Morgan Burnett 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card
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.
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
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+——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason at: Jason Perone
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