24

November

Packers Young Secondary Can Erase Bad Memories of Playoff Hail Mary

Casey Hayward

Packers rookie CB is leading a younger and more aggressive secondary.

I know your belly is still full of Thanksgiving turkey and you’re probably all excited that you managed to outlast the middled-aged lady next to you for that discounted Xbox at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

If you can overcome your full stomach and pause your Xbox euphoria, take a minute and watch the video of the Packers allowing a Hail Mary touchdown to the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks before halftime in last season’s playoff loss.

Makes your full tummy feel more like the stomach flu, right?

Now, take another look at the play. Notice the four players around the ball when Nicks comes down with it? Not one of them will be on the field for this Sunday night’s rematch.

Charlie Peprah is off the team. Charles Woodson is injured. Sam Shields is injured. And Jarrett Bush mainly plays special teams (I suppose it’s conceiveable that Bush could end up out there, but hopefully not).

If Eli Manning launches another Hail Mary on Sunday, the players around the ball will likely be a combination of Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Davon House, Morgan Burnett, Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings.

That group is a lot more aggressive than the group that stood there with their thumbs up their butts while Nix caught the ball in the playoffs.

Hell, Jennings has already intercepted a Hail Mary pass this season, even though it counted as a touchdown for the other team.

Sunday night is a big test for the new faces in this secondary. They’ve held their own agaisnt the likes of Sam Bradford, Blaine Gabbert, John Skelton and Matthew Stafford. But Manning, Nicks and Victor Cruz are on a completely different level that what this secondary has seen over the last six weeks.

If Hayward continues getting his hands on passes, House keeps using his size to his advantage, Burnett, McMillian and Jennings keep developing their nose for the ball and Tramon just does what Tramon does, I think this group will hold its own.

If all of that happens (and it’s a big if), and the Packers claw out another road win in November, the sky is the limit for this team.

At the very least, it’d be another step in erasing the image of Peprah, Woodson, Shields and Bush looking helpless on the playoff Hail Mary.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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17 Responses to “Packers Young Secondary Can Erase Bad Memories of Playoff Hail Mary”

  1. Chad Lundberg says:

    Cullen Jenkins was never re-signed, and Nick Collins career ended abruptly. Two big factors that played in a horrible defense in 2011.

    People often forget to mention the decline in Charles Woodson. The guy just isn’t who he was in 2009. Not even close.

    Think about it. Ever since he got injured, I don’t think the defense has missed him that much this year.

    Woodson is owed about 10 million a year with his current contract. I seriously hate to be the first to say this, but it’s time to talk about cutting Charles Woodson after this season.

    I KNOW I’m gonna get it for saying that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Mojo says:

      Not from me. I agree, Woodson’s average at best now, and many times a liability with his grabbing and holding. Plus how as a safety is he going to tackle with a chronically bad shoulder?

      He needs to take a huge pay-cut next year or else…..

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

      • Chad Lundberg says:

        I just did not think he could have declined this much. He doesn’t have the same speed but he’s not slow. He doesn’t have as much strength, but he’s not weak. He’s not as athletic but it’s not like he’s out of shape.

        He just simply is not the player he used to be. Could it be that he’s content knowing he’ll retire with a ring?

        I just can’t put my finger on this whole situation. But anyway I try to put it, I can’t see the Packers trying to keep him at his current salary.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Elo says:

    Agree, Woodson can stay around, ala Darrin Sharper, as the roaming center fielder, but not for the money he is slated to make. Maybe he’ll be willing to adjust as Driver did for his final year. I’m hoping to see House get more time this week. I think he can be game changer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    The thing is – if he stays, MM can’t bench him.

    And TT can’t cut him. It’s be almost like the summer of Favre.

    If Woody would be humble enough to take a big pay cut, become a mentor on the team and a catch all as a backup, that’s be the best situation. But he won’t. He’s too proud.

    Not a good place to be in 2013.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Chad Lundberg says:

      Almost like the summer of Favre? Sure, it would be controversial, but near that level.

      In fact, since TT was willing to trade Favre, IMHO it proves he is willing to cut a big name player if necessary.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • frozentundra91 says:

      Completely agree.

      I don’t know know how you start Woodson when he comes back over some of the young talent developing right now in the secondary. I like Charles Woodson as much as the next Packer fan, but he wasn’t really wowing me before he got hurt.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • PatMc says:

        Woodson will start but expect to see another “starter” take over on 3rd down.

        I don’t know if the young Safeties are going to be a Nick Collins but they have been much better than what Woodson was doing. When Collins went down that impacted the “D” much more than anyone realized. Keeping a roster spot and 10 million in Woodson next year is IMHO insane. Draft is going to be full of Safeties, Use the money and the roster spot to get a couple more this next year. Time to develop another “Nick Collins” or draft a high pick (McDonald-Lester-Reed) any who will play better than woodson in 2013.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I can see MM benching Woodson. Not through an entire game, but rotating him in with certain packages. He’s doing that with Driver now.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. James david Marsh says:

    In today’s NFL game, when your legs go and you have to “grab” the other player, it is time to say goodby as a player and take up coaching.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. Snarff1 says:

    just stop it, If you armchair QBs think you know more about football than MM or TT, I don’t think so. You are the bunch that was calling for James Jone Trade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

    • Chad Lundberg says:

      Who here is claiming they can run an NFL team or knows better than TT or MM? We’re fans, it’s ok to have our own opinion.

      Jennings is frequently injured, Finley has vastly under-performed, and Driver has aged. All of those had to happen for the resigning of James Jones to be as successful as it has been just so you know. And even if we knew some of those were likely to happen at the time, we also knew that we had Randall Cobb who would be able to fill in the gap.

      Plus, Jones is not 36 years old. There comes a time when it has to end for a player. Charles Woodson’s time is coming whether we like it or not.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • PatMc says:

        I said after week one that Woodson needed to go to the bench. Time to let the younger players emerge. He isn’t even average. He might improve Detroits DB’s but his shoulder still hurts, he has too many penalties and the elite passers of the league know it. He hurts the defense (today). Time to cut bait with woodson unless he wants to coach.

        I admit wanting to trade Jones since last year for a RB and or an OL. We still need one of each. Driver has been mentoring the young WR and deserves credit for helping jones and cobb. He doesn’t deserve to take a roster spot next year. Make him a coach.

        We have 2 or 3 First round picks on IR plus multiple LB’s. Many prospects on OL and DL in Practice squad. There isn’t room on the roster for either Driver or Woodson. (iMHO Saturday either)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. nick perry says:

    I agree with all of you on Woodson. As bummed out as I am to say it’s just that time. I’ll forever remember the 2009 season and the Dallas game where he about beat them himself on his way to DPOY. His speech in locker room after winning NFC Championship game still gives me goose pimples. Thank you Charles!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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