The bane of my personal existence as a Green Bay Packers fan over the past three seasons may finally be getting what every sane person who’s ever seen a football game thinks he deserves: a pink slip.
I mean, let’s face it. Jarrett Bush is the worst cornerback in the history of history and yet the Packers have kept him around for his mysterious, soon-to-be-tapped, the coaches-can-see-something-magical-the-rest-of-us-don’t potential two seasons too long. Bush simply could not give up enough big plays on defense, commit enough stupid penalties or fuck up enough special teams plays for the Packers to cut him.
Total Packers later found out the reason for this stupidity. Bush made hundreds of special prearranged “visits” to GM Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy after practice, on the road and late at night when they felt lonely.
Anyway, to the point.
Even if Bush isn’t cut again for some inexplicable or sexual-favor-based reason, at least Bush will not be the Packers nickel back this season. Barring injury, he won’t even be the Packers dime back and that pretty much means Bush will not get on the field in the Packers defense.
No, today, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said there is an open competition for the Packers nickel back between Brandon Underwood and Pat Lee. With Al Harris’ knee injury keeping him sidelined, Bush technically occupied the nickel spot on the depth chart coming into training camp.
So, again, barring injury, the loser of the Underwood/Lee competition will be the Packers dime back.
Here’s the setup for the final roster.
The Packers will start Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams. The nickel and dime guys will be Underwood and Lee. The Packers kept six cornerbacks on the opening day roster last season, so two spots are left.
The leading candidates for those spots are Bush, Josh Bell and Sam Shields, an undrafted free agent from Miami.
It seems reasonable Bush could secure a roster spot in a competition with those three guys, but consider Harris could be back by the start of the regular season. In that case, Harris gets a spot and Bush, Bell and Shields are left competing for one spot.
If you’ve watched the Packers play, you know what Bush can, or in this case, can’t do (cover anyone). Bell’s coverage skills are similar. He came to the Packers as an in-season free agent pickup last year after being cut by Denver before the season. Bell was a starter for the Broncos in 2008, when Denver had the worst pass defense in the NFL.
Shields is the wild card. Undrafted free agents usually have a pretty slim chance of making an opening day roster, but Shields is a little different. He only played cornerback for one season at Miami, so he’s raw. However, he’s a speed burner who could be a factor in the return game. He’s also been praised on several occasions in the opening week of training camp for making plays on defense.
Asked which of his younger guys has impressed the most, Whitt didn’t hesitate to say Sam Shields.
“He’s a very mature young man and has all the ability in the world. This is only his second year playing corner and he has a lot of learning to do but he’s very serious, he understands the sense of urgency that it takes to be a good player and he’s getting better every day.”
Shields may well be a disaster when the games start, but you have to like what you see and hear about him thus far.
Of course, the point of all of this, even if he still manages to fellate his way onto the team, is Bush won’t be on the field when the Packers are on defense.
The other potential wild card to keep an eye on that could derail this whole situation is Lee.
In two seasons with the Packers, Lee has gone on injured reserve both years. You could say the guy is injury prone. You could probably also say he’s consistent.
Personally, I like to think Pat Lee is due — due to play a full season, due to stay healthy, due to get Jarrett Bush the hell off my Green Bay Packers.