Let’s add this up real quick.
The Green Bay Packers drafted cornerback Casey Hayward in the second round of the draft. They already have Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Charles Woodson.
They don’t have safety Nick Collins, who they released last week. Woodson is 35 and probably has lost a step, although even a step slower, he’s still better than 90 percent of the cornerbacks in the NFL. Charlie Peprah, who filled in for Collins last season, has not played well.
Although the Packers won’t say it, this all adds up to Woodson playing safety.
The team needs an improvement over Peprah, who was responsible for more than his share of miscommunications in the secondary in 2011. They now have the cornerback depth to move Woodson.
Does Woodson want to switch positions? Probably not, but he is playing his share of safety already.
“Charles has played so many different places for us that we just feel that he’s played corner, nickel, dime, safety, wherever we’ve wanted Charles to play, he’s played,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “Our experience with Charles is Charles is a bright guy.
“It’s not like it would be a radical move because of the way we’ve used him in the last three years, basically. We feel he can play any one of those positions. That’s one of the things he brings to the table is the flexibility that he gives you. That could potentially change from week to week. It has up to this point in time. You’ve watched us play him at a number of different positions. Many times who you’re playing that week and your game plan dictates that.”
So the Packers are already on record as saying they’ll play Woodson at safety. The question is how they make it a full-time move.
Our money says they ease him into it during training camp and suddenly, surprise! Everyone will realize Woodson is playing more safety than cornerback, although the Packers will tell you he’s still a cornerback.
Given their current personnel, the move only makes sense and there’s an obvious precedent. Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson was moved to safety by Baltimore when he was 34. He played the last five seasons of his career there, earning four Pro Bowl berths and one first-team All Pro.
He led the league in interceptions twice as a free safety. He totaled 24 picks in those five seasons and scored five touchdowns.
Nailed it on the head.
the move does clearly make sense, and who wouldn’t want woodson’s career extended, but they have to be careful not to leave a hole at corner by filling one at safety…unless williams and shields return to 2010 form (which i think they can and will), im not sure how comfortable i am with them being our #1/2 corners based on last season’s performance, even if it means being able to put peprah on the sidelines.
but hopefully hayward can contribute sooner rather than later. also not mentioned here is davon house, who, if healthy has the size and potential to be a stud. to move woodson to safety full-time ultimately depends on what hawyard and/or house can do, as long as williams and shields hold their own.
Shields needs to be able to cover inside. He is stuck on the outside currently because of his closing speed. Hopefully he can make a transition inside and that would help the transition for Woodson. Otherwise, Hayward better be able to cover the inside.
we still don’t know what we have in Davon House. I’d put him above Hayward simply because he has a year in the system.
in a system where he hasn’t played at all and has had constant injuries. he may have a step up on him, but barely. hayward may be an all round better corner than he is anyway. cant wait to see the preseason.
Im going to be very disappointed if they still end up having a mediocre defense. If they dont make it in the top 15 capers may just leave or say fudge it and off himself from all the stress.
Woodson needs to tackle better than he did last season, and he needs to play a more conservative game. He tends to take a lot of chances, and that could be a killer if he is in the safety position.
Woodson has been better in tight coverage than in off coverage. So, I have my concerns that he will become a good safety.
Obviously, the intelligence and athleticism are there.
The whole D needs to tackle better.
I think with Woodson’s ball hawk tendencies as well as his intelligence & athleticism could be positives in the safety position. I do agree the chance taking tendencies could potentially give up a big play or two. Won’t the safety position give him a little closer visualization of the quarterback? I don’t think up close too many QB’s will be able to fool Woodson.