No worries if Packers’ Ha Ha Clinton-Dix isn’t an Immediate Starter

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
If Packers first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix isn’t a day one starter, don’t panic.

Packers general manger Ted Thompson’s batting average on recent first-round draft picks is below the Mendoza Line. For you non-baseball fans, that means Thompson is hitting under .200 with a lot of tappers back to the pitcher or lazy popups instead of line drives to the gap or tape-measure home runs.

Bryan Bulaga: Talented, some good stretches of play, but can’t stay healthy.

Derek Sherrod: Wasn’t overly impressive before breaking his leg and missing most of two seasons.

Nick Perry: Switched to a 3-4 OLB and can’t stay healthy.

Datone Jones: Hyped during training camp, slowed by an ankle injury, passed on the depth chart by fifth-rounder Josh Boyd.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: Currently behind converted slot cornerback Micah Hyde on the Packers safety depth chart.

Should we be worried that Clinton-Dix is behind Hyde to start camp? Did the Packers take another lackluster player in the first round, one who isn’t even talented enough to start the season ahead of a converted corner on a team desperately in need of a competent safety?

Or should we celebrate that the safety position finally has some depth? If Hyde turns out to be good, wonderful! Play him ahead of Clinton-Dix while the rookie improves and learns the defense, waiting to seize his opportunity after an injury to a starter or because Morgan Burnett has another ineffective season.

I can see both sides, but the correct side is probably this: It’s way too early to tell. Yes, Hyde might look good at safety now, but let’s see where he stands after an exhibition game or two. Give Hyde some time to learn the defense, figure out his role and see what he can do when the ball is in the air during an actual game.

While the focus remains on Hyde vs. Ha Ha, don’t be surprised if it turns into a three-way dance with Burnett getting added to the match. The perception seems to be that Burnett is a lock as a starter, but if he resembles the stumbling and too-slow-to-react player we saw last season, his starting shot should be put up for grabs.

This is probably how the battle will play out: Hyde and Burnett are the starters with Hyde moving to the slot and Burnett coming in at safety in dime packages. Everybody wins — Hyde takes a major step forward, Clinton-Dix isn’t rushed into duty and Burnett has a chance to redeem itself.

Most importantly, the Packers defense gets better…hopefully.


Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


4 thoughts on “No worries if Packers’ Ha Ha Clinton-Dix isn’t an Immediate Starter

  1. Burnett deserves another chance to fail. But if he does, go to Dix. Sean Richardson is intriguing as well.

    Right now I think the Pack’s biggest concern on defense is at ILB. When will they move on past Hawk? And how long will they wait on Jones? Winston Moss may be the worst coach in the history of the game. Loyal to a fault. When asked how long a guy will keep his job, he replies until somebody tells me he’s lost it. Really? Moss, and by extension McCarthy for wanting to keep him around, is the main reason this defense has no teeth. Your two ILB in a 3-4 define your team’s physicality and ability to protect the middle of the field. Nuff said.

  2. Good article. I’m not worried at all about C-Dix not cracking the starting lineup yet. Remember, last year McCarthy brought Phat Eddie along slowly, too. If Hyde starts, great. If C-Dix does, great. If Burnett gets beat out, great. At the end of the day, the safety position will be better than last year, and that’s what matters most.

  3. The way I am currently looking at the Packers’ safety position is that it is too early to tell for any of them. We don’t know if Burnett is going to improve over 2013. We don’t know if Hyde can play the position at a high level on a full time basis (although I believe that he will quickly evolve into the Packers’ best safety) and we don’t know yet if Dix will become a starter, especially in the short term. And of course there are plenty of question marks around Banjo and Richardson. For all of these reasons I was advocating for the acquisition of a veteran safety during the Free Agency period during the off season. It didn’t happen and Safety remains the biggest question mark on the team. Couple this with, as Archie correctly points out, weakness at ILB and we may have another defensive mess on our hands this season. I do believe that all of this will be sorted out during training camp and pre-season and it would be reassuring to know that we have at least one competent Safety going into camp but we don’t. Assuming that everyone stays healthy, a big IF, I am expecting Hyde and Dix to become our starting Safeties at some point during the season. If Burnett improves and remains one of the starters that’s fine also. In any case, the circus at the Safety position needs to end as soon as possible and we need to have stability at that position or our defense will not be improved this year. A lot is riding on MM and Capers to make it happen, but in the end whoever is on the field needs to get it done. No injuries and Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  4. From now until the first regular season game is more a marathon than a sprint.

    It is not who is ahead in the first mile but who is moving well at the end.

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