cincinnati. He ranks 25th among 8o safeties who have played at least 25 percent of their team’s defensive snaps, per PFF. McMillian had an impressive pass deflection against the Bengals, but his playing time has decreased dramatically since week one.

McMillian played all 81 snaps in the season opener at San Francisco but was on the field for just 14 plays two weeks later at Cincinnati.

After quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews, Burnett may be the Packers’ toughest player to replace. Burnett isn’t Nick Collins at this point of his career, but there’s a sizable talent gap at safety behind Burnett.

If the trend continues, McMillian could be demoted to Banjo’s role to start the season, which was primarily on special teams. Jennings, barring injury, will continue to see the field in some capacity, while Banjo’s role when Burnett returns remains up in the air.

In different defensive packages, the Packers utilize three safeties on the field at once. A healthy Burnett doesn’t come off the field, and Jennings has rebounded nicely since his shaky season debut against the 49ers. If it comes down to McMillian or Banjo for playing time, right now the undrafted rookie has the edge on last year’s fourth-round pick.

Banjo started last week’s game in Cincinnati, and he could be in line for a few more starts in the near future. Which means, in the words of Capers, we could be seeing even “more and more” of Banjo.

Just something to chew on while watching the Lions hand the Bears their first loss of the season. Yes, that’s a prediction.


Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


27 thoughts on “Could the Packers go with Burnett and Banjo at safety?

  1. It looks like Banjo is the least crappy of all the options. Even if the D gets fully healthy, IMO SS will be the undoing of the entire unit. TE’s and slot WR’s not covered by Hayward are going to kill us all year.

    I wish TT would ship a 2nd rounder to Buffalo for Jarius Byrd. They hate him there. He’s franchised and about to walk for no higher than a 3rd rounder. We’ve got the salary cap room. Let him audition for a permanent spot and a new deal while we’re on a superbowl run.

    Alas. TT would never do this. Wolf would have. Not TT. Sigh.

    1. Jarius Byrd is a FS not a SS, just a little FYI. Not that it matters in GB he and Burnett would be interchangeable, which is what Capers wants from his Safeties.

      Also why on earth would Buff let Byrd go for what would be a late 2nd? It would take a 1st to get him and we all know Thompson won’t trade a 1st rd pick.

      Give it up.

    2. Trading is always easy in theory… that is, when you don’t actually have to do it. People throw around numbers as if a GM could do whatever he wanted. “Yeah, give so-and-so a third, and get that guy” or “just trade CJ Wilson for seven first rounders.” Right. Why didn’t I think of that?

      I have serious doubts if Bird could be had for a late second rounder. I also have doubts if he’s worth as much as people think he is.

      In addition, TT gets a bad rap for not trading more. Some people seem oblivious to the reality that virtually NO ONE is trading players anymore, but that doesn’t stop them from bashing TT.

  2. With the rules as they are in the NFL a “Good” pass defender would seem to need these attributes. 1. Anticipation (the ability to know where the ball is going). Height (tall enough to reach above the receiver). Speed, be fast enough to keep up with the receivers. These thing are not easy to find…So..the next best thing is a pass rush or hurry’s. Yikes. the packers don’t have that either.

  3. The title can’t come to be until Burnett finds his way back on the field. On behalf of Packers fans everywhere I say: please do very soon!

  4. “If the Packers could pull the best attributes from Jennings and McMillian, they’d have a top-notch player alongside Burnett. But Jennings (6-0 187) is limited as a run defender, and McMillian struggles in coverage.”

    Thanks for repeating what I’ve been saying for over a year. Burnett is good in coverage but shouldn’t be a starter just a reliable backup who won’t make mistakes to cost you the game. McMillan while talented athletically hasn’t figure out the NFL game yet and he seems to lack the instincts needed at Safety. McMillan could still become a good player but he isn’t nearly there yet.

    Banjo has looked the best of the 3 so far and IMO should absolutely start ahead of Jennings and McMillan at this point. To some degree he is a combination of them and should get better as the year progresses. Jennings is what he is at this point and McMillan has to figure things out to let his athletic talent come out.

  5. I’d like to see Banjo but my major gripe with the defense is playing the safeties too deep. They’re never around when you need them to be.

    It’s pussyball.

  6. What I would like to know is why hasn’t Micah Hyde gotten very many snaps at safety yet? I thought the only thing he lacked in at this point was speed?

    1. He played Safety at Iowa in one game and was terrible. Woodson made the transition to safety and it isn’t as easy as you might think, even tho there have been a lot of CB’s turned Safety in the past. Hyde is young and inexperienced in the NFL. Once he’s gotten some experience he might be able to transition to safety, but right now it would take him probably 2 yrs to make the transition.

  7. Bearmeat may have ssid it best..’Banjo maybe the least crappy’ of the 3.

    By the way, the Browns (and Bears) can beat the Bengals, but not the Pack….last weeks game still stings

    1. The Bengals have won at home but lost to CHI and CLE on the road. Yes, the game still stings, but we played CIN better in their house than they’ve played away from it. The Pack beat themselves in that game as much as the Bengals beat them. Have hope, the sky isn’t falling just yet.

      1. Let’s face it, the Bengals are better than or at least hotter than the Packers. They are a more complete team that can rip apart the Packers o-lines and d-lines. If the Packers don’t beat the Lions this weekend at Lambeau, I believe they are done for this year. Too many mistakes before the season started selecting a backup QB, selecting a field goal kicker, swapping players on the O-line. Embarrassing to the Packers starting the season with so many question marks. Shame on MM and TT.

  8. I like the thought of moving Hyde to safety as well, his physical abilities might be a better match there. I also heard that he didn’t do well at safety in Iowa, but can’t help but think he can transition there. It took Burnett, Collins or even Sharper a couple of years to be good at it. Assuming they re-sign Shields, between him, Williams, House, Hayward and any other newbie that they can start grooming, they’re in pretty good hands.

  9. Bottom line is TT left this team short at safety. Before the season started we all knew that if we lost Burnett we would be screwed, and we are. Even with Burnett, the D backfield has a big hole in it…thanks ted

    1. You’re right, TT should have busted the bank in free agency for Ed Reed, or just made a magical trade for Byrd. Or maybe draft one in the 4th round instead of Bak and Newhouse would be our LT again. Or maybe you can’t have all pros at every position in the salary cap era. TT fields a winning team every year, even with the holes on the roster (which every team has). Learn how the salary cap works and save yourself some embarrassment.

  10. Did the pack ever get a kick returner?
    Detroit put a lot of points up on the Bears With Cutlers help. It’s looking like a split all around in the Division might be the way it’ll play out. Hope the boys all enjoyed their week off, with 13 games & no rest coming up. I’d say it’s pretty much a toss up in the division, no room for Cinncy type losses. Looks like everyone’s chasing Denver right now.

  11. BradHTX…let me change my statement. ..The Browns beat the Bengals, but the Pack couldn’t. Ya, the B Hoyer lead browns. We are talking Browns…they held Cincinnati to 63 rush yards, 266 total yards and 6 points. I guess from your statement that 35 min plane trip killed them. I know our team had injuries, but ,Maybe our team has more problems than I think…I hope not.

    And Sircheesy… so thats your answer, or excuse, for Teds solution to our safety situation? I guess there was absolutely no better option, anywhere anyhow,then McMillan or Jennings. ..thats working out great.

  12. I wasn’t saying to break the bank at the safety position, I know we have a cap. i was just hoping to get someone competent back there, next to Burnett, at an all important position. We’ve been one injury away from disaster at S and now we’re paying the price. I hope Banjo works out, if he does, I’ll gladly eat my words about TT and the saftey position. However, I do know that McMillan and Jennings are not the answer.

  13. Intending just for a Conversation Experiments study course at school associated with Los angeles… have been staring at the power with regards to blogging and site-building. Your website appears to actually fill the numerous aspects of a fantastic web site that many of us actually have described at secondary school. We have been definitely developing a very good dissertation shortly and might always be referfing to to the present.

Comments are closed.