After working exclusively as a slot cornerback during the Packers’ minicamp back in June, veteran defensive back Charles Woodson lined up at safety in the team’s base 3-4 defense for the first time this year.
Despite Charlie Peprah’s surprising release on Wednesday, however, Woodson does not appear to be moving to safety in a full-time capacity.
Woodson continued to line up as the slot cornerback in the Packers’ nickel defensive package just as he’s done for the past several seasons.
When the Packers were in nickel, M.D. Jennings worked with the first-string defense in much the same fashion as he did during the Packers’ offseason program when Peprah was held out due to injury.
The other big news was that Jarrett Bush worked as a starter at cornerback opposite Tramon Williams. Bush was signed to a three-year contract as a free agent during the offseason.
Inserting Bush into the starting lineup was notable after seeing Sam Shields get the lion’s share of playing time with the first-string last season when the Packers were in their nickel package.
The Packers made the move to make Bush a starter for the last game of last season in the playoff loss to the Giants when Bush, more or less, shared time with Shields. In that game, Bush played primarily on early downs while Shields played on late downs in passing situations.
Making Bush a starter looks to be a response to Shields’ lack of aggressiveness in his tackling last season in which he displayed an unwillingness to sacrifice his body in front of opposing ball carriers.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said several times at press conferences during the offseason how the Packers’ tackling as a team last season was an issue and a focus of improvement for 2012.
During a seven-on-seven passing period, Bush nicely undercut a throw intended for wide receiver James Jones that resulted in a pass broken up. But Bush’s aggressiveness also worked against him in a team period when in the face of Jones, Aaron Rodgers hit a leaping Jones down the sideline on a back-shoulder pass with Bush’s back turned.
Whether there’s a time-share planned for Bush and Shields like the Packers used last season in the playoffs isn’t apparent. The two did not split snaps with the first-team on Thursday.