Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stop the pass!

Our secondary is something that was abused last year.  Everyone knows that our defense finished last in the NFL allowing 411.6 yards per game.  Just under 300 yards per game were through the air, giving up a total of 29 touchdowns.  The bright side is that we had 31 INT on defense last year, and that we returned 4 of them for touchdowns.  Now it is difficult because of course people needed to pass on us last year, we went 15-1 and were ahead for almost all of the time in every game.  Let's go through the pieces of our CB's and see what we have to look forward to this season.

Jarrett Bush-#24 7 years in the NFL-Utah State
(6'0" 200 lbs)

I have a difficult time with Jarrett Bush for several reasons, he has been our main gunner for special teams for quite some time, which I really appreciate when our special teams unit has been horrible for so many recent years.  Bush had 2 picks last year, one each against the Falcons and Lions.  There is nothing wrong with getting INT's for our defense, but Bush just isn't good at covering anything.  Sometimes I wonder if he could cover a turtle.  I don't know if everyone remembers this, but I have a certain image burned on my memory.  Jarrett Bush was manned up on Hakeem Nicks on the infamous Hail Mary that made sure the momentum of the game changed back into the Giants favor at halftime.  Now of course, that isn't the only reason that we lost the game, but it certainly was frustrating that he just let him get behind him.  You don't let a receiver ever get behind you, especially on the last play of the half.  He just cannot be trusted.  Grade: C-

Casey Hayward-#29 Rookie-Vanderbilt
(5'11" 192 lbs)

You've probably been hearing a lot about this guy.  He seems like he has a great chance to be playing on the field regularly this year.  I know that he has a lot of improving to do, but he does seem like a good talent and was playing in the defensively strong SEC.  I recently watched this video of him to see what he did on the field against an elite college team last year, and I wasn't terribly impressed.  I like his size and he should have good speed.  He is a good tackler and I enjoy the fact that he was a college All-American so he used his skills well there.  Grade: B+

Davon House-#31 2nd year in the NFL-New Mexico State
(6'0" 195 lbs) @devo_31 on twitter

In the NFL combine last year, Davon House put up a 4.50 40 yard dash and he was in the top 5 for the 60 yard shuttle for all of the CB's that were there.  Last year for the Packers he put up 1 tackle, and he only appeared in two games.  His tackle was week 17 against Detroit.  We did spend a 4th round pick on him, so I would expect him to make the team with so many teams needing extra corners.  I just know that House has good size and everyone thinks he is very physical.  Grade: C

Otis Merrill-#47 Rookie-Illinois State
(5'11" 188 lbs)

The main thing that I was able to find out about Otis Merrill is that he ran a 4.42 40 yard dash at his pro day.  He went to Illinois State and it seems like he is probably a longshot to make the roster.  He definitely should take every opportunity to try to make the team, because of the people on this list, he seems like one of the most likely ones to get cut.  I am hoping that he does well, I do like cheering for the underdog.  Grade: D-

Brandian Ross-#39 1st year in the NFL-Youngstown State
(6'0" 191 lbs) @BrandianRoss on twitter

Ross was cut last year and spent most of the year on the practice squad, like most of the people on the team at this position, he is a young player, and that the Packers like young raw talent from Division II schools like Merrill, Ross, and Turner, which we will get to in a few moments.  Ross has a chance to be great and he picked off Rodgers during the 1st play of the Family night game last year and took it back for a touchdown.  I really hope that he has a chance to be great and that the Packers can coach him up.  Grade: D

Sam Shields-#37 3rd year in the NFL-Miami (FL)
(5'11" 184 lbs)

Shields started 7 games last year for the Packers at defensive back, had 4 INT's and 45 tackles.  I think that there is a good chance for Shields to be a starter this year, depending on what we do with where we want Woodson due to cutting Peprah and not having Nick Collins, who I desperately miss, at safety.  I think that Shields has a lot of room to grow still and I think that he can develop and needs to grow quickly with all of the youth that we have on the team.  Grade: B

Dion Turner-#41 Rookie-Southern Utah
(5'11" 194 lbs)

There isn't much about Turner on the internet, but he impressed the Packers well enough to be picked up after the draft.  I was able to to find this interview with him before the draft, and I thought it was interesting he said he would miss the small town environment of Southern Utah.  Southern Utah University is in Cedar City, Utah, and it is a town with a population less than 30,000 between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas on Interstate-15.  Little did he know he would end up with the NFL's smallest town in the Green Bay Packers, but we are excited to have him.  Grade: D-

Tramon Williams-#38 6 years in the NFL-Louisiana Tech
(5'11" 191 lbs) @HighRizer38 on twitter

Tramon Williams is the 2nd best cornerback that we have on our team, and might become the best depending on how the aging process treats Charles Woodson.  The best thing about Tramon is that this year he will be lining up on Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall, and I can't wait to see him dominate those studs at wideout.  Tramon has started 51 games for the Packers in the regular season.  Are there better #1 cornerbacks in the NFL, but there isn't anything to complain about with Tramon, he does quality work.  Grade: A-

Charles Woodson-#21 15 years in the NFL-Michigan
(6'1" 202 lbs)

Charles Woodson might be one of the best cornerbacks of all time.  He had this catch during college- WOW! He won a Heisman in college.   Which is very impressive considering that the last defensive player to win the Heisman was Ernie Davis in 1961, who also played running back, and Charles is the only one since.  In his NFL career, he has had 883 tackles, 15 sacks, 54 INT's and 11 touchdowns.  So not only does he have a Heisman, but he has a NFL Defensive player of the year (2009), NCAA Championship, Super Bowl title, and is a wine connoisseur.  Some of my favorite moments are when Charles would get an INT and then do a shimmy shake.  I LOVE Charles Woodson and am not ashamed to admit it, I guess it even could be called a man-crush.  Charles may not be the best cornerback anymore, and he may even get moved to safety because of need, but I still think that he is a stud, and will continue to be so, until I see his game start to take a step down.  Grade: A+++

Overall, I think that this group is decent, but gave up lots of yards last year, and could continue to have other problems, but with our pass rush coming back, I believe that the pressure is going to improve our defense by leaps and bounds.  Overall group grade: B-

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