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.