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The Offseason is for Experimentation: Give Micah Hyde Time at Safety

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The Offseason is for Experimentation: Give Micah Hyde Time at Safety

Referenced briefly in our earlier "Best Batle at Every Position" post here at Cheesehead TV, it's terrific that the Packers addressed safety by selecting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round of the NFL Draft. It was a position in need of an obvious upgrade.

But what if Clinton-Dix gets hurt? Or Morgan Burnett gets hurt?

The Packers could be back to Square 1 in the matter of an instant at a safety position that is still in need of depth.

Outside of Clinton-Dix, the only other safeties the Packers added this offseason were undrafted rookie free agents Tanner Miller of Iowa and Charles Clay of Hawaii. Consider them worthwhile projects but not the answer at the safety position.

In retrospect, it's hard to believe the Packers didn't make more of an attempt to add more talent at safety, either through free agency or the draft, learning a lesson from last year.

They didn't need to spend top dollar on a starting-caliber player, but when the NFL Draft was over and Craig Loston, Kenny Ladler and Nickoe Whitley were all still available as free agents, the Packers should have opened the pocketbook to attract a player with some potential by offering a nice signing bonus.

Beyond the two starters in Green Bay, the top backups are Sean Richardson and Chris Banjo. Both players have something to offer, but neither has yet proven to be a reliable three-down safety in the NFL. That could change in the matter of months but that is also no guarantee.

Based on comments from head coach Mike McCarthy this offseason, the Packers have been open to the idea of playing Micah Hyde at safety but have been hesitant to dive head first into such an experiment. Their hesitancy probably has to do with Hyde being an effective slot cornerback that's arguably his best position on the field.

The Packers, however, need to find a capable backup safety posthaste.

With Organized Team Activities (OTAs) due to start this upcoming week, it's time to teach Hyde the ins and outs of the safety position.

No rash decisions need to be made about Hyde's future, but the Packers should take advantage of the next month to find out if Hyde can handle safety. And that doesn't mean they have to stop developing him as a slot defender.

Worst-case scenario, it's a failed experiment and the coaches move Hyde back to his comfort zone at cornerback when training camp begins.

But there's an opportunity beginning next week the Packers shouldn't squander.

The need at safety is still acute. And Hyde could be the answer.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (60) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

If you want to know a little about GB's player evaluations, follow the money and the acquisitions. For example, it would be reasonable to assume that the Packers think more highly of what Hyde, Richardson, and or Banjo have to offer than what Loston, Ladler, or Whitley can offer, including the $ it would take to bring them in.
Do they sometimes make mistakes? Of course. Every team does.
But to wait until AFTER Burnett, C-D, et al get injured or disappoint and THEN say, "they shoulda added more prospects at safety" is worth no more than a warm bucket of hamster vomit.
Just my .02.

MarkinMadison's picture

"But to wait until AFTER Burnett, C-D, et al get injured or disappoint and THEN say, 'they shoulda added more prospects at safety' is worth no more than a warm bucket of hamster vomit."

I agree with the sentiment, but your timing is off. Brian just called them on it, and B is still healthy and C-D has not disappointed. I've been feeling the same way.

If Hyde is not option #3 at corner then I'm not sure where this bus is going. You can't play Hyde and Hayward in the slot at the same time, both need to be on the field as much as possible, and of the two Hyde is the better build for safety. Safeties get hurt all the time. If Hyde is not the answer at safety, then they should have signed someone else, because I don't believe in the other options.

Stroh's picture

Hyde will probably be used almost exactly the way they planned to use Woodson when they moved him. Except he won't but as high up the depth chart. Hyde and Hayward CAN play at the same time when they go dime. Then you go w/ Shields, Tramon, Hayward (nickel) and Hyde (Dime). Woodson was slated to be the starting Safety who would move to Nickel CB in passing situations. Hyde will probably be a backup Safety (who should be in competition for a starting job) and the Dime CB (which is basically the backup Nickel CB).

Unless Hyde gets a starting job, which is 50/50 or less IMO, he won't be an everydown player, but he'll still get plenty of playing time. I think they can get him on the field between 40-60% of the downs. They might even get him in some at ILB when there is no doubt about it being a pass (3rd and very long).

The TKstinator's picture

"Because I don't believe in the other options".
You may be right. Time will tell. But I think the Packers didn't bring in other options (Ladler, etc) because of how they view the players (Richardson, Hyde) already in house.

So, for safety to suck again, Burnett, CD, Hyde AND Richardson would all have to be injured or underperform. And yes, that is possible. Likely? Who knows? This is where I defer to coaches and management.

Brutus10's picture

You couldn't be anymore wrong. Do you even know what hindsight is?
BC is bringing the whole safety fiasco to the forefront months before game 1. A repeat of the safety fiasco 2013 in the new season will lead to another mediocre season. (8-7-1 is mediocre)

Stroh's picture

Hey dumbass... If Rodgers didn't get injured and miss almost 8 full games, the Packers were an 11 win team, even w/ the Safety fiasco. Its not going to worse if Rodgers is healthy!

4thand1's picture

Stroh its rloser with a new handle...........brutass. He's the same troll scum from before.

The TKstinator's picture

Isn't hindsight what you get in a changing room that has the two mirrors?

HankScorpio's picture

Being a Slot Defender and Safety are not mutually exclusive. I've seen several coaches hint around that they are very similar. Woodson did both his final year in GB.

I expect Hyde will still be moved. I'm not sure I've seen any reluctance at all on their part to make that switch. He can still be used in extra DB situations. It would ratchet up the competition in the Safety room.

The CB room has plenty of competition with or without Hyde in it.

Stroh's picture

Exactly how I feel... Hyde should be used exactly how they planned to use Woodson, except he won't be as high up the depth chart at either Safety or CB. Instead of being the starting Safety and Nickel CB, he'll be a backup Safety and Backup Nickel (in other words Dime) CB.

Packers aren't going to come out and announce their plans to the public. That would be foolish and serve no purpose but to put an end to the fans discussion of Hyde use/role in the D. Anyone with reasonable deductive reasoning would conclude that Hyde will be a Safety/CB. The 2 are not mutually exclusive, especially for a player of Woodson caliber and Hyde's skill set.

HankScorpio's picture

I'm not so sure Clinton-Dix will be ahead of Hyde on the depth chart. If the legendary difficulty of Capers' system and past history (Troy Polamulu) is any guide, Hyde will start while Clinton-Dix gets his feet wet in the system.

Whether they use Clinton-Dix as the dime or move Hyde down is a different question.

But the point is, as long as they move forward with plans to move Hyde to Safety, the competition will decide things, not some "default" status granted to Clinton-Dix due to being a 1st round pick. If that happens, I'm ok with however it shakes out. If they leave Hyde with the CBs, the overall competition among DBs will suffer, IMO.

ZeroTolerance's picture

You can never have too many CBs.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Especially with Megatron and the Bears Wr's in the division.

I feel pretty good about the Packers likely secondary...

Williams and Shields at CB
Hayward at Slot CB
Hyde at Dime CB and backup Safety
Burnett and Clinton Dix at Safety
the hopeful emergence of one off Richardson, Banjo as a backup Safety
House as backup CB
Demetri Goodson on the PS

That's a pretty solid group.

Nick Perry's picture

I was just watching the Packers/Bears game from last year in Chicago. The play that ticks me off everytime I see it is a 67 yard pass play from Cutler to Jeffrey with the Packers ahead 20-14 in the 3rd quarter. Shields is clearly expecting help from Burnett and turns Jeffrey loose but Burnett is nowhere near the play. It was actually a TD but the Refs put the ball at the one after Shields caught him from behind.

My point is I hope the Packers put the best 2 Safeties on the field this year and contracts have NOTHING to do with it. If Hyde and Clinton -Dix are the Packers 2 best Safeties week one, that's who I hope we see. I've always saw Burnett as a player who does more finger pointing at teammates as if to say"It's your fault not mine" than any player on the Packers. I hope Burnett worked his ass off the offseason because I'm sure Hyde did. I mean this guy was said to be a "Ballhawk", yet in his last 2 seasons he's had 2 INT. They both came against Christian Ponder in the same game. Not much to show for a ballhawk.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I too have watched it several times, it was a TD and it should have never happened.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"My point is I hope the Packers put the best 2 Safeties on the field this year and contracts have NOTHING to do with it."

No way in hell that happens. I've been hoping and wishing. If that were the case though; Hawk would be a 2-down backer. Jones probably wouldn't be MLB. MD Jennings would've BEEN out of the league. Dom would have BEEN played around with Tramon in the Nickel slot.

With Burnett,I'm thinking this past season was a fluke. I think HE FELT HE HAD to do so much or force things because he was pretty much in this back by himself. I'm sure he had little-to-zero trust in MD Jennings.

Nick Perry's picture

Believe me, I thought of Hawk as I was typing that. I also thought of the 2011 season. In week one the gave up 419 yards passing and 432 the next week to a rookie QB named Cam Newton. The Safeties? Nick Collins and Morgan Burnett. Collins and Peparah had combined to help win a SB just 7 months before. Funny as soon as Burnett is put in the lineup, they set the record for most passing yards allowed in NFL history in 2011. MD Jennings was horrible, but Burnett at no point has been a picnic either. I hope you're right for the Packers sake, or at least Burnett's.

Stroh's picture

Couldn't agree more... I think Burnett was trying to do to much and trying to cover more than just his responsibility to make up for Jennings/McMillan's deficiencies.

Jordan's picture

Shields is the 5th highest paid corner in the entire NFL. Hopefully he won't need a lot of safety help.

DrealynWilliams's picture

If he can hone his discipline/awareness and stop the half-ass'n at times he should never need safety help with that speed and athleticism.

MarkinMadison's picture

I think there are times when every corner needs safety help. I'd have to go back and watch the play again, but I would guess that more than half the time that a CB needs help they are "passing off" a player because they think there is someone else they need to cover on the short or intermediate routes.

DrealynWilliams's picture

depends on the coverage...

Stroh's picture

Its not that he needed the help to cover it deep, but it was the design of the defensive play call. It was completely obvious that Shields expected deep help and the Safety wasn't there for him. That's not a reflection on Shields ability, it was just the play that was called and the type of coverage it required Shields to play.

Packers most used coverage is 2 man, which is man coverage almost all over the field and a 2 deep Safety look. That's not a reflection of Shields ability or inability as a CB or in man coverage.

lebowski's picture

I did not realize that Craig Loston and Kenny Ladler were undrafted. We may have tried to get them in only to see them sign somewhere else, but if not that's pretty foolish. Don't even want to think what will happen if Burnett or Clinton Dix get hurt.

4thand1's picture

How can any team expect to compensate for injuries all over the Field? "IF" someone gets hurt isn't the problem. Its when someone gets hurt. You do your best to fill the holes. Are you supposed to draft a player to step in at every position? You can only have 53 on a rooster.

Brutus10's picture

Actually, all teams have players that step in when another gets hurt. It's called 'depth'. --- GB has almost no depth at many positions, especially safety - even with Ha-Ha.

4thand1's picture

Troll away brutass, you still suck. Why did you change your name?

Nick Perry's picture

20 players on IR last year. At times last year the Packers were without Finley, James Jones, Matthews, Rodgers, Cobb, Brad Jones, Hayward, Perry, and Bulaga, ALL IN THE SAME GAME. I'm sure I'm missing a few but I'm sure you get the point. NO team can withstand injuries to players such as those and win, not a consistent basis.

Brutus10's picture

Ready made excuses in homerland. You don't even know the injury difficulties of any team other than the Pack. But yet you decide the Pack has the most difficult path because of injuries.

Try some research.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"You don't even know the injury difficulties of any team other than the Pack."

I'm pretty sure that no contender has had as many key injuries as the Pack.

The 49ers are pretty much always clean (as far as key players).

The Seahawks may have had 1 playmaker gone for a while.

Broncos Offense was pretty much clean throughout the season. I'll give you Von Miller and Champ,but damn -- they averaged 40 pts it seems like.

Who am I missing? Pats? Saints? Panthers? Chiefs? There's no team (damn sure no contender) that is constantly missing more playmakers or key contributors more than the Pack each season it seems.

Brutus10's picture

"I'm pretty sure that no contender has had as many key injuries as the Pack. "

You can't just say something & then magically it's the truth. Packer fans have used the injury excuse now for the last 3 seasons. As a Packer fan, I'm embarrassed that so many homers are constantly crying & whimpering about injuries all the time.

The only 'real' injury that should have an impact for GB is AR. --- All the rest (even CM3) are on the same level as most teams.

Same to you ---- Do some research.

DrealynWilliams's picture

See,unlike most on here I don't mind playing this type of game with you. So come on with your "research". Post yours.

"All the rest (even CM3) are on the same level as most teams."
So,CM3 isn't one of the top 5 pass rushers in the NFL??? SMH.

Out of all the teams I mentioned previously - run down their injury list(s) or run down any team you want. Hell,we can even run down the last 2-3 SB winning teams.

Ready???

** Oh yea. How is it "crying" and "whimpering" about injuries when we (actual fans) are just talking facts!? No one has said "if the Pack were healthy we would have won it all!" No one is saying ANYTHING like that. We (actual fans) KNOW that if the Pack are healthy there's no team in the NFL they can't hang with.I know this last paragraph is tempting to give your all,but don't forget about your "research". Go...

Brutus10's picture

"I'm pretty sure that no contender has had as many key injuries as the Pack. "

That's your statement. ----Not mine.
Why would I have to provide research for something you posted?

CM3 ?? I like CM3 as long as he can stay on the field. However, he was just ranked the 77th best player in the NFL by his peers. Somehow I'm thinking there will be more than 5 pass rushers ranked ahead of him when that list is complete. --- You're making him out to be more than his bottom-line.

DrealynWilliams's picture

So you can challenge my statement but no one can challenge yours? GTFOH!!!

My statement(s) can be backed up with proof. If you want to challenge it then you do some research and you bring it back to CHTV. How 'bout that?!

Clay was ranked 77th best player in the NFL -- and? Who gives a flyin' phuck!? I'm sure he doesn't. Hey,go ask Clay if he cares about getting robbed of DPOY when he won a SB.

How many times has the Chiefs,Broncos,Chargers,Cowboys or any other team had double digit pro-bowlers and didn't do sh*t in the post-season?

Wanna keep going?

Brutus10's picture

I value my time & posts. You're just posting in all different directions & making very little sense.

Ever hear of the "strawman argument"? ---- Look it up. --- Adios.

4thand1's picture

Take a hike rloser(brutass). The gig is up. You've been dormant for a while. You suck.

Icebowler's picture

The Packers were relatively injury free in 2011, so it wasn't "the last three seasons". However, they have been in the top ten in four of the past five years (including 2010 when they won the SB), according to the Dallas sportswriter who is widely considered to be the premiere researcher in this area. It's interesting to note that the Bears have been one of the least injured during the past five years. It's time for the law of average to kick in.

Stroh's picture

No he doesn't get the point... He doesn't WANT to get the point! He's an F'in TROLL.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I see.

Ha! He said he values his time. Ha!!!

COW's picture

CM3 a top 5 pass rusher?

Um... no.

He's a nice player.
Glad the pack has him.

But if he's the best player on your defense then your defense just isn't that good.

He's nowhere near a top 5 pass rusher.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"He's nowhere near a top 5 pass rusher."

Clay was number 4 in sacks in 2010 and 5 in 2012 so your statement is false.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Smh,they just won't concede defeat...

COW's picture

"Clay was number 4 in sacks in 2010 and 5 in 2012 so your statement is false."

Key word there is WAS.

I'm talking about RIGHT NOW... PRESENT TIME.

Injuries have taking a toll on Matthews. He's nowhere near the player he was even 2 seasons ago.

There's much less suddenness to his game now.

So - my statement is not false... your opinion of Matthews' pass rush ability is just outdated.

Quinn (StL)
Hardy (Car)
Williams (Hou)
Jordan (NO)
Allen (Chi)
Jones (NE)
Hali (KC)
Houston (KC)
Johnson (Car)
Tuck (NYG)
Watt (Hou)
Orakpo (Was)
Suggs (Balt)
Dumervill (Balt)
Smith (SF)
Miller (Den)

Are all better pure pass rushers than Clay is now.

4thand1's picture

You still suck. You're not in the same category as rloser, but close.

Clay Zombo's picture

I thought it was a foregone conclusion that Hyde would move to safety this year. I just figured that's why they didn't add anymore then Miller at safety after selecting DIx.

I agree with HankScorpio though, if they move Hyde to safety it doesn't mean they can't use him at CB until hes needed at safety.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Then the coaches better have confidence in Richardson. I'd be ok with a Burnett/Clinton-Dix/Hyde/Richardson Safety group.

If Richardson can't do anything but be a physical presence that would be enough. We've been missing that for how long now???

aManOfTheNorth's picture

"the Packers should have opened the pocketbook to attract a player with some potential by..."

I don't think I've read a poorer sentence by BC than this.

"should have" ? Where is Brian? In January 2015?. Has he somehow gone into the future and able to write back with all knowing consequences of TT's actions?

And open the wallet to some safety "with some potential?"...as if Richardson and Hyde or even Banjo for that matter have no potential?

This type of journalism doesn't look good on CHTV and the whole safety thing has turned into a repetitive bore.

MarkinMadison's picture

"This type of journalism doesn't look good on CHTV and the whole safety thing has turned into a repetitive bore."

Well, it's an opinion article. And as the first comment put it, calling this out after the fact is hamster vomit. Brian had the guts to look at the facts, develop an opinion and put it out there. And that's exactly what this is, an opinion piece, not a reporting piece. As for the whole repetitive thing, well, it's the off-season. Check back in 2.5 months if this doesn't suit you.

Stroh's picture

It didn't seem to me to be presented as an opinion article to me either. It was stated far more as fact than opinion.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

We might never know whether GB contacted the agents for the 3 safeties mentioned by the author, and if they did, how much GB offered. I couldn't find the amount of the signing bonuses for those 3. Ladler signed with Buffalo (which had only 3 safeties) and is thought by Bleacher Report to have a legitimate shot to make the team. Ladler might have believed he had a better shot making the final 53 in Buffalo than in GB. Loston signed with Jacksonville. I saw safety as one of their needs, but it was not listed as a high priority. I know Jacksonville has Cyprien and Josh Evans, but I am not sure what their depth looks like. Loston seems to be pegged as a strong safety only. Whitley got a try out invitation from Cleveland and was signed. But Whitley had a torn ACL in 2013, a ruptured Achilles heal in 2011, and tore his MCL and ACL in high school. Whiteley might have been a medical reject.

Yes, I would have liked to have seen another "name" safety brought in, but I have to assume that GB tried to do so, OR did not see anyone better than Banjo, Richardson and maybe Hyde. Each team is allowed to spend up to $80,362 to sign UDFAs. GB spent $50,500 on the first 14. I assume if TT liked one of these name safeties, he would have spent a measly amount it would have taken. Most UDFAs get 4 figures, with only a hand full getting 10K or more.

Stroh's picture

Ladler and Loston went undrafted cuz they weren't that good. I never liked either one of them and didn't find either worth drafting. I would say that Richardson has FAR more potential than either of them! So why bother wasting a draft pick on a player that, at best, will be the #5 Safety, when you can use the pick at a position where the player probably will make the team. Ladler and Loston were not that good, but a lot of the fans on this site were so desperate to see the Packers draft Safeties that they made those players out to be something they weren't.

I would much rather have a Safety group of Clinton-Dix, Burnett, Hyde and Richardson, than on w/ C-D, Burnett, Hyde and Ladler or Loston.

4thand1's picture

The safety seems safe. Now its ILB on most peoples radar. There is always going to be a certain group of people unhappy. Its Ted's fault, its MM's fault, its Capers fault, whah , whah, whah. Who gets the credit for making the playoffs every year?
Stay thirsty my friends.

Brutus10's picture

The blog's about the safety position, not ILB.

Another troll post from 4thandnone.

4thand1's picture

F-off rloser

BubbaOne's picture

It's easy to play amateur GM (as I like to do) but us fans need to take chill pills and spend more time watching than pontificating.

During the draft, some fans (me included) wanted TT to take Dennard instead of Dix. Then T-Silv posts on the JS Live Blog TT may not have wanted Dennard b/c he had a double hernia surgery. I felt Jimmie Ward was a better safety than Dix and now I read Ward has a fractured foot and won't be available til TC.

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Jimmie-Ward-probably-out-until-train...

Just think of fans outrage..."TT bringing in players who are damaged goods. We already have enough walking wounded coming off IR. Why risk a 1st round pick on blah, bub blah, bub blah..."

How many fans questioned the Daniels pick..."He's an undersized 4-3 DE" and re Hyde..."Too slow, TT must have picked him for ST".

Here's an appropriate quote Tommy Lasorda said to me as I was heckling him while he was sitting on the edge of the dugout at Wrigley Field as rookie phenom Fernando Valenzuela was getting hammered by the Cubs on Saturday Game of the Week...

"Shut up and watch the game!"

DrealynWilliams's picture

I think this is aimed more towards the trolls.

BubbaOne's picture

Yes, and...all too often fans (me included) get high and mighty like we know something...basically we know squadouche! We don't know the medical, criminal, or character history or the football IQ, coachability, scheme match and drive of the player. It was reported one year Bill Belechick liked 7, yes 7 total players in the draft.

I was excited where we drafted Davon House and then I find out his stock dropped including some teams taking him off their boards b/c his big toes are so curled they sort of overlap the second toe. Teams thought this was too big an issue for a position where feet are critical.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Well,I can't speak on the high and mighty part,but I'm safe to say that us fans all just want to be the fan that says "I told you he was going to be good".

Isn't Bill Belechick the coach that has no collegiate football background but is considered one of the best to ever do it? Is that him? Or am I thinking about another coach?

Icebowler's picture

I sure hope they develop Hyde to be able to backup at Strong Safety. I think it will be the primary key to our defensive backfield versatility this year.

4thand1's picture

The plan, according to MM is to get Hyde on the field as much as possible.

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