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Packers' Secondary May Be Unrecognizable in Cleveland

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Packers' Secondary May Be Unrecognizable in Cleveland

If the path to running the table for the second straight year wasn't difficult enough, it just got harder for the Green Bay Packers.

On Wednesday, the team announced they've placed rookie cornerback Kevin King on injured reserve after playing in nine games this season. The corresponding move was promoting cornerback Demetri Goodson to the active roster from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

"He's a tough young man, no doubt about it," said coach Mike McCarthy in his Thursday morning presser, just under 20 hours after King's season was cut short. "He's been dealing with it for quite some time, playing with the harness and trying to gut it out. I think it speaks volumes. It just got to the point where it was time to do more scans and things like that. The decision has been made for surgery."

Goodson, who suffered a gruesome knee injury last November in a game against the Washington Redskins -- the last loss of the season for the Packers before they engineered an eight-game win streak all the way to the NFC Championship Game -- and had been training his way back to the field ever since.

His journey commenced on Wednesday, officially becoming a component to the Packers' 53-man roster. However, like the theme of this season has been for Green Bay, Goodson is trying to conquer a new, much more minimal form of adversity: a hamstring.

He's a "longshot" to play on Sunday, according to McCarthy. He was one of the five players who didn't practice for the team on Wednesday, along with veteran cornerback Davon House.

With no King for the remainder of the season, House dealing with a shoulder and injury and Goodson fighting through a hamstring injury after not playing for over a year, the Packers' secondary may very well be unrecognizable when they travel into Cleveland this Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive against the winless Browns.

The cornerbacks currently on the roster include Damarious Randall and three young, undrafted free agents: Josh Hawkins, Lenzy Pipkins and Donatello Brown. Hawkins, the elder statesman of the group -- and that's not saying much, will likely get the start on the perimeter if Goodson can't play.

This will ultimately cause Randall to play in the slot or, as it has been widely-documented since the offseason, in his "star" position as the slot cornerback. The Packers can also keep Randall on one perimeter and play safety Jermaine Whitehead as the nickel cornerback like they did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday.

"They're ready," McCarthy said of the young group of corners. "Everybody is ready. We have no choice but to be ready. That's how the season goes and the challenges all teams undergo with injuries. It's week 13, they're ready."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Since '61's picture

If Randall plays on the boundary we could be done against the Browns. I would like to see Donatello Brown get some reps. on the boundary and keep Randall at the "star" position.

Pipkins is another option for the boundary. I can't see Goodson being the answer, he hasn't played in over a year and he wasn't very good when he did play.

It would be bad enough to lose to the Browns but to end our season by losing to the Browns would be unacceptable. Maybe if Hundley plays well on the road again we can outscore the Browns, maybe. Thanks, Since '61

stockholder's picture

I think your flat out wrong . Goodson is ready. He plays big against weak teams. Randalls playing well. House is good to go. DC still wants his job. The packers will win. If I'm MM, I ram the ball down their throats. Let these guys do what they do best now, Run! Just run to daylight! You have a bad case of the Hundley scare.

Since '61's picture

Stockholder - I'm sorry that my post has confused you. I expect the Packers to win this game. I always expect the Packers to win.

But while I'm at it explain to me how I'm flat wrong. Goodson has a hamstring injury and has yet to practice this week, not to mention that he hasn't played a snap since last season. So how is Goodson ready? Also, find me the game where he played well, weak teams or not. Since joining the Packers in 2014 Goodson has appeared in 26 games for the Packers. He has started 3 games. In 26 games he as 22 solo tackles, 8 tackle assists, 2 passes defended and 0 interceptions. It doesn't look like we 're discussing Herb Adderley here, more like a marginal player at best who only plays due to injuries and desperation.

House also has not yet practiced this week. Like Goodson he is DNP for yesterday and today. So how do you know that House is good to go?

As of today neither House nor Goodson would play Sunday. Now that might change between now and Sunday but if they remain DNPs tomorrow they are probably out for Sunday.

I would run the ball at the Browns but remember the Browns have been pretty solid against the run. Also, if you have been paying attention to my posts including my original post to this article I've been saying that Hundley plays better on the road than he does at Lambeau and that we need him to play well again on the road in Cleveland.

I have no idea what you are talking about or what the "Hundley scare" is.

Try again after you actually read my posts and have a minimum clue of what you are talking about. At least try to pay attention and keep up. Until then thanks for playing. Thanks, Since '61

flackcatcher's picture

Goodson was the 4th and Gunter was the 5th string in the CB group last year. Goodson was forced into playing extended time against the Redskins when both Randall and Rollins went down again. (Both playing on one leg for most of last season. unreal.) We had Gunter and Goodson playing on the boundary, and Goodson was playing with a bad hamstring. He was one step away from ripping it when it happened. He has not had any practice time he would need to get ready, especially contact, which is restricted under the CBA. For goodness sake, the Packers medical staff only cleared him this week, so to expect to see him play this week, is crazy.

Since '61's picture

Flackcatcher - Good post. I agree completely especially since he has a hamstring injury. Thanks, Since '61

Fordham Ram's picture

I think this game is taylor made for one of these youngsters to show their stuff. I think that guy will be Josh Hawkins. Read an article where he was being called little Sam Sheilds in pre season. If they stick him out there on the corner this will be his opportunity to show it.

flackcatcher's picture

The tipping point was the Dallas game. Heat, bad turf, and overtime really put stress on the secondary as a group. Then came the noon game at Minn with it's notorious turf. Wiped out most of the starting group along with both top reserves. Perry and Whitt have been slapping duct tape just to put someone, anyone out on the field. Last year while the group was injured, they still had play makers in key slots, and they had Gunter, who played heroically. This year it's worse, far worse, not enough experience in the back end and the boundaries are vulnerable. If the defense holds up from here on out, it will be a miracle.

Coldworld's picture

Goodson had started to show signs of being decent before he was injured, but it expecting a lot for him to be game ready soon, even without the hammy. It’s the young kids up this week.

carlos's picture

We could’ve signed Revis.

Since '61's picture

Revis looked awful against the NY Jets. He doesn't have it any longer which is sad because he was a great shutdown corner in his prime. Thanks, Since '61

carlos's picture

You’re right 61. I guess I haven’t followed him since he got signed. Just knew he was available and thought he might have enough in him to play safety when the injury bug kept shaking it’s ugly head. Been too busy to keep up on everything.

GBPDAN1's picture

Wouldn't it be great if we could field a good secondary for a whole season at some point? Between TT coming up short with talent lately , compounded with the Packers jinxed injury bug, It has been disappointing, to say the least, watching these CBs .

And then there's the problem of Dom capers inability to put a disciplined, non confused product on the field. I cringe when teams drop back to pass on us.

Next topic : Pass rush ..... ouch !

Portland Mark's picture

I looked up the Packer seasons on from 1963 to 1967. Most of the defenders played all 14 games every year and none of them ever missed more that 2 games. Any thoughts about why so many injuries now?

carlos's picture

Well Portland my guess is physics. Players are bigger, faster, quicker and stronger. It’s also a year round job now. Years ago some players had secondary jobs to supplement their income from football. Played less games also. Since I’m old I’d like to say we were tougher back then, but don’t think that’s the case. lol

HankScorpio's picture

"It’s also a year round job now. Years ago some players had secondary jobs to supplement their income from football."

That seems somewhat counter-intuitive but I think you're on to something.

I think year round "overtraining" was an issue for Mike Neal, anyways. He was always a workout warrior that did not skimp on training. When he was bulked up to DL weight, he could not stay on the field. When he dropped down to OLB weight, he was available much more consistently.

carlos's picture

You know Hank, these players are like thoroughbred horses. Train for one thing. Horses get injuries minor and major and determines there careers. I agree excessive and over training can be detrimental also and lead to injuries. It just seems the Packers get more than their share while also realizing it’s throughout the NFL.

4zone's picture

This secondary is looking a lot like last year's. I think the next draft we need to draft 9 CBs and see if we can't get lucky with at least one of them.

nostradanus's picture

It is time for Capers to simplify his Defensive scheme, put these young corners out there and just let them compete. Hawkins has been ok and Pipkens and Brown showed some promise in the pre-season. The Packers need to know what they have in these guys moving forward anyway. Even if the Packers run the table their playoff chances are very slim and face it, Green Bay's talent level is not close to teams like the Eagles, Saints, Falcons, Seahawks and yes the Vikings.The Packers need to get these young guys some serious reps. Players like Beigel, Monty Adams, Trevor Davis, Micheal Clark need to see the field some so next year they will be young veterans and ready to go. The Packers and Ted Thompson have a serious talent shortage and Aaron Rodgers may not be the same player he was in the years to come. Time for these kids to play and sort it out in the off-season.
Go Pack!

DD's picture

Correct futuristic projections nastra. Remember though, we have Capers. His scheming will get it done at crunch time as always. Yea Dom????? And we have a great, creative offensive coordinator. What else do we need????? We got this! Rest easy Packer fans. Four straight wins is a given to end the regular season. Playoff run and a superbowl win.

carlos's picture

Agree 100 percent No’s.

Duke Divine's picture

Starting Kizer in fantasy playoffs instead of Cousins at San Diego with good faith!

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