Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Jermaine Whitehead: the Full Stories Haven’t Been Told

34

 

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Jermaine Whitehead

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) congratulates defensive back Jermaine Whitehead (35) after he gets a sack against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field. Dan Powers/Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

 

The date was October 30. Less than two hours before the trade deadline, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst traded away Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Just two days earlier, the Packers had traveled to California and played maybe their best game of the season.

As you’ll recall, Ty Montgomery fumbled away the ball and the game prior to what would have been the Pack’s final drive toward a winning field goal. Ty was also traded away within minutes of the Clinton-Dix trade. I’d say Gute was in one irritable mood that day.

It had been predicted, even by Ha Ha himself, that he wouldn’t be back in Green Bay in 2019 – when his five-year-deal ran out. But the timing of this move was striking. There’s got to be more to the story than has been told, but to my knowledge no one, including the national sports media, has unearthed more details.

It would be hard to name a player who has been more of an anchor for the Packers in recent years. Clinton-Dix never missed a game while at Green Bay; and he started all 55 regular-season games. He was on the field for every defensive play of the 2018 season prior to his leaving. Such durability on a team with so many injury issues was priceless.

For his first three years, his play was solid, though never at the All-Pro or Pro Bowl level that he was accorded in 2016. Over the last two years, however, not only did his coverage go to hell, but he began going out of his way to avoid heavy contact – not a trait DC Pettine would stomach. He no doubt was watching Damarious Randall too much.

Without Ha Ha, the Packers were left with a motley crew of free safeties: Kentrell Brice, Jermaine Whitehead, Raven Greene, and somewhere in there you might add Ibraheim Campbell and Natrelle Jamerson (the lines between free and strong safety got blurred last year).

The sequence of events quickly got more bizarre. A week after Ha Ha got the boot, the Packers released Whitehead. Just two days earlier, Jermaine had been ejected from the Patriots game for “slapping” a guy after the whistle. There may have been justification for the team disciplining Whitehead, but in so doing they left the free safety cupboard bare.

Cornerback Tramon Williams was switched over to safety, by which time Green Bay’s defensive backfield resembled a game of musical chairs. The 31-0 drubbing by the Lions in the season’s final game – with new-to-the-team Bashaud Breeland and Tony Brown occupying the corners – reflected how chaotic the defensive backfield situation had become.

Kentrell Brice, who actually was the strong safety starter opposite Ha Ha when the season began, wore down badly. By season’s end, it appeared the three-year experiments with not only Whitehead but also Brice – both who were undrafted – had run their course.

And let’s not forget, in the past two years the front office watched as reliable safeties Morgan Burnett departed for Pittsburgh and Micah Hyde shuffled off to Buffalo.

When asked, Gutekunst said repeatedly that the trades weren’t about sending messages, and indicated performance is the first consideration, though everything is taken into account. He added that such decisions are “always in the best interest of our team, not only in the short term but the long term, as well.” Blah, blah, blah. The short term?

The abrupt departures of Clinton-Dix and Whitehead, coupled with Gutekunst’s generalities, leave many questions in my mind.

Had Clinton-Dix become a toxic and disruptive force off the field? Was he sowing so much discord he couldn’t be kept on till the end of the season? Had he demanded to be traded? Did he and Pettine irrevocably lock horns?

Was the release of Whitehead due solely to a stupid penalty? Did Gutekunst and/or Pettine view both these guys as hopelessly bad Ted Thompson picks/projects? Whitehead had 75 snaps and had seven tackles against the Rams – wasn’t his performance coming along nicely? Pettine at times had used Jermaine as a dime linebacker and at slot corner – wouldn’t that versatility likely have come in handy?

Of the two unusual mid-season actions, I find the Whitehead one the more mystifying. What don’t we know?

If there’s any lesson here, I’d suggest that before you willingly get rid of a player – especially one who’s been starting games, and especially one with some years with the team, you first make sure there’s a replacement at the ready. Whenever possible, you should make such moves in the offseason.

About The Author

The old trial attorney never lost a case – he misplaced a few, but those files were found eventually. His arguments are water-tight, his logic unassailable, and his verdicts non-appealable. Resistance is futile.

34 Comments on "Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Jermaine Whitehead: the Full Stories Haven’t Been Told"

  1. Ferris

    I thought they should play with 10 rather than put HaSean on the field, he was a liability and an idiot. If they got an ice cream cone in return for him it was worth the trade.
    Hello Earl Thomas…

  2. FTS

    When players said there was a lack of accountability on defense, HaHa and Damarious were the first two names that popped in my head. I think as the season went on, Gute could see other players having the same attitudes, especially with coaching. The only other person that still has a job is Murphy. Hey, when your the boss, you can do anything.

  3. KILLER

    I agree with you thru-out on this one Rob.

    One other theory is that after losing to the Rams the Packers were 3-3-1 having tied the Vikings at home and knowing they would lose later to the Vikings in MN. And coming into the toughest part of their schedule like with the Patriots and Seahawks coming. It could be Gute wanted to get the best draft picks he could could and this part of tanking early. Higher draft picks lead to greater success just by accident even and then makes him look better.

    So, long term it was perhaps done for the good of Gute the Bad. Tanker.

      • KILLER

        HHCD is at least competent as a safety and has a nose for big plays. Not a good tackler, not a gutsy player, true. .Still, to go from him to a old slow converted CB right past the undrafted free agent bottom of barrel with maybe an attitude problem…. yeah, big drop off there. Huge differential.

        It could well have cost a game or two.

        • R.Duke

          Dix was a fraud and a slacker at the end of 2017. Gutekunst could have dumped him in the off-season, but he gave the guy another chance. Dix made one play on a ball, had one gifted and another tipped into his hands. He was gutless in the middle and allowed at least three easyTDs by blowing his coverage. The coup de grace for this guy was whining about not getting his contract extended. BG picked up a four pick which is better than waiting out a comp pick in 2020. Good riddance.

  4. Ferris

    I hear signing Kirk Cousins makes a team better…any thoughts? Wait never mind please do not reply unless you jack off 5 times a day.

    • KILLER

      Better than the Packers because he’s better than Rodgers, at least last year for both. (And better than we would have been had we kept Case Keenum. As proven by Cousins 2018 v. Keenum 2017 or 2018 QB rating)

      Woah, snap, I guess this means I jack off five times a day, huh, professor? Your theory is proven incorrect because I only jack off four times a day, three on Sundays — my day of rest. Maryann and Ginger, who can resist those images?

      Hey, Vikes may not win all the games but at least we try to win all the games! Two years in a row now you guys have been tanking games!

      • Zstflycln

        Easy Killer, if the Vikings went 8-7-1 trying to win every game but the Packers went 6-9-1 trying to tank, by your own logic the Vikings are trash. It’s okay though, your defense is a shell of it’s former self. Your team has no cap space, and they’re going to start loosing players in free agency. Everything will be fine though, the Vikings 29th ranked O line will still suck and you guys can all say “WE” had a great 2017 season.

        • KILLER

          My “own logic” does not say the Vikings are trash. 8-7-1 is still a winning season. I would never say any team who is 8-7-1 is trash. Now, a team that could have been 8-7-1 but who tanked games to end up 6-9-1…. yes, that there is a trash effort/situation. So, just to be crystal clear — you guys need extra clarity I see, more than the average Joe — Packers had a trash effort last year from management, coaches, and Aaron — and Vikings are not (Not) trash.

          Our defense plummeted from #1 to #3. Few Ds are #1 every single year. We had some unusual stuff go on.

          We’ll lose a few in free agency and cuts. Barr, Richardson, Sendejo, Remmers (on offense). Our core is still intact and we have some great young developing talent — Weatherly, Hughes, Alexander, Wilson, Holmes, Isadora, Zylstra, Boone, Thomas, Sloter, Downs, Johnson, Gedeon, Kearse, Harris, a few others. I see more improvement than losses if you add development, draft, and free agency all together.

          For instance, our O-line was 29th last year. This is an opportunity for potentially huge improvement. 29th and Cousins still had 30 TDs, 10 INTs, over 70% completion percentage. We lost our o-line coach just before training camp and our top pass protector in preseason.

          We’ll be better this year than last year. Your team? Not sure. Yeah, I guess. You guys can likely make 7-9 if you don’t tank games. A few lucky breaks and maybe even 8-8.

          • PF4L

            KILLER

            February 21, 2019 at 5:56 pm

            Hey, I associate closely with my team, but my team never wins anything. So i like to come in here and talk about your team. That, and i’m extremely lonely.

          • KILLER

            I agree with what Ferris (Fairy-Is) says about PF4L (Piffle). Yeah, that post by Piffle of what he claims to be my post is just one more Piffle lie to join the great big pile of Piffle lies.

            I think Piffle lies even more than Trump! Who knew that was even possible?

  5. Howard

    Whitehead was suspended from his college team for abusing a coach(s?). My guess is Whitehead had some words, or more with trainers, or coaches in the locker room after the ejection, and it was determined he wasn’t worth it. Maybe MM just needed a scapegoat for the loss? I’m sure MM was getting desperate at this point in the season. Dorsey did pick up Whitehead after he was waived.

    After the 2017 season both Dix and Randall made comments about the team. The comments were similar. MM responded by, in part, praising Dix as a leader and claiming Randall needed to get his own house in order.

    I believe MM requested Randall be released or traded. MM wanted Dix on the team. Maybe contrary to what the scouts and GM wanted. I also believe the Packer Player personnel department saw what many saw in 2017 and 2018. Dix was avoiding contact when possible to reduce the risk of injury. Dix did not want an injury to get in the road of a contract with some big bonus money. The Packers were not going to pay Dix a bunch of bonus money so they wanted to get something for Dix. I think trading Dix was a good move. It was a sign the team was saying we are not going to pay big bucks for average effort anymore. Have the Redskins tagged Dix yet? Yesterday was the start date for issuing tags.

  6. “Whitehead was suspended from his college team for abusing a coach(s?)”

    Seriously Howard? I believe you cause you’re one of the tops here but I never knew this about him. This is why a couple weeks back in another thread I joked about the upcoming combine and said we should be picking guys who can do well on Jeopardy, or some other exhibit of brain power. To find smart players who are athletic (so they know where the start/finish line is in the 40, as an example).

    Also, that it would be great if a test could be developed for low impulse control because look at all the problems you get from players who suffer from it. Well, in the big red flag department we have,..getting suspended for abusing coaches.

    My gosh, this one (low impulse control) should be easy to look into. Think about: fathering a bunch of illegitimate kids in HS and college (okay, not a deal breaker but an indicator), being a me-first difficult teammate, off the field run ins with authorities, abusing coaches/other players, penalty history – especially the person foul and unsportsmanlike conduct variety, and then look at all the excuses and BS they put out about their own issues on Instagram/Twitter/social media. When the weighted criteria index goes beyond the – simply a young man with maturity issues and into the – potential dumpster fire not worth it type, you don’t bring them on the team.

    • Howard

      Mitch, I was serious. I would provide links, but they will go into moderation.

      Enter a search for Jermaine Whitehead scouting report. The first hit should be Jermaine’s NFL combine report. At least three times in weaknesses, bottom line, and sources tell us the suspension is mentioned. At least one scout thought Whitehead was undraftable even without the altercation. The scouts used the term “character problems” and the altercation as a lingering issue.

      I always lookup a player when the Packers sign. When I saw the red flag I looked up reports in local Auburn papers. There was varying reports, but the bottom line is some coaches appeared to want Whitehead suspended for the year. The university put the best spin on what occurred.

      • stiggy

        I concur. it merely takes an elementary understanding of the internet to google Jermaine white head undrafted. Frankly he would have been drafted had he not been cancerous to his team. I believe the coach incident wasn’t the first incident either and he had already been given another chance.

        As far as clinton dix is concerned… he was good…. in 2016. Then turned to absolute trash. There is a reason the Pack could only get a mid round pick… meanwhile teams were making 2nd round offers for a PAST HIS PRIME Earl Thomas in the midst of quite an injury streak.

        Thomas is going to get a big contract… Clinton dix is either going to get a decent contract from a poorly managed team (AZ or Tampa sound like good fits) or he is going to get a prove it deal from a mediocre/slightly above average squad.

        For all the splash plays Clinton dix made he takes so many terrible angles it nullifies it. The clinic Amari cooper put on against the Skins on national Tv this past season is a prime example. On Coopers second td he runs roughly 40 yards untouched for a score up the middle of the field on a short intermediate route…right through were you presume the safety should have been. The safety on the play… you may know him as HHCD… decided to go defend a sideline as he anticipated a wheel route from the RB… except….. the wheel route never came. As you watch Cooper run untouched to the end zone on national TV you see HHCD applying blanket coverage on the sideline… only problem is there wasnt an eligible receiver within 15 yards. Stat chasing…. at the expense of morale breaking game changer.

        Brought back memories of pretty much every third down defensive play for the last 2 seasons.

  7. Robster

    You’re making my research look downright shabby. I see the basis for a future post that does a little more examination of how many bad actors have managed to make their way onto the Packers’ roster in the past few years. Stay tuned.

    • PF4L

      Bad actors are the direct result of bad Producers and bad Directors. No real need to stay tuned. We’ve been watching it for years and years.

      Same old movie.

    • MJ

      That’s part of what makes this site cool. Many of the regular posters are quite savvy, which leads to interesting discussions. All the best, Rob.

  8. TyKo Steamboat

    Clinton-Dix was a poor player. Very skinny. Looks like a WR playing safety. A bag of bones. Anyone with eyes can see that.
    He was tossed because of his attitude & he never wanted to be in Green Bay to begin with (see his classic facial expression when we drafted him…)

    Losing Micah Hyde & Morgan Burnett really hurt, especially Hyde

  9. PF4L

    In other News: Amid questions about the alleged attack, Smollett said earlier this month that he was angry and “pissed off” about “attacks” he’s received from people that didn’t believe or didn’t care, about his allegations.

    “At first it was a thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth, then that’s it — cause it’s the truth,” he said. “Then it became a thing of like, oh, how can you doubt that? Like how do you not believe that? It’s the truth.” – Jussie Smollett

    Coming soon…..”How to derail your career in 2 snowflake minutes.”

    • Problem for him was that, if you’re gonna create a hoax – at least make it a somewhat believable hoax. As soon as this thing came out I told my wife and daughter that my BS detector was pegging in the red zone. He comes up with a story that was about one scintilla below a UFO/alien abduction tale. The suspects he described and the time and location of the said event meant they were of the unicorn variety. But, critical thinkers be damned, we had to listen to the first week or two of all the supporters and mouthpieces who just so wanted this to be true because well, you know.

      I expect actors and entertainers to jump on the bandwagon of another because, they operate their lives almost entirely on emotion. A whole lot of other professional people and political people got deservedly jobbed by this because they couldn’t control their own biases and engage their brains, yet again.

      Kudos to the Chicago PD for their skilled work and their commissioner who laid out a very good presser on this and put a bunch of fools in their place.

      So anyway, back to the Packers. I sure would hope that the scouts who thought, let’s take a flyer on Jermaine Whitehead despite the red flags and character issues, are no longer in the organization. That was not due diligence.

  10. MJ

    With respect to Jermaine White and guys with potential but character issues, that’s a wager teams choose to make, trusting their team culture and the containment will be enough to keep those in line and out of trouble. Low risk (UDFA) for a potentially good reward.
    It is a violent sport, so not surprisingly, some of the players are bound to have issues of the dumb kind (slapping a rival), the moderate kind (yelling to a coach) or the severe kind (any run-in with the law, from DUIs all the way up to domestic violence).

    • Stiggy

      Johnny jolly was the most underrated packer pickup. God I miss that guys enthusiasm and big plays

      Hes an example of a high risk player paying dividends.

      We need the next Johnny holly. Even my friend who gives 2 shits about football noticed his impact on the game.

Leave a Reply