It’s in full swing now. Operation: Rebuild Damarious Randall.
We all know Randall had a terrible second season with the Green Bay Packers, who were counting on the former first-round pick to be the team’s No. 1 cornerback after Sam Shields went down.
There was the groin injury, of course. Randall had surgery on his groin during the season and missed six games. Like a hundred defensive backs before him, he then blamed his poor play on the injury.
And maybe the injury did hold him back, but then what was he doing out there to begin with? We’ll never understand why guys want to go out and play like crap — or the team will let them — rather than letting an injury heal and then coming back.
Regardless, Randall has been talking a big game this offseason, promising he’ll bounce back.
“People are going to see why the Packers believe in me and why they kept putting me out there. People will see. My game is going to speak for itself. If I come back and be an All-Pro guy, a Pro Bowler, then people are going to say, ‘Ohhhhh, it was the injuries’ and this and that. But I’m just going to let them talk.”
All-Pro. So, in other words, Randall is suggesting he’ll be one of the top two corners in the NFL. Or if you want to factor in the second-team, then one of the top hand full of corners in the NFL.
That’s interesting, since all evidence suggests Randall will be playing the slot this season. Most shutdown-type, All-Pro-type guys play outside.
Randall has consistently lined up in the slot with the No. 1 defense all offseason. Davon House, LaDarius Gunter and now Kevin King are lining up outside.
That’s really beside the point here, however. Randall probably isn’t going to be an All-Pro. At this point, the Packers are hoping they can get some solid production out of him.
We tend to believe if Randall stays healthy, they can. He was plenty solid as a rookie.
But there’s no doubt Randall’s confidence took a hit in 2016. We saw it in his play, from his unwillingness to tackle to his unreliable coverage.
Is Randall confident? He’s saying he is, but no one really knows except him.
Enter coach Mike McCarthy.
On Wednesday, McCarthy singled out Randall as one of the young players having a great offseason.
You know how we feel about that designation at this time of year…
Let’s see what happens when the pads go on.
But to some point, this is a rehabilitation process. A rebuilding process.
If the Packers are going to get something out of Randall — and Randall is going to play well — he needs to be confident. Both Randall, through his off-the-field work, and the coaching staff, through their interactions with him, will be key in a return to form.