Best & Worst Case Scenarios For The Cornerbacks

Al Harris recovers from injury to regain his Pro Bowl form in our best-case scenario, Brandon Underwood's off-the-field troubles cause the Packers to cut him in our worst. Read on to find out what else could be in store for the cornerbacks this season.

Welcome to the fourth annual best and worst case scenarios for every player on the Green Bay Packers roster.

I attempt to take a look at what is the very best possible season a player is capable of producing, and on the other hand, what would happen if a player fell flat on his face (without assuming they suffer a season-ending injury). These are intended to be extreme scenarios on both sides of the spectrum. More than likely, each player is going to fall somewhere in the middle, but every now and then, they just so happen to come to fruition. Think Charles Woodson last year.

I also try to take a look at what these scenarios would be from an individual standpoint and not what’s best for the team. For example, parting ways with Justin Harrell may eventually be what’s in the best interest of the Packers. I’m more interested in looking at what’s in Justin Harrell’s best interests (or worst interests for that matter).

Yesterday we looked at the outside linebackers. Today we’re onto the cornerbacks…

Charles Woodson

  • Best-case scenario: After Woodson's 2009 exploits, it's going to be hard to surpass last season's production. With opposing offensive coaches and players aware of what Woodson is capable of, they're going to avoid the reigning Defensive Player of the Year at all costs. But he's also damn good. There's no reason to think he can't match last season's nine interceptions, 21 passes defensed and two sacks. One thing Woodson isn't likely to match is his three touchdowns. But he's still among the best cornerbacks in the game and is named a starter in the Pro Bowl for the NFC once again.
  • Worst-case scenario: Because teams avoid Woodson, his effectiveness isn't quite what it used to be. His interceptions are cut in half. Teams are ready for the blitzes from the slot. Woodson is still good. He just doesn't get the same credit he did a year ago when he isn't making all those game-changing plays. But he's still the best cornerback on the team and still might make the Pro Bowl based upon name recognition alone.

Al Harris

  • Best-case scenario: Harris is healthy and ready to start Week 1 of the regular season. But he's not only healthy, he's effective as well. It's not unlike when he came back from his spleen injury in 2008. He somehow plays even better after injury. Knowing Harris is coming off of injury and Woodson is on the other side, opposing quarterbacks test Harris. And Harris makes them pay. He has around five interceptions and is the same shutdown corner he always was. One more Pro Bowl berth, and he tables any talk that age has caught up to him.
  • Worst-case scenario: Whether it's injury or age, it doesn't matter. Harris has lost a step and shouldn't be a starter any more. It's a possibility he can't play at an NFL level anymore. There's every possibility Harris begins the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and even when he's eligible to come back, he's still not ready. When he does play, he's picked on by other teams, and Tramon Williams is clearly a better option. It's sad to see Harris' career perhaps end this way, but those darn knee injuries are hard to recover from, especially at his age.

Tramon Williams

  • Best-case scenario: In part because of Harris' injury, Tramon Williams becomes a starting cornerback of the Packers for years to come. The door was opened because of injury, and Williams doesn't do anything to make anyone think of taking him out of the starting lineup. He has his best season ever with more than five interceptions to go along with a career high in passes defensed. When teams try to avoid Charles Woodson, they don't find it any easier against Williams. He's rewarded with a long-term contract extension in the offseason.
  • Worst-case scenario: That "Admiral Armbar" nickname sticks with Williams. He plays okay and is probably the best option on the team for the nickel back role, but he gets beat deep a little too often and has a tendency to foul the receiver when he does get beat. If he doesn't watch out, a good performance or Pat Lee or Brandon Underwood could have Williams looking over his shoulder by 2011.

Pat Lee

  • Best-case scenario: With Al Harris coming off injury, Lee is able to win the nickel back role and finally live up to his second-round status. He's not starting material yet, but he could be in the future. With some experience under his belt, Lee seemingly improves every week. He contributes a couple interceptions and isn't targeted by opposing quarterbacks as the secondary's weak link. Continued improvement along with staying healthy has the coaching staff thinking Lee is a big part of the Packers' future plans.
  • Worst-case scenario: Injuries aren't a problem, but effectiveness is. Lee isn't able to get ahead of Brandon Underwood on the depth chart, and as a result, has no chance at the nickel or dime job. He makes the 53-man roster but rarely plays on defense. His role in 2010 is mainly to contribute on special teams. He'll be given one last chance in 2011, but patience will be wearing thin by then.

Brandon Underwood

  • Best-case scenario: Underwood is able to stave off Pat Lee from any competition for the nickel back job. Because of the importance of the nickel in sub-packages, Underwood sees a lot of playing time and plays pretty well. He adds a couple interceptions and will probably hold that job until either Charles Woodson or Al Harris retires. Maybe even more important, he seems to put his offseason incident in the Wisconsin Dells behind him by staying out of trouble and focusing on the football field.
  • Worst-case scenario: Underwood allows his off-field incidents affect his on-field play. He gets into a funk, has a poor attitude and gets into the coach's doghouse. Because he's offering little production, the Packers decide keeping Underwood around just isn't worth it. They part ways with the bad-news cornerback and hedge their bet with Pat Lee instead.

Jarrett Bush

  • Best-case scenario: Bush plays a prominent role on special teams and excels at it. He puts the mental errors and penalties behind him and is actually on the team's better performers on special teams, maybe the best. He provides depth at cornerback, plays only occasionally when an injury occurs but doesn't do anything negative in limited playing time. He finds his niche as long as he continues solid play on "teams."
  • Worst-case scenario: Bush isn't any better at special teams than most other players on the roster, and he's definitely worse on defense. He gets burned in coverage during the preseason, which doesn't help his case. And all it takes is one penalty on special teams for fans to start calling for his head. The Packers now have better depth at cornerback than previous seasons and don't need to keep him. Bush found interest in the free agent market in the past, so maybe it's in his own best interests to move on.

Josh Bell

  • Best-case scenario: If Al Harris happens to remain injured, and the Packers decide to part ways with Jarrett Bush, there's a chance that Bell could make the 53-man roster. He doesn't figure to play very often, even on special teams, and is frequently inactive on game days. But when he does get a chance, he doesn't disappoint. An interception or two during the preseason help make the case toward keeping him around.
  • Worst-case scenario: Bell's play during training camp and the exhibition season is reminiscent of the play he got beat against the Steelers last season. He's seemingly in good position to make a play, but it always seems like the receiver comes down with the ball. When he can't offer any value on special teams, Bell faces long odds to make the team. He's cut when the Packers trim down to 53 players in September.

Sam Shields

  • Best-case scenario: Because Shields has something to offer in the return game as well as special teams coverage units, he is able to find his way onto the 53-man roster. Shields is able to supplant Will Blackmon as the return specialist on both kick and punt returns and has at least one touchdown this season on either one or the other. He provides depth on defense, but needs more work at the position in order to be relied upon at cornerback.
  • Worst-case scenario: Shields is behind the eight ball when he isn't able to win the return job in training camp and probably isn't any better on special teams coverage squads. He's beyond raw as far as technique goes at cornerback, so he's let go when there's better options to develop on the practice squad.

D.J. Clark

  • Best-case scenario: Thanks to a exhibition season that features at least one interception as well as several head-turning plays during training camp, Clark is able to make the practice squad once again. He's not yet ready to make the jump up to the 53-man roster, but he could by mid-season if there happens to be enough injuries ahead of him.
  • Worst-case scenario: The Packers have to make room for Atari Bigby on the roster now that he's signed his tender. Clark is the guy that gets the axe.

Come back tomorrow as we preview the safeties.

0 points

Comments (13)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PackersRS's picture

July 28, 2010 at 02:53 pm

Bush best case scenario is he's cut mid-season. His worst case scenario is that he's cut now.

We all know that every Packer fan is hoping for the worst case scenario with him. Nothing against him, but I hate his guts.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

July 28, 2010 at 06:19 pm

I'm Jarret Bush's mom, Mrs. Bush, and I don't appreciate how you're talking about my baby boy. He's a good boy!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CSS's picture

July 28, 2010 at 02:57 pm

I think you may be a bit too generous with Sam Sheilds. Every report/tweet/blog/chat reporting from OTA's indicated he couldn't catch a punt or kick. I can't imagine he's going to improve once he has gunners on the coverage unit breathing down his neck. I know some folks fell in love with his reported 40 yd dash, but his best-case is practice squad, IMHO.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PackerAaron's picture

July 28, 2010 at 03:07 pm

Co-sign.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
FITZCORE1252's picture

July 29, 2010 at 08:49 am

Cosine. Adjacent over hypotenuse. Cosine.

BLIT

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
AverageJoe's picture

July 28, 2010 at 03:12 pm

Admiral Armbar is still one of the best nicknames I've seen. I hope it's not apt.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tommyboy's picture

July 28, 2010 at 04:30 pm

I think one thing that's often overlooked when discussing the Green Bay secondary is this - few corners play well right off the bat. Al Harris was waived by Tampa Bay as a rookie. Tramon Williams was waived by the Texans. Atari Bigby spent a year on the practice squad. Charles Woodson signed with Pack because essentially no one else wanted him...I'm certainly not saying that Underwood, Lee, or D.J. Clark are slam dunks from having breakout seasons, but maybe the Pack staff see some good things on the rise...just a thought...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DAWG's picture

July 28, 2010 at 06:21 pm

We can only hope that we can pick someone up after the final 53 cut. One other thing, we all now our areas of need on the D, and we know that we will garner a decent draft pick by losing Kampman, is there another Woodson-Picket- talent, of the player of need out there?
And how do you convince TT to pull the trigger, yeah, right!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

July 28, 2010 at 06:25 pm

I think Josh Bell is not given enough credit.

The guy has plenty of starting experience from his last year at Denver as a fill in due to injury, and he performed at an acceptable level doing it.

Yes, he gave up the big TD that killed us vs. Pit. I know. He was in great position, great coverage in general, and got beat by a perfect pass and catch. That happens. But I think it has cast a light on Bell as a nobody CB as far as Pack fans are concerned, and I don't know that he's that far behind the nickle position.

Pat Lee and Underwood will be given the leg up over Bell just due to how they were acquired, but Bell looks like a capable nickle back to me.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PackerAaron's picture

July 28, 2010 at 06:52 pm

Agree with this for the most part.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DAWG's picture

July 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Show me the vid on how Josh bell played as an acceptable corner, other than the last second Pit. win, yeah, he played it perfect,or did he just stumble upon it,= Like the saying goes, your only as good as your last play! Stumble?
Our last play-game-Az WC game we got our ass handed to us on defense, almost 500 yards on the D!-We've got holes on the D, and I'm not going to drink Peter King's cool-aid as we're SB bound-yet. You add ST, and the D needs, we have holes! Caper's you better sharpen your pencil, cause Peter's got you-us in a corner- WTF

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CSS's picture

July 29, 2010 at 08:51 am

Every team is flawed and/or has weaknesses. The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints had the 25th ranked defense in the regular season and one of the worst playoff pass defenses to populate the playoffs. Every team has holes throughout the year, point???

I don't see the Packers as being that different than the Saints. If anything, the Packers have more depth on defense and an offense that can stand toe-to-toe.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
andrew's picture

July 30, 2010 at 02:59 am

woodson will not be as productive as he was.. he will still be used as a dynamic corner and will still get his INTs and be able to shut down WRs. but with the rest of the defense having a year under its belt woodson wont NEED to make all the plays he made last year and will have a good/great year.. al harris.. cant see him being back 100% week 1.. i am not sure where he is at in his recovery i know he was coming along pretty well but week 1 seems like a push. if he is back i cant see him running the whole game.. and at this point im not sure how effective he will be.. he is a shutdown corner. struggled with communicating with bigby and if burnett is back there i doubt you will see any sort of improvement with that harris will have an okay season this year but not a good one.. williams will be the starter very soon. hes solid and quick. as for the others im not really a fan of bush. i agree with an earlier poster that josh bell is underrated and you will see him get better and better.. when woodson retires we will need to find a number 1 corner.. cause i dont think we have one.. tramon is a solid number 2 corner.. bell is a solid nickle.. #1 guy is a big ?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.