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Woodson at Safety, Bush at Corner on First Day of Training Camp

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Woodson at Safety, Bush at Corner on First Day of Training Camp

GREEN BAY––The Green Bay Packers' secondary was the center of attention on the first day of training camp practice in 2012.

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.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Zach Kruse's picture

Good work here Brian. I still wonder how long Bush will hold on to that spot...there's a lot of natural talent ready to nip at his heels.

I bleed green more's picture

My God please not Bush.

PackersRS's picture

If Bush is the starter expect a lot of zone coverage, specially cover 2. He's acutally better at it than Shields.

But he cannot cover man. He is the worst player I've ever seen at tracking the ball in the air.

CSS's picture

Fully agree. People underrate Bush's ability and growth over the last few years when he keeps the play in front of him. Place him in a short area zone and he can anticipate, break and make plays. Bush really is an above average corner in this respect and getting far too much grief.

At this point in his career, it's a coaching failure if they have him in a position to turn and run without help over the top.

Sizzle's picture

Keeping the play in front of him? Did you not see the Giants hailmary? Bush should not line up with the starters ever.

packeraaron's picture

Um, Sizzle? Shields played that hailmary just as poorly as Bush did...

CSS's picture

What does a hail-mary and 'short area zone' (which I stated) have in common? That's why I said letting him turn and run (hail mary) is a coaching mistake when you have seven years to know a players weakness.

Fish/Crane's picture

Lenny McGill- always in the area...but ..."dang it"

Fish/Crane's picture

Worst may be a bit strong...but agree. Just does not seem to track the ball...maybe reps will help, or a visual - time/space kinematics therapy program.

PackersRS's picture

May be strong, but I honestly can't think of someone worse than him in that regard.

I don't think I've ever seen him win in that situation. I know I've seen him lose plenty of times in different games and different seasons...

PackersRS's picture
Evan's picture

For a minute I thought that was Al Harris behind Woodson.

dat der Packer backer's picture

Funny. :)

Cole's picture

I'm fine with shields sitting until he mans up, but we all know bush is goin to get smoked--likely with his head not turned--so why not at least give heyward or house first crack. I love bush's attitude and work ethic but one good play in the SB doesn't warrant this development.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Agree with everything you said.

packsmack25's picture

I'm assuming this is to prevent complacency on the part of Shields and the rooks. Shields played better as a rookie when nothing was guaranteed to him.

I bleed green more's picture

This is the big wake up call rookies see how there are no guarantees in playing in the NFL.

PadLevel's picture

Its going to be a long season if Jarrett Bush is defending the likes of Megatron, and Brandon Marshall. His fatal flaw is his inabaility to locate the ball when his back is towards the QB. He just cannot read the ball placement using his instincts

Jamie's picture

Ever heard of Tramon Williams? A healthy TW mixed with Woodson will hold their own against the opposing #1.

Charlie m's picture

Sure, when the Bears and Lions are stupid enough to not do everything they can to get one of those guys matched up on Bush.

packeraaron's picture

Charlie m. Brilliant handle.

packeraaron's picture

"Its going to be a long season if Jarrett Bush is defending the likes of Megatron, and Brandon Marshall" - good thing that's Tramon Williams' job. ;)

Charlie M's picture

I'm hoping Bush being with the 1's a wakeup call as well to the young guys(Heyward, House, and especially Shields) but I'm not so sure it is. Bush played a lot of snaps in the playoff game last year.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I've learned not to get too worked up about any personnel head-scratchers this time of year. While I give Bush credit for improving his CB game, I still really don't want to see him on any unit but ST's. And like Smack said, you can only get so much mileage out of that SB pick.

GBP 4 LIFE

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Sorry, it was Cole that said that, not Smacky McSmackerson.

lebowski's picture

Derrick Sherrod was your starting left guard when camp opened last year.

Sizzle's picture

While it is only the first TC practice Bush should not line up with the starters ever. He is nothing more than a special teamer and occasional blitzing DB. This move is a head scratcher, but I have to believe one or more of the young guys will pass him in about a week once they get their feet wet.

Lucky953's picture

This defense WILL be better. Coach McCarthy knows the window for Super Bowl championships is now open for this team. I agree that we shouldn't get too worked up about Bush right now. Letting go of Peprah just shows me they're not gonna f*** around with mediocrity. I was watching the last 2011 preseason game against KC and they ran a fake punt. Peprah read the play, hit the guy, and bounced off. First down KC. I thought, "Damn! That's a preview of the Hakeem Nicks bust!" Mediocrity will not be tolerated. With the offensive talent they have, it will be a colossal waste not to win at least one more championship. Just like bringing in 5 new d-line guys after Mike Neal turned out to be a bust. If you can't do the job you won't be playing and you won't be on this team.

toolkien's picture

Then the offense had better learn to take care of the ball in single elimination tournaments.

As I recall, in 2010, the offense was fair to good and the defense was great. In 2011, it was the offense's turn to get theirs but they turned the ball over four times. The Packers could have won it all last year with an off the chart offense and a mediocre defense, but not if the offense decides to give away the ball four times.

Of course anyone would like very good to great at the same time, but it's funny how soon people forget that 2010 had more to do with the defense than the offense.

Tommyboy's picture

Unlike a lot of people, I'm a Bush fan (...perhaps I could word that differently). I love his game on special teams, I believe he is as classy as they come, and it sounds like he works as hard as anyone else. That said, even if they're just trying to send a message to Shields, PLEASE don't put Bush there. He's NOT a CORNER!!!

Idiot Fan's picture

Come on shields, get your crap together so we can fill in the other side of your neck with some artwork.

woodson4president's picture

Nobody going to mention the awesome part of this article???? Chuck at safety! Im so fn pumped!

Mojo's picture

The consensus here seems most like Bush in certain roles on the team, but not as the starting DB. He struggles with his back to the ball. Totally agree with all that, but as I believe Lebowski mentioned they experimented with Sherrod last year too. Unless there is an injury, I don't see him as the starter to begin the season.

Can you do me a Favre?'s picture

What do Tramon, Davon, and Jarret all have in common besides being Db's for the packers?

They all played in the WAC... Just an interesting factoid I probably only know because I went to a wac U.

Now.. back to tearing into Bush...At least he can lay a hit on someone. If he can prove worthy let him start who gives a dam.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Sure. What do you need?

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