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Packers Could Ask Woodson To Move To Safety

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Packers Could Ask Woodson To Move To Safety

From Tom Silverstein:

If Nick Collins is unable to return from a neck injury, Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers might consider asking cornerback Charles Woodson to play safety.

But that is not a given because Capers thinks moving Woodson out of a corner position would allow the opposition to take advantage of matchups against Sam Shields, the cornerback who would replace Woodson outside.

That's why, he said, he didn't strongly consider playing Woodson there instead of Charlie Peprah after Collins was lost for the season.

 Silverstein goes on to note the effect the possible move would have on the rest of the secondary, including how Sam Shields would be asked to do more tackling, something he was downright terrible at all year.
My two cents: I don't think they do it. Woodson has said before he doesn't want to make the move and I'm not sold on a guy who takes as many risks as Woodson does suddenly being asked to become the last line of defense. Of course, Woodson is a pro and would adjust his game. But I just think he's more valuable in Capers scheme if he isn't tethered to centerfield.
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Sootofan97's picture

That would also make drafting a CB as one of the early needs... Draft a safety just in case

Taylor's picture

One thing that really hurt our secondary (besides losing Collins, which is pretty obvious), was the play of Tramon Williams. He did not have a good season. Injuries played a big part since he couldn't play tight, aggressive, bump coverage with a bum shoulder. I think if he were to bounce back next year and be that shut-down corner he can be, we won't have to worry as much about the downgrade we'd get with Shields on the other side as we could keep a safety shaded that way. I still think TT will draft a piece or two for the secondary though whether its at CB or S.

Bearmeat's picture

Shields has never had a full offseason training at CB. Let's see how he does next year before passing judgement. IMO he'll begin to play much more solidly. He'll never be an Al Harris type bump and run physical corner, but he's faster than hell, and could turn into a solid, solid playmaker for this Defense.

As far as Woody is concerned: If Collins doesn't come back, I think he'll take Peprah's spot as a more in-the-box type SS. He's not FS material. More like Polamolu....

redlights's picture

Agree with you. Hopefully Shields learns better techniques this offseason, though my fear is that he fancies himself as Deion Sanders. Seeing him take two kickoffs; lack of tackling (career moves, Deion would say); and relying on his speed to cover lack of technique are my reasons. If he does become "PrimeTime", Dom will need to mold the rest of the secondary to account for that skill set.

Yes a CB and S should be in the mix for the draft. I think every team needs 5 solid DB's to match up with the recievers being trotted out everywhere except Denver.

Still think DE is a higher priority than OLB. But don't forget about Center, either.

Bearmeat's picture

TT should resign Wells. Even though he's 31. Centers can play until they're 35-36ish just fine.

This had better get done.

redlights's picture

I'd only do it if it was laden with game day bonuses. Wells want guarantee; I won't be surprised to see him leave.

chuck's picture

I think if all the db's would cover their men and keep their zones, instead of jumping every route to try and intercept, a lot of these problems would go away. PS we all played HS football, doesn't take that long to learn how to form tackle. You have to WANT to tackle.

BubbaOne's picture

Watching Woodson's play slip this season and knowing he'll be 36 this Oct the move to S needs to be pursued. I know it's not a plug and play scenario but I feel he's being exposed at CB. Most of his INT's were against 2 rookie QB's or his freelancing. W/ losing Collins the secondary needed to be more assignment sure not less. I do wonder if the "miscommunication" mantra had to do more w/ players taking chances.

One player in the draft who could help is Stephon Gilmore. I don't know if he's "Packer People" but he is being compared to Woodson. Also, DB coach Whitt said Davon House can be as good as he wants to be so there are options at CB.

Lou's picture

Nice observation -- Gilmore would be a fantastic pick. A great fit for this defense. Since we'll likely have an extra 3rd-round pick, perhaps we can use our own 3rd-rounder to move up in the 2nd round for Gilmore? (similar to what we did for Burnett in the 3rd round two years ago)

Lou's picture

The safety solution is pretty simple:
Sign Jim Leonhard. He's faster and smarter than Peprah and a better tackler.

I don't think TT is anti free agency, he's just anti "paying guys more than they're worth" which almost always happens in free agency. I doubt that a bunch of teams will be banging down his door, plus he might take a hometown discount, thereby reducing his price tag.

Your thoughts?

packeraaron's picture

Love this idea. But I think, as you state, some team will overpay for him. If he's still out there three or four weeks into free agency, the Packers might take a look.

Packers Freak's picture

I would love this too. I got to see Leonhard play in high school, and he was a beast of a running back back then. Never got to play against him unfortunately, his HS team was in the other half of our conference. Did get to run against him and his brother in track though.

Anyway would love to see him play for the Pack. Still annoys the crap out of me that he says he was a Lions fan growing up though.

maxginsberg's picture

I don't think we'll see Woodson listed as a safety. In fact, why would Capers stop using him as he always has - a corner/safety/linebacker hybrid?

One of Capers' assets is the fact that he capitalizes on his player's individual strengths and in Capers' system, it doesn't seem to matter what position players are listed at - they play wherever the defense needs them to play.

MarkinMadison's picture

The Woodson hybrid approach may maximize Woodson, but I don't know if it necessarily maximizes the effectiveness of the defense as a unit.

redlights's picture

I agree, the best coaches utilize the attributes of the players, not make the players adapt to the system. I think they can be mutually beneficial.

Driver stated he's back somewhere next year; has Woodson stated the same? Just wondering.

MarkinMadison's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong on this Aaron, but haven't you argued that Woodson can no longer cover? Doesn't keeping Woodson at safety over having Shields start just mean that you're going with a guy who's another year older at a job where speed really matters v. putting a really fast guy in there and letting him develop? If that is where the Packers feel like they have to go - playing a corner who has trouble covering, then I don't think it is realistic to expect the defensive backfield to get significantly better.

ebongreen's picture

I could see Woodson at safety, but not centerfield-safety. He'd be a rover or strong safety like Polamalu, Rod Woodson, or Leroy Butler was. Burnett would be the center fielder.

I'm worried that he's losing enough physically that it's no longer feasible. Does last year's version of Charles miss Brandon Jacobs on that last TD run? It's one thing to be a student of the game, which he is - it's another to be the playmaker that the Packers need at that position.

CSS's picture

Like I stated above, not a slam-dunk transition despite a players talent. Matt Bowen (NFP) with some interesting insight:

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