In looking at the Pro Football Focus grades for Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett’s 2012 season, something stood out to me. The longest pass that he was charged with this past season was 27 yards. It’s never good to give up long pass plays and a 27 yarder is nothing to be proud of. I also realize that it may have been one of the two tocuhdowns that Burnett was charged with. I didn’t dig that far, but I’m looking at this from a “face value” perspective.
It made me wonder if Burnett is more valuable to the Packers defense than most would think. Let’s look at this little nugget a bit further.
Of all NFL safeties who played at least 1,000 snaps in 2012, only TJ Ward of the Cleveland Browns’ 22 yard longest pass allowed was shorter than Burnett’s. Pittsburgh’s Ryan Clark played 909 snaps and his longest pass allowed was just 18 yards.
Again, there are a lot of factors that go into these stats such as defensive scheme, the other defensive backs around a player, the team’s pass rush and time opposing quarterbacks had in the pocket, etc. So with that in mind, let’s simply look at the fact that the Packers faced Detroit’s Calvin Johnson twice and Chicago’s Brandon Marshall twice. No small task and one that certainly requires safety help.