Packers Question of the Day - Morgan Burnett as a Nickel Linebacker; Good Move or bad Move?

Even if it was just in a few practice sessions through last week's duration of training camp, the expanded role for the Packers' veteran safety Morgan Burnett is an intriguing one.

The defensive coordinator and mastermind of the Green Bay defense has been implementing Burnett into a new position in the nickel scheme - a linebacker.

Over the last couple of years, we've seen more defensive backs evolve into this role such as Deone Bucannon and Tyrann Mathieu, both with the Arizona Cardinals. A small sampling size of Burnett's versatility, but something that Capers may just experiment with through the course of training camp and the preseason. 

Will this throw off Burnett's mechanics as a pure safety or will this ultimately help him in his future endeavours with the team? Is it an experiment that might just pay off for the defensive side of the ball? Comment your thoughts on Burnett's hybrid role below.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (23)

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Since '61's picture

August 03, 2016 at 09:26 am

Burnett has enough NFL experience by now that he should be able to handle this role. Also, this would only apply to certain downs and distance situations. In the worst case the experiment can be scrubbed if it doesn't work out. It's always good to have something extra for opposing OCs to be concerned about. Thanks, Since '61

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L's picture

August 03, 2016 at 10:43 am

I like it because it should provide the Packers with the ability to put more quality coverage players onto the field in specific situations and against particular match-ups when warranted.

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dobber's picture

August 03, 2016 at 09:54 am

The question is: who is coming onto the field and who is not when Burnett plays this role?

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

August 03, 2016 at 11:12 am

Hyde's been taking Burnett's spot, not sure who Burnett's kicking off the field, though.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 03, 2016 at 10:40 am

I'm just really curious how they would line up players with Burnett playing the LB role. Do they take out an ILB and add another Safety? Do they keep 2 ILB's and just move Burnett up?

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EdsLaces's picture

August 03, 2016 at 10:45 am

Right? If it puts Banjo on the field I can't say I'm excited. Now Gunter on the other hand...

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 03, 2016 at 11:05 am

Thats just it. They would likely go with Hyde over Banjo, but that is why i can't get to excited about it. Until i see how they use the players around him, I will take the wait and see approach.

I do like the idea of getting more athleticism on the the field, just not sure how they are going to do it.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 03, 2016 at 10:49 am

Hyde is comming in at the other safety spot.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 03, 2016 at 11:03 am

Or are they going to bring Gunter in and go with 1 less safety?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 03, 2016 at 11:53 am

It was 1 more safety of you count Burnett as a safety in this case which was seen in practice and talked about on one of the radio shows.

Although what you describe might be a viable option too in something like a cover 3, but I would expect Rollins to be the 3rd cb.

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EdsLaces's picture

August 03, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Kinda forgot about Hyde ....that might work pretty well really. Rollins prolly would too.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 03, 2016 at 03:44 pm

Ok, I haven't heard how they were using it. I just heard they were having him playing some ILB.

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LeagueObsrvr's picture

August 03, 2016 at 05:35 pm

That's what makes this so intriguing. With the additions of Randall and Rollins last year and LB Blake Martinez this season, and adding Ladarius Gunter to the mix, Capers now has the type of personnel to allow him a lot of scheme flexibility. With Randall's pedigree of playing both corner and safety going back to his college days, I wouldn't be surprised to see Randall lined up at safety on some plays when Burnett is shifted to LB.

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Nick Perry's picture

August 04, 2016 at 06:24 am

^^^^^ This by LeagueObsrvr^^^^^^

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croatpackfan's picture

August 04, 2016 at 07:33 am

Maybe that is the reason why Randall and Rollins were playing inside that much in TC. They might consider Randall as Slot CB/Safety with Morgan near the line?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 03, 2016 at 10:48 am

Maybe the Packers should move to the 0-11-0 defense with only linebackers. All current defensive linemen should become quicker by cutting down to 280 pounds and all backs should bulk up it at least 215.

Kidding obviously...

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

August 03, 2016 at 11:17 am

Burnett's been playing well in the box lately, imo. He isn't exactly taking on linemen when he comes in the box to clog a running lane out of the SS spot. He may have to take on a lineman starting out in the second level this year if this is run during a real game. I think he's 225-ish.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 03, 2016 at 11:55 am

I agree with that. Since Clinton-Dix took over the center field of the defense last year, Burnett really has played well down in the box.

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Handsback's picture

August 03, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Really isn't this just copying what they did w/ Woodson? I know he had plenty of sacks while with the Packers so I see this as an extention of what they did by putting Woodson in the box.

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EdsLaces's picture

August 03, 2016 at 12:16 pm

I do feel kinda like every team is trying to find their own D Buchannon and don't realize that he's a freaking monster.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 03, 2016 at 02:01 pm

I'm 50/50 on it.

Why I don't like it (yet): Even though he's a sure-tackler I don't think he's capable of making much of an impact. Smells like another experiment because the ILB group is so-so. Maybe I'm just not as high on Burnett as some. If this was HHCD, I'd like it. Hopefully I'm wrong though.

Why I (might) like it: Dom is trusting HHCD and the rest of the DBs to do their jobs with less help. This might lead to a lot more Single High Safety which should better the run support when only having 2 DLs and/or sure up RB/TE coverage.

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Michael Grunewald's picture

August 03, 2016 at 05:06 pm

To me, this would be a great move. Burnett's strength is downhill run support. I have never been fond of his cover skills or angles he takes in pursuit.

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marpag1's picture

August 04, 2016 at 08:19 am

Meh. Is it the pass that the Packers have had trouble defending? Don't think so (6th vs. the pass, 21st vs the run, 29th in yards per rush).

What the Packers need is a real ILB who can play run or pass, and I don't really have any reason to believe that Burnett is the guy. To me, this move is more of a concession that the Packers aren't comfortable that they have a cover linebacker, unless Martinez can get up to speed in an awful hurry.

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