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Cornerback Battle Picking up Steam

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Cornerback Battle Picking up Steam

Cornerback is one position group the Green Bay Packers still need to sort out.  The Packers typically keep seven corners, give or take.  We know, barring injury, that Davon House, Quinten Rollins, Damarious Randall and Kevin King are all locks.  That leaves up to three spots to fill.

Among those currently competing for roles are LaDarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins, Lenzy Pipkins, Donatello Brown, Daquan Holmes and Raysean Pringle.  Demetri Goodson is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in November and will very likely miss the start of the 2017 season.  

Goodson has not participated in any team activities since his injury and is currently on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.  Given the current stable of talent, the best bet is that Goodson stays on PUP which would keep him out six weeks into the regular season.  The Packers can bring him back after that if they suffer an injury at corner.  If Goodson participates in any team activities this preseason, he's ineligible to go on PUP when the regular season starts.

As far a preseason game two, the young corners turned in a pretty good night.  They had seven of the team's nine pass break up's.

King had a nice pass break up and continues to look more comfortable with the first defense.  With Randall out for an unknown period of time, King will see extended time which will benefit his learning curve.  

Gunter had two tackles and left the game in the second half with an apparent head injury.  It was determined that Gunter did not suffer a concussion which is very good news for Gunter the man and the player.  After his contributions last season and with his role on special teams, Gunter certainly has a leg up on grabbing a roster spot.

Josh Hawkins may have stolen the show among the cornerback group, logging three passes defended.  One came in the end zone against Washington tight end Vernon Davis and the starting offense.  Hawkins saw action with the team last season and had his struggles in coverage.  His showing through two preseason games makes a pretty good case for his sticking on this team for another year.

Lenzy Pipkins, whose name is almost as fun to say as he is to watch on the field, had a pass defended and shows a great energy.  Maybe a bit too much energy at times.  Late in the game, Pipkins slammed a Washington receiver to the ground head first while making a physical tackle.  The play wasn't flagged, but certainly could have been.  Pipkins could still be fined if the league determines that the tackle was excessive.

Also logging pass break up's among the corners were Donatello Brown and Daquan Holmes.  Brown had a nice play on a long pass to knock the ball away.  Brown, Holmes and Pringle are on the outside looking in at this point and will need some stellar play to overtake the perceived top seven.  At least one of them should land on the Packers practice squad when all is said and done.

As has been said many times, a team can never have too many cornerbacks.  A year ago, the position seemed chock-full of veteran players and an area of strength.  A year later, Sam Shields is retired and Micah Hyde is a Buffalo Bill.  The Packers will look to their very young players to re-stock and these next two preseason games are the final auditions.

 

 

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (47) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

I wonder how Micah Hyde feels sitting in Buffalo watching that fire sale go on around him. He'll have to learn what LOSING feels like when it happens a lot. He'll also get a chance to start his off-season workouts a few weeks earlier. It's to bad actually, I really liked Hyde.

RCPackerFan's picture

While I liked Hyde, I'm happy the Packers didn't sign him to the contract he received. He was a good player, but not great.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The guy was only ever going to get one shot at earning that money. Hard to blame him...

Mojo's picture

The $14mil in guaranteed money will help him get over it.

RCPackerFan's picture

Gunter late last year was our number 1 CB. Just think about what kind of firestorm that was. He was our number 1 CB going against the likes of OBJ, Dez Bryant and Julio Jones. This year he might be our 6th option due to the talent they have now.

Hawkins really stepped up Saturday night. He played a hell of a game. That type of play honestly could push him into some serious play time. At the very least he should be their 5th CB after that performance.

I really like what I have seen from Pipkins. He just stands out to me. IMO, he has a good chance to make the 53.
Donatello Brown. First who doesn't like the name Donatello? I thought he really played well Saturday night. They said during the game that he has been good in practice. I will definitely keep an eye on him during the next 2 preseason games.

dobber's picture

"Hawkins really stepped up Saturday night. He played a hell of a game. That type of play honestly could push him into some serious play time. At the very least he should be their 5th CB after that performance."

Yes, but Hawkins was ball-hawking and looked good last PS, too, and gave us reason to believe he could be a good player down the road (because he was buried on the depth chart). When the time came and they needed CBs? They didn't have enough faith to put him out there.

RCPackerFan's picture

He looked like he was on a different level Saturday night from last year. He was very aggressive and physical. Yeah he flashed last year, and made plays on the ball, but he looked a lot better.

Last year I still don't get why he wasn't used after getting burned by Jones. He gave up 1 big play, and they didn't trust him after. But he was a rookie, and there must have been something they didn't like. Now he is going into year 2. And I see a much improved player ready for a bigger role.

cuervo's picture

That is true, what I never understood however was that they pulled him and never gave him another chance after his goof against the Lions. Given the complete implosion of the position last year I found that strange.

flackcatcher's picture

Hawkins last year relied on this athletic ability to cover. His technique was crude at best. After tripping over his own feet in the win over Detroit, it was amazing that Whitt let him see the field at all. This year, the work off season shows. His foot work, especially in the all important 5 yard gap is remarkable, he never had it last year, his ability to stay after the first cut stands out. Off course, compared with someone like Josh Norman, Hawkins has a long way to go. But now he can play the position. That's quite the leap. Gunter is more important to this secondary than we fans understand. His ability to play three positions will cover a lot if injuries happen.(and they will, this the GB Packers after all)

Nick Perry's picture

I think Gunter and Hawkins are locks at this point which would leave them one short if the carry 7. Pimpkins is a maybe but I would think he'll be on the PS for sure. I was thinking the Packers could possibly keep and extra safety but is Whitehead a better option than say Pimkins or Pringle are? Barring any injuries to help the Packers decide it will be an interesting to watch.

Question..... Are 11 Safeties and Corners combined enough to go through a season?? Lets just say the Packers don't have any further injuries to any of their players in the secondary. Jones and Brice are both pretty versatile players and could possibly fill play CB in a pinch for a short period of time. That might allow them to keep a player somewhere else they don't want to risk losing.

fthisJack's picture

pimpkins....lol. i really like Pipkins. i think if he keeps playing with the aggressiveness we've seen...he will make the 53. i also like Brown but i think he will land on the PS. i think Goodson should stay on the PUP all season...or cut him when he comes off instead of getting rid of one of these young guys. of course....there could be injuries that will keep him hanging around.

my concern is about MLB that can't cover anybody. Joe Thomas got beat like a drum and he's supposed to be our coverage guy? maybe TT should start drafting more players like Jones and Burnett and forget about your prototypical MLB.... a couple thumpers and a coverage guy. go with coverage and speed all 3 downs.

Nick Perry's picture

LMAO....Oops

Finwiz's picture

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Gunter is nothing close to a "lock".
Hawkins is more likely to make the roster than G - why?
Speed

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I don't think Gunter is a lock.

The TKstinator's picture

Pimpkins ain't easy.

croatpackfan's picture

While I agree that Josh Hawkins had very good night, the best of all DBs, I have to notice that he was to late to cover Davis in the end zone and only bad thrown ball saved him for giving TD to the opponent.
But, as this is pre-season and Josh Hawkins is not starter I think we can agree that he made huge step towards 53.

EDIT: I made some math and come out with this numbers:
Offense: QB - 2, RB - 2, FB - 2, TE - 3, OL - 8, WR - 7 (Total 24),
Specialists - 3,
Defense: DL - 6, LB - 9, CB - 6, S - 5 (Total 26),
and on
PS: QB - 1, RB - 3, OL - 2, CB - 2, WR - 2
PUP 2
IR the rest of injured player they want to keep!

I do not see how that can be different by the value of the players that has shown up to day.

RCPackerFan's picture

I disagree with you a bit on the Davis play.
I didn't think the throw was bad. Perhaps if he had thrown it a bit more to the corner, but it wasn't like he threw behind Davis. Hawkins simply found the ball and knocked it away late. He made a great play on it.

The thing that I liked was that while he got burned early he had the speed to recover and was able to make a play.
Something to remember is Davis while older still has a lot of speed and is not an easy player to match up against.

croatpackfan's picture

Well, I agree with you on Vernon Davis. Trevor Davis is much faster than Vernon... ;-)

I just wanted to say that Josh Hawkins was not flawless, but, as we agree (I hope) he is near lock for 53....

RCPackerFan's picture

That part is true.

yeah he wasn't flawless, but to be honest there isn't a CB that is.
I just like how he did recover on that play and made a play. Last year we saw so many times our CB's weren't able to recover from a bad start of a play.

Finwiz's picture

I liked how Hawkins played on Saturday night, but the play he made in the end zone was a bit of luck. He didn't really get turned on the ball, but put his hand in there at just the right time. I'd say he was guessing.

RCPackerFan's picture

Maybe more luck then skill. I'd say more luck that the ball wasn't in a spot that he could knock away then anything.
That being said, he got himself in position to get his hand in there to knock the ball away. He played it perfectly putting his hands where Davis' were.

dobber's picture

I thought about this after the game on Saturday and came up with....

Offense: QB-3, RB-3, FB-1, TE-2, OL-9, WR-7 (Total 25)
Defense: DL-6, LB-9, CB-6, S-4 (Total 25)
Specialists: 3

...which does not include a suspended Geronimo.

croatpackfan's picture

So you think Rodgers will be cut?

dobber's picture

I'm hoping he'll be traded, but when it comes right down to it, would you rather keep that extra S or WR or RRod?

croatpackfan's picture

To be honest, I would keep Richard Rodgers. he has excellent hands and knows how to catch contested balls. Also, he is very often open in short yardage situations and I believe he is red zone threat.

RCPackerFan's picture

I think it will be something similar to that.

The only changes from yours that I'm thinking right now is that I think they will probably keep 2 QB's and 3 TE's though.

Right now I'm not sure they have 9 OL they will keep so possibly they take away one OL and keep one more S.
I think they end up with 5 S (Clinton-Dix, Burnett, Brice, Jones, Evans)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

2 QBs, 3 RBs, 1 FB, 2 TEs, 8 OL, 7 WRs = 23
6 DL, 4/5 OLB, 4 ILB, 5 S, 6 CBs = 25/26
3 specialists. for a total of 51/52.
Keeping a spot for best of Hill, Gray, Price, Mays. Possibly a WR or a CB.

I think we should keep 5 safeties. Whoever you cut will get a waiver claim, and GB would have no chance to keep the player. Love to save the money on Burnett and take the comp pick next season.

I like Kerridge but I am keeping Tripp instead: Tripp is on every ST unit while Kerridge is only on 2 units, and Tripp might actually become a decent ILB. Joe Thomas is still on my 53, but not by much.

I am leaning towards cutting RR. It makes me nervous, but with RR, Perillo, Backman and Quarless, we've had only one not very good TE for a while. Course, if Kendricks and Bennett both got hurt, I would be subject to recriminations.

Mojo's picture

I'm with you TGR on the safeties. Ha Ha, Burnett, Jones are locks. Brice and Evans are better than good bets. And really it's closer to 4 safeties when you consider Jones and Burnett will be playing a lot of hybrid LB stuff. The 6 CB's seems about right too. King, Rollins, House, Randall, Gunter and Hawkins/Pipkins with the loser on the PS.

If you're a guy in the secondary for GB you got to feel good because you're going to get a lot of PT this year.

caruso81's picture

Only 2 TEs? On a team I think we can all agree is again offense first. Nope.

3 QBs on the active roster? Hmm....

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Here's a legit question: Who is really more valuable to this roster when factoring in Special Teams and blocking?

Richard Rodgers or Joe Kerridge?

Handsback's picture

Let's face it the Packer's CBs are in a better situation for depth than last year. Except last year they had one CB that was one of the best in the league.

Spock's picture

While I absolutely hated Pipkins picking up the receiver before slamming him head down (If Washington had done something similar to Cobb or Nelson there would be Screaming in the comments section), I like his aggressiveness; he just needs to reign it in a little. :). Lots of camp battles to be won or lost ahead.

Mojo's picture

I was amazed he wasn't flagged for that. Plus, he put on an exalted celebration right after that.

RCPackerFan's picture

While I love/hated that play, I was shocked there wasn't a penalty on that play.
I really like what I have seen from Pipkins. If he doesn't make the 53 I hope he gets on the PS.

PatrickGB's picture

I have not been able to actually watch the games this year. I have only watched clips and listened to comments. So my comments is based only on the above. We have seen improvements from some of last years players like Hawkins and Evans. Newcomers like Pipkins and Brown have looked ok too. They seem to be aggressive and do well in man coverage. Now what happens when Dom has them playing ten yards off the LOS in the game. The secondary coaches train them up and Dom messes them up.

Jonathan Spader's picture

For the 3rd preseason game I hope we get a chance to see what House can so back in a Capers defense.

dschwalm's picture

No curiosity here about House's performance in Caper's schemes: He will be mediocre, and perhaps lose his job to one of the youngsters

Finwiz's picture

When is House projected to be back?
Hopefully in the preseason, or is this one of those 8 week hamstring injuries that might land him on the PUP list prior to the season?

Spock's picture

Finwiz, I believe House has practiced so no PUP for him. It was too bad M. Adams got hurt in the first padded practice as he is also not a candidate for PUP. At least we can now bring two people back off IR with the new rule change.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

My roster construction changes depending on whether I am focused more on 2017 or 2018. Min (Max) #s:

QB: 2; RB: 3 (4); TE: 2 (3); OL: 8 (9); FB: 1; WR: 5 (7) = 21 (26). Aiming for 24 or at most 25 on offense.

I think Hill can make it to the PS. We have Monty, and need a runner behind him and a guy who can catch. That sounds like Williams and Jones to me. It would be nice to have a 4th, but I've no strong opinions on who that might be. I think Mays can slide to the PS. Need 2 TEs, and a 3rd is optimal. I just think RR is bad, is moderately expensive, and has no upside. We're safer and if there's an injury better, in 2017 w him. #s game on him. 9 OL would be better. Gray has had a pretty good camp, but up and down a bit in games. Spriggs doesn't look like he's useful in 2017, but the talent is there. Keeping him for late 2017 and/or for 2018. Murphy is the back up OT, Patrick the back up OC. Really would like one more, probably Gray. Amichia can't play, and probably can slide to the PS. Kerridge is a tough cut. Good pass pro, good wedge ST player, but Tripp plays all the ST units and Rip is the clear starter. So, to the 21 min, I'd add 3 or 4 players. Candidates are RR, Mays (?), Gray, and up to 2 or 3 WRs.

WRs: Nelson, Adams, Cobb = 3. Allison is the clear 4th when he returns, but his upside seems limited. I am not counting him for final cutdowns since he is suspended. Max is my #1 PR, and 4th WR. Not sure of Max' upside or ability to get deep though. As far as the rest (2 or 3 more - 2 after Allison returns), throw darts. Difference is whether I am focused on 2017 or 2018. Clark can't run a route, and is really raw. Upside is really there though, but he should easily slide onto the PS. I can see in the red zone Bennett and Clark split wide, with Nelson and Adams in the slot. Have fun, defense, countering that. Janis provides a great gunner and good KR. Janis makes us better in 2017, but I am close to calling it a day on him as a WR. Though Janis hauled in the 38-yarder, he wasn't all that open and it took a very accurate pass to complete that. Davis is exciting, but I have no strong opinions on which of Davis, Dupre or Yancey should be kept as WRs, or even which has the best upside.

I'd like to see the #1 offense play the first series, and then mix in Max, Davis, Yancey, Janis and Clark with AR at QB against the Denver DBs. That might be very telling. I liked what little I saw of Dupre, but 2 eight yard receptions isn't enough to judge him.

Subject to change, I'd go 2 QBs, 2 TEs, 3 RBs, 1 FB, 9 OL, Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Max, Davis, Yancey = 23.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

What has Cobb shown this year to justify keeping his enormous cap hit over the high upside of guys like McCaffrey, Davis, or even Clark (who we'd better not lose to another team off our practice squad)?

Janis and Allison are locks at this point, so why must we keep Cobb's huge salary? He's gone next year for sure, so why risk a high-upside guy by keeping him this year?

I just don't get it.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Picking the offensive players reminds me of last week. I brought in a special, homemade cookie for a co-worker. Went to his desk to give it to him only to find out he was out sick. My head told me not to eat that cookie, but the rest of me said eat it, you can bring in another tomorrow. Well, I didn't eat it, but the next day, the co-worker was out sick again, and I wolfed down that cookie.

Michael Clark is like the cookie. My head says I can stash him on the PS, but the rest of me wants him on the 53. And I change my mind depending on the day & my mood. [Davis is like that too.]

I am on a diet. [I've been a widower for 4 years now, time to get back out there since I'm still in my fifties. I am down 23 pounds - goal is 35.] I keep a bowl of baby carrots next to me. I like carrots well enough, and they keep me from eating bad things. Janis is like the carrots. They are good for me and prevent bad things, but they don't satisfy my cravings.

caruso81's picture

I wish we could all get over Jeff Janis. He's a HoF WR....in the pre-season. Fine...I get he's good on ST, but when the games start to count, he forgets what little he knows about route running, and he's the slowest, really fast guy in the league. He's not turning into OBJ "with just another year of experience." Having decent hands doesn't do you much good if the ball's nowhere near you because you ran another bad route. It's time to end it.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I disagree. Janis has slowly but surely developed his route-running. He's ready now. He can produce regular season, and I don't see him as an inordinate risk at all.

Combined with his critical special teams play, I believe he is now a lock for the roster. There's no reason to even question it.

The only question now is what we offer for his modest extension.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Stashing Clark will work initially, but he's too terrifying a redzone target to last long.

Honestly, he's almost a better redzone target than Richard Rodgers already, and he has far more special teams potential.

So of course, we'll keep Rodgers for his 25 catches that could go to other players, then risk Clark and lose him to another team ready to develop a great redzone target.

Typical.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Defense now. Injuries complicate it. Min/Max #s:

DL: 5/6; ILB: 3/4; OLB: 5/6, S: 4/5, CB: 6/7 = 23 (28).

Daniels, Clark, Lowry and M. Adams are locks. (Adams has to make the final 53 - he can't be on PUP and has to make the 53 and then can go on IR 18 hours later. If he will return a few games into the season, we'll just carry him on the 53.) RJF is good enough to be a lock (plus we've paid him $350K so far and we need RJF if Adams and Lowry are injured for awhile). That's 5. If Lowry and Adams are not back for game one, can we go with 3 healthy DL? I think not, so one of Price/Ringo makes the roster, loser to PS. 6 make it.

ILB: Jake and Blake are locks. Thomas is a good bet, though he is playing himself onto my bubble. Tripp makes it as a STs guy who will play 325 ST snaps. He also is turning my head as an ILB. He has a concussion though. 4 make it.

OLB: Perry, CM3, Fackrell and Elliott are locks. Calvin hasn't done enough. Gilbert hasn't played against any #1s or even decent #2s, but he has done pretty well with against the scrubs. Needs to play sooner in games but we need to get Fackrell and Elliott going. Biegel can be placed on PUP (strangely, I don't see where GB placed Biegel on the Active/PUP or Active/NFI list). This is a #s game for me. If we decide to carry Biegel, Gilbert is out. If we PUP Biegel, Gilbert makes it. Either way, 5 make it.

S: Dix, Burnett and Josh Jones are locks. If I can only keep 4, I am cutting Brice and keeping Marwin. Any safety we cut will get claimed on waivers, meaning we can't match, the guy is gone. 5 make it.

CB: R&R, House and King are locks. Hawkins and Pipkens are good bets. That is six. Gunter and Brown are possible. If I am interested in 2017 only, I'd keep Gunter, but I am cutting him. Brown to the PS. 6 make it.

That is 26 defensive players. I had 23 make it on offense above, so I have an open roster spot. Candidates are RR, Gunter, Janis, Gilbert, loser of Price/Ringo. Depends on my mood, but reluctantly I'd give it to RR.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Janis is a lock. Thomas is gone. I would absolutely cut Cobb this year, but I know that correct decision won't happen. We'll lose a good young player and burn 6.5 million on forcing catches to Cobb intead of someone like McCaffrey.

And that 6.5 mill will cost us someone when contracts come due in 2018.

Whatever. Smart rarely happens.

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