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Burnett, While Exciting, Still Just A Rookie

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Burnett, While Exciting, Still Just A Rookie

Rookie safety Morgan Burnett has been the focus of a lot of fans' excitement. Expectations are high for the third round pick. This morning, I wrote the following:

Morgan Burnett is the real deal if, and its a big ‘if’, he can tackle in a game. Its one thing to hit and tackle a guy in the controlled environment of a drill. Its quite another to do it live in a game. Everything else with Burnett is solid if not very good. His ball skills are excellent. His range is fantastic. Now I just need to see him in a game with live tackling. If he passes that test, ladies and gentlemen, he is the real deal.

While all of this is true, it does not change the fact that Burnett is still a rookie. He just completed his fourth training camp practice. He has a long way to go before he can be trusted to be where he needs to be on every snap. There was a great example of this in a redzone drill this afternoon.

I think this play serves to tell two stories. One, obviously, is the busted coverage by a rookie who is way too late shifting over to cover for a double corner blitz.

The second and more important story is the level of play that will be needed at the safety position opposite Collins if Dom Capers is going to be able to bring more exotic pressure packages. It's all well and good for me to say that "Capers needs to blitz more" (which is, of course, an oversimplification) but one of the components that needs to be there is safety play that can be counted on,

It's one play early in camp. Burnett will no doubt learn from it. But as much as it might feel good for fans to rip on Bigby and talk about his inevitable benching, he has still played a lot of snaps in this defense. Burnett is a talent but once Bigby is back this could be a good battle.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Austin Auch's picture

I have always been a fan of Bigby, just wish he could stay healthy. I hope he can can on the field and these two can push each other. Either way if one goes down during the season at least we will have someone that can play the spot.

PackersRS's picture

Bigby completely blew his assignment the last minute of the Steelers game. He's not a rookie. What's his excuse?

FITZCORE1252's picture

^^^ THAT ^^^

Nononsense's picture

I understand the guarded optomism surrounding Burnett but like the last guy said Bigby is prone to making mistakes and being out of position too and hes a vet.

I would have no fear starting the rookie if thats what happens. Just like Desmond Bishop I would go with the guy who has the most potential for making plays even if the potential is there for a bad play or 2 every now and then.

We need guys that can make a big play or create turnovers because thats what this defense thrives on.

NickGBP's picture

In Tom Pelissero's Maple Street Press article, he mentioned that Bigby was so bad at lining up and making the tackle that they named an entire drill after him and would practice it every day so he could tackle. I don't think Burnett could be any worse...

PackerAaron's picture

Great point.

Eric, of the North's picture

Love all the camp updates and everything, but lets cut to the chase. What's up with AR-12 Stache-off 2010? Who's competing and who looks like the early front-runner.

JimCroce's picture

Isn't this being a bit too nitpicky? What was Burnett supposed to do there: Rodgers did a great job of recognizing the blitz, catching the snap, and immediately throwing the ball to the weak spot in the coverage in about 2 seconds?

Unless he tipped off to Rodgers that he was covering for the blitzers by breaking too soon, I see no way in which Burnett can be called out on that play.

Bottom line: Good play for Rodgers, Good enough for Burnett.

PackerAaron's picture

Sorry, this is not nitpicky at all. A bit late to the ball? Sure. But he was crazy late on the rotation.

Big Cheese's picture

Bigby is history... Oh wait, I'm not supposed to write him off yet. OK, go Atari!! Cover a damn receiver for once! (Thank god we drafted Burnett.)

c.d. angeli's picture

Think Bigby is a decent enough player, but he's not assignment sure in coverage and can't stay healthy.

Why would you not look to upgrade him if you could? That was Ron Wolf's philosophy: you're here as long as it take me to find someone else who can do your job better than you.

"Competition" is the stated philosophy of the TT/MM regime. Let's see it in action.

PackersThad's picture

I think the moral of the story is...Double blitzes from the same side do not stop that!!

Nononsense's picture

A double blitz does work, you just have to cover the vacated area much better than they/he did.

There is no doubt Burnett should have been in better position to at least contest that catch and I would hope hes learned his lesson.

Thats what training camp is for make your mistakes now and get them corrected before the games start to count.

Mike's picture

I think the bottom line is that even vets are going to make mistakes on day 2 or 3 of training camp. There are two times to be nervous about Burnett:

1. If he's making these same mistakes six weeks from now

2. In Week 10-12 when the rookie wall hits

It's almost silly to show a guy missing an assignment on Day 3 and claim that's what his weakness is going to be. Don't forget, this is only Year 2 in the system for even the Vet guys, so it's not like Bigby is bringing encyclopedic knowledge to the table here.

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