23

January

Morgan Burnett 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Morgan Burnett

Morgan Burnett

1) Introduction:  Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett was signed to a four-year, $24.75 million contract extension last July.  He was seen as the anchor to the Packers secondary and many fans were hopeful that he would turn the proverbial corner much like his predecessor Nick Collins did in his fourth season.  After missing the first three games due to a hamstring injury, Burnett returned but was not nearly as effective as the team needed him to be.  The safety position remains the Packers’ biggest need area heading into 2014 and the underachievement of Burnett is part of the reason why.  For the first time in nearly 60 years, no Green Bay safeties logged an interception during an entire season.

2) Profile:

Morgan Mark Burnett

  • Age: 25
  • Born: 1/13/1989 in College Park, GA
  • Height: 6’01″
  • Weight: 209
  • College: Georgia Tech
  • Rookie Year: 2010
  • NFL Experience: 4 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Burnett was expected to become more of a play maker and help the Packers continue to be among the league leaders in turnover margin.  While it’s asking a lot of any young safety to turn into another Nick Collins, the Packers were hoping that the contract extension and two solid seasons as a starter would help Burnett elevate his game.  With either of Jerron McMillian or M.D. Jennings returning, Burnett would be counted on help guide their development and help “quarterback” the secondary.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Burnett suffered a disappointing hamstring injury and missed the team’s first four games.  Upon his return, he strung together a few statistically good games before slumping during the middle part of the year.  Burnett’s biggest play of the season came on Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions when he scooped up a fumble and ran it into the end zone for a defensive score.  But his 2013 season was marred with more missed tackles and opportunities.  In the wild card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, Burnett just missed a possible interception on a touchdown pass to Vernon Davis that surely would have put the Packers in good position to win and advance to the divisional round.  Outside of that, there were too many occasions where Burnett was out of place or took a bad angle and missed a tackle.  Burnett still tries to arm tackle too often and is easily shaken or juked.  Heading into 2014, Burnett needs to shore up his tackling if he wants to take the next step and show any kind of improvement.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  While he wasn’t statistically great, Burnett does contribute more than just his individual play.  His responsibility for getting his fellow safety lined up and communicating with the cornerbacks is equally important.  There were certainly communication problems in the Green Bay secondary this season and many of those, I’m sure, can be traced back to Burnett.  How many times he did get someone lined up right is unknown.  For this being Burnett’s fourth year in the current defensive scheme and having made so few plays on the ball, he was disappointing.  Throw in the amount of money he is costing the team and that could have been used elsewhere, and you have a below average performer.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  Burnett had a positive grade in run support (+1.8) according to Pro Football Focus, but his missed interception is what stands out most.  Burnett has played in all of the last four meetings against the 49ers and still seems just as baffled as the first time.  The lack of progression by the Packers defense was troubling.  Burnett’s especially when considering what is needed and expected out of his position at this critical time.

Season Report Card:

(D+) Level of expectations met during the season

(D+) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(D) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  D+

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

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24 Responses to “Morgan Burnett 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card”

  1. tim says:

    I’m more optimistic about Burnett than Jennings. He’s been ok in the past. He makes way too much money. Although he failed to actually make plays for the most part, he seemed to be in a spot where he actually might have made a play if he had been someone else. Amazing what I’m encouraged by. All in all, a failure this year, but bordering on really, badly, needs improvement. I’d give him an F+. The job oppotunities at safety in green bay are good, I’m more excited about Richardson and Hyde.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    • Hank Scorpio says:

      I think Burnett let the hole in the defense that was the other Safety spot affect his game too much. He spent as much time worrying about covering up the other spot as he did worrying about his spot.

      At least that is how I’m rationalizing his poor 2013 season. I hope it isn’t foolish rationalization because his contract means he ain’t going anywhere for at least one more year and probably more.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  2. WKUPackFan says:

    I agree with the theory that some of Burnett’s problems were related to trying to assist the Doctor. Hayward’s absence may also have had an impact. Hayward, from the slot DB, was able to cover some of the Doctor’s and McMillian’s deficiencies. In addition, the OLB situation may have also caused Burnett to play closer to the LOS for run support, effecting his ability to get deep enough in coverage.

    Adding these factors to Burnett missing the first four games may provide the reasons (some would say excuses) for Burnett’s regression.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Dobber says:

      I’m with you, in part: Burnett was hampered by the guys playing next to him. It’s not much more than an excuse, though. I think the whole defense was hampered by the guys playing next to him, and he couldn’t elevate his play or the play of those around him.

      Bottom line: he was paid because they expected him to be “the man”, but in reality, he’s probably best suited to be another very good safety’s “wingman”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  3. Since '61 says:

    Dobber’s comment is spot on. Burnett is at best a safety who needs to play along side an experienced veteran safety. If it were not for his contract he should be chucked along with Jennings, IMO. As I mentioned in my post about Jennings, when compared with the solid history of Packers safety play going back to the early ’60s, these two (Jennings and Burnett) were an embarrassment for the Packers and almost an automatic big play if not scoring opportunity for our opponents. We need to bring in a FA veteran safety to play with Burnett and draft a safety to replace him(Burnett) in a season or 2. I can’t see drafting a safety and expecting Burnett to develop him. I believe safety needs both a quality FA and at least one high draft choice for 2014. We cannot allow 2013 to be repeated. Thanks, Since ’61

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • Dobber says:

      “I can’t see drafting a safety and expecting Burnett to develop him. I believe safety needs both a quality FA and at least one high draft choice for 2014. We cannot allow 2013 to be repeated.”

      Look at what happened in the 2013 draft: RB was seen as a priority, so TT used a #2 and a #4 to address it. I’m not so sure that the doubling up wasn’t a function of being both 1) skeptical of Lacy and 2) enamored with Franklin. Both were value picks, though.

      I could see TT doing something like this in the upcoming draft (overkill on safeties), but I agree with you: I’d rather see an experienced FA signed who can QB the defense so that picks can be used at other positions of need (like ILB). Not an expert, but I think this would make the most dramatic change in the Defense.

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

      • Ed Schoenfeld says:

        I don’t disagree with the idea of getting an FA safety, but it really depends on what is available after teams negotiate with their own and assign franchise tags. Spending FA money on a ‘veteran’ no better than Burnett would be worse than not doing anything in FA. The real point being that its silly to set expectations for what we want TT to do before we know what is available.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • JimR_in_DC says:

          Ed Schoenfeld said: “Spending FA money on a ‘veteran’ no better than Burnett would be worse than not doing anything in FA.”

          I doubt TT would choose to do this. He “might” be willing to spend some on a veteran that has a track record of performing better than our current safeties. “Might” is the key word.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          • Since '61 says:

            I realize that we don’t yet know who may or may not be available but we need a veteran safety to stabilize this position on the defense. If we just draft a safety, even if he is the right guy long term, and he miraculously stays healthy we have no one to help him develop on the field. Hyde, Banjo, Richardson don’t have the experience and Burnett and Jennings can’t play the position, so adding a rookie to this mess only delays or actually hurts his development. A veteran can restore confidence in the position for the whole defense plus help develop a rookie and some of the guys currently on the roster. Thanks, Since ’61

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • Dobber says:

          I’m no expert, but I look at it this way: even if you sign a player that’s not markedly better than Barnett, that player is still likely to be much better than Jennings/McMillian. This would elevate the level of play at the S position dramatically because you remove the major problem and make life better for Burnett…I think he improves with a markedly better player next to him.

          Ideally, I’d like to see a Bob Sanders, Troy Polamalu or even Brian Dawkins type S back there with him, but that’s just not going to happen. More likely, TT gambles on a guy who has been a 2nd or 3rd safety playing behind or alongside better players, and has flashed ability in limited reps.

          I have been accused of silliness on many occasions…

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        • WKUPackFan says:

          “Spending FA money on a ‘veteran’ no better than Burnett would be worse than not doing anything in FA” gets my vote for comment of the year thus far. TT would get a lot less grief (not that he cares, thank goodness) if more people understood this concept. The downside is we’d have a lot less to debate about around here.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • packett says:

        You are so right too. Just what I have been thinking.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • packett says:

      You are so right.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. stockholder says:

    You were to kind with your Evaluation! This guy is whats wrong with the packers secondary. Woodson was their leader! Barnett never earned his money and never will! No smarts,No Skill, No Heart. TT needs to replace his safetys.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  5. stockholder says:

    You were to kind with your Evaluation! This guy is whats wrong with the packers secondary. Woodson was their leader! Barnett never earned his money and never will! No smarts,No Skill, No Heart. TT needs to replace his safetys.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  6. James David says:

    There are way too many teams in need of one and two quality safeties for GB to get a good one in FA. Round one will see both Clinton-Dixon and C. Pryor drafted. If GB gets one and can get CB/S K. Mc Gill with the #3 comp pick, it should help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Elo says:

    I don’t think Burnett has the smarts to be a leader in the backfield. At the end of the day, I really think its a function of intelligence.

    Stating the obvious, but this has to be the primary focus for improvement this offseason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. GBPDAN says:

    Can we skip the evaluations of our failures playing safety and just give TT a F- for putting this overly inferior group on the field. We all know our safeties are by far the worst in the NFL and have to be right there with the worst in NFL history. Good job Ted!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. GBPDAN says:

    Sorry,I know it’s good to post all these grades for discussion, I’m just so disappointed in the product that TT put together at such a critical position that I just want to give TT a below failure grade for this blunder and move on to the next position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. billy says:

    I just get the feeling that Morgan may have a nice year next season….if…TT gives him someone to work with, not some dud that he has to also cover for…he sorta stunk it up this year sometimes but its hard when your the only safety…haha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • billy says:

      one more thing…please dont expect him to try and help “develop” some rook….just setting him up for another year like this….

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