20

May

Packers Jarrett Bush has Managed to Stick Around

Jarrett Bush

Packers CB Jarrett Bush has stuck with the team since 2006.

The pitchforks were out and the torches were lit after the 2009 season. Packers fans wanted cornerback Jarrett Bush off the team.

I admit that I was one of those Packers fans holding a torch high in one hand and a pitchfork in the other. I was sick of seeing Bush stumbling three yards behind a receiver after a double move left him in the dust and led to another touchdown against the Packers.

Ted Thompson has never paid much attention to the pitchfork- and torch-wielding sector of the Packers’ fanbase, and he held true to that philosophy with Bush. Now the undrafted free agent out of Utah St. and claimed by the Packers off waivers from Carolina is one of the longest-tenured Packers, a good special teams player and, dare I say it, somewhat beloved by fans.

I say “somewhat” because if Bush ever ends up playing significantly as a defensive back again, it will probably get ugly and fans will turn on him again. But as long as he remains the blue-collar, hard-working leader of the special teams unit, the love for Bush will only get stronger.

Admit it: When Bush picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl, you slapped yourself and wondered aloud if you just watched Jarrett Bush intercept a pass in the Super Bowl. For the Green Bay Packers. In January of 2011.

That play sticks in my mind to this day. Bush, a player who didn’t even get love from the fanbase of the team he played for, kept plugging away and made an impact when called upon to do so on the biggest stage.

If you were paying attention throughout the 2010 season, you would have noticed Bush making an impact on special teams. On Packers teams not known for their physicality and tackling, Bush goes as hard as anyone on special teams and is never afraid to stick his nose in the middle of the action and attempt to make a tackle.

Ever since Bush has been able to focus on special teams (albeit for one start in the 2012 season opener that didn’t go well), he’s found a place in Green Bay as a veteran and emotional leader.

29

July

5 Questions About Charles Woodson at Safety (and maybe a few answers)

By now you’ve probably all heard that the Packers plan to have Charles Woodson line up at safety this season.

To try and figure out exactly what that means for Woodson, the defense and the Packers, I asked myself five questions. I even tried to answer a few of them. Unfortunately, we won’t know if any of those answers are correct until the season is underway.

Q: How often will Woodson line up as a safety?

A: So far it looks like it will mainly be in the Packers’ base 3-4 formation, which they played about 25 percent of the time last season. I think the days of Woodson lining up one-on-one on the outside against a WR are over, but it is something we’ll have to watch as camp progresses. The development of M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian will probably factor in as well. If they don’t step up, I suppose we could see Woodson at safety in some sub-packages as well.

Q: Does Woodson have the mindset to play safety?

A: He takes a lot of risks. If Woodson sees a window to make an interception, even if it’s a tiny window that’s closing quickly, he’s going for it. That mindset has worked for Woodson the Cornerback…most of the time. It’s fine to let a corner with Woodson’s talent and instincts take risks because there’s usually a safety behind him in case the decision backfires. But now Woodson is the safety. If one of his risks backfires, the only thing behind him is a clear path to the end zone.

Q: How much of an adjustment is playing safety for Woodson?

A: It’s not like Woodson has been a straight-up cover-cornerback the last few seasons. Dom Capers moves him around, usually sticking him in the slot or trying to get him around the ball so his playmaking ability takes over. We’ll have to wait and see if the 35-year-old’s role will be much different at safety. I don’t think it will be a major change, but I also think it’s a more difficult move than casual fans might think.

Q: What does this move say about the Packers CB depth?

28

March

2012 Packers Position Group Analysis: Defensive Backs

Green Bay Packers defensive backs, Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Charlie Peprah

Defensive Backs Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Charlie Peprah

Packers Defensive Backs: We’re back with the third of this series where we examine each Packers position group as it currently exists. Today we finish the defensive side of the ball by examining the Packers’ secondary. As before, this article will examine three main points from the Packers’ perspective: where we are, where we want to go and what we need to do to get there.

Previous installments can be found here:

Packers Defensive Line:

Packers Linebackers:

 

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects:

Charles Woodson (1st round)
Tramon Williams (undrafted)
Sam Shields (undrafted)
Jarrett Bush (undrafted)
Davon House (4th  round)
Brandian Ross (undrafted)

Nick Collins (2nd round)
Morgan Burnett (3rd round)
Charlie Peprah (5th round)
M.D. Jennings (undrafted)
Anthony Levine (undrafted)

While this position group has six undrafted players, only three are regulars and overall there is better representation near the top of the draft than in the defensive line and linebacker groups. That’s especially true if you count Pat Lee, a second round choice the Packers recently allowed to leave via free agency.

The Packers’ secondary had a tough time in 2011. As a group, they gave up 71 plays of 20 yards or more, and a lot of those were significantly more than 20 yards. The Giants alone had four plays over 40 yards in two games against the Packers. Yes, it was not pleasant.

So let’s start with Charles Woodson: In 2011, Woodson was a bit of a paradox. On one hand, he was what we have come to expect from Charles Woodson; the guy who makes the big play. Woodson had 3 sacks, 7 interceptions and a total of nine turnover plays on the year. On the other hand, his tackling, which used to be a strength, almost became a liability.  Woodson finally started showing signs of age, as he lost some of that quickness he previously counted on to avoid blockers and track down ball carriers in open space. Woodson was charged with 18 missed tackles on the season and nine penalties (more than twice as many penalties as any other Packer player). He also gave up five touchdowns, leading the team in that category as well.