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The Packers Battle for a Starting Corner Position – Don’t Count out Micah Hyde

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The Packers Battle for a Starting Corner Position – Don’t Count out Micah Hyde

To the more-than-casual Green Bay Packers fan the battle for the starting corner back position opposite Sam Shields starts with Casey Hayward.  Generally the conversation ends with talk of the two prized rookies Damarious Randall or Quinten Rollins.  In the middle there might be an occasional mention of 2014 draft choice Demitri Goodson or perhaps dark-horse undrafted free agent Ladarius Gunter.

Almost no one talks about the Packers defensive back version of the Swiss Army knife – do-everything Micah Hyde.

Hyde burst onto the scene in 2013 as a fifth round draft pick out of Iowa.  He quickly earned the respect and trust of the coaching staff.  With a stable of capable cornerbacks in Shields, Williams, House and Hayward there were precious few snaps left for Hyde.  With the safety position suspect, it was Hyde who stepped in to help out as a rookie, in addition to taking snaps as a middle corner in the nickel and dime formations. 

Prior to the 2014 season an adamant Mike McCarthy said, "As far as Micah Hyde, I’m going to say it again, make sure we’re clear: Micah Hyde deserves the opportunity to be an every-down player on our defense.  And as we go into 2014, that’s our responsibility as a coaching staff to create those competitive opportunities for him to get that done.”

True to his word Hyde started the first six games at safety when Morgan Burnett was injured.  When Burnett returned and with highly acclaimed first round draft choice Ha Ha Clinton Dix now entrenched at the other safety, it was a foregone conclusion that Hyde would be playing elsewhere.   With Burnett healthy, the Burnett and Clinton – Dix duo took over and never looked back.

Still Hyde got his snaps on defense and was effective.  In 18 games (including playoffs) he had 13 starts.  He tallied 61 tackles, two interceptions, seven passes defensed, one sack, two quarterback hurries, one QB hit, zero forced fumbles, three penalties committed and 14 solo tackles.  He was thrown at 63 times in coverage and allowed 41 receptions for 410 yards and two touchdowns.

According to ProFootballFocus.com the 2014 season rating for Hyde was minus-4.8 where he ranked number 18 out of 24 Packers defensive players.  He ranked number 44 out of 110 among NFL cornerbacks and also ranked number 66 out of 88 among NFL safeties.

And let’s not forget the excellent job he did as the primary punt returner.  Although he didn’t have the numbers to qualify for the official league lead, he led all returners with at least 12 touches with a 15.8 yard-per-return average.

But the question remains, could the highly-trusted defensive back compete for a starting cornerback position?

When asked about what players stood out at the recent OTA’s, Head Coach Mike McCarthy singled out Hyde and Adrian Hubbard for their play.

"I think (Adrian) Hubbard's had a heck of a spring," said McCarthy. "I thought he did some good things today. Micah (Hyde). Shoot, Micah's old, in his third year. The rookies are still feeling their way, but I think our second-year players for the most part in this limited environment that we work in have made a step."

Hyde, in particular, has taken advantage of the nine-week offseason program to solidify his position as a key defensive player going in to 2015.

As versatile as Hyde has been, which garners him playing time, it also limits him to concentrate on just one position and therefore stymies his opportunities for a starting position.

With one starting boundary cornerback position open and Casey Hayward returning along with the two prized rookie corners, starting will be a steep uphill battle for Hyde.

Yet Hyde is confident and looking forward to being in the mix.

Said Hyde summed up his approach after the just concluded mini-camp, "Just going into this offseason, trying to get my footwork down a little better, get a little quicker, get the strength, because to get ready for this long season, at the end of the season you don't want to die out and not have your strength. Get that going and just relax, just enjoy the last month that you have off and get ready to go, just mentally get ready to go."

Hyde will surely have his work cut out for him in order to win the starting cornerback position or even match the 65.2% of the defensive snaps he recorded last year.  Most observers believe that Hyde is better suited to the inside anyway where his lack of blazing speed can be mitigated.

But with the versatile hard-working Hyde don’t ever count him out.

 

 

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Guisado's picture

Hyde's skill set is best used around the LOS. His flexibility makes him perfect for Capers' various packages. He can provide run support, cover TE's, and man the slot. He doesn't have to leave the field. That's a very important part of this defense. In fact, with the way offenses are being run now, I think that's as important as playing out on the boundaries. I suspect we won't see Hyde out on the perimeter, simply because TT has drafted basketball players to do that. Hyde on the other hand, is a tough SOB football player. He needs to be where the contact is.

Hyde was supposed to be too slow to return punts too, right? He return 2 for TD's just last year! The guy is definitely under appreciated.

Evan's picture

"Hyde was supposed to be too slow to return punts too, right? He return 2 for TD's just last year! The guy is definitely under appreciated."

If I remember correctly, he got caught from behind on a would-be 3rd TD. Just sayin'

I'm a huge Hyde fan, for the record.

SchenySchen's picture

This comment is not about this article. Hoping JerseyAl or someone else from cheeseheadTV reads it. I am new to CheeseheadTV, convert from AllGBP, and I now know why I never read this website. The white typeface on the dark green screen is really difficult to stare at. It wears out your eyes since it is so different. Have you guys ever considered going to a black typeface on a white background? I understand you want Packer colors but my suggestion would be to keep that for the borders and background. Reading on a standard white backdrop is much easier. Perhaps it's my 44 year old eyes....anyway, if you ever consider it, you've got my vote. GoPack!

dobber's picture

I'm going to agree with you: the layout on ALLGBP was better. My primary beef is how lead messages and replies are laid out...the boxes are not necessarily easy to follow as you get deeper into exchanges, and I miss the "reply to..." header that tells you exactly where the message belongs in the exchange. I'll get used to this, but the old was better.

Still...big fan of the content.

Jersey Al's picture

I kind of agree and it's on my wish list, but down near the bottom. At the end of the day, quality content is why we're all here.

SchenySchen's picture

Al,
Thanks for the response. I appreciate it. It is just a suggestion, nothing more. I still enjoy the content. GoPack!

Vrog's picture

I could not disagree more with this statement as I find it's the easiest typeface to read on the entire internet

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Vrog, I agree. I find the site easy on the eyes. I suppose the whiteness of the type could be toned down a shade or two. Hmmm, first nice thing I've had to say about the nuts and bolts of this website.

Tundraboy's picture

I'm with you. White on green!!

LambeauLife1295's picture

Umm. Skipping right over what that last guy said, I think Hyde remains firmly entrenched in his "utility" defensive back role, which his instincts and closing quickness are perfect for. Hes going to leave in free agency when its his time, and he should. Damarious Randall will start on the outside, as he did in mini-camp. And QRoll will challenge him for a spot when Haywards not injured.

LambeauLife1295's picture

And guys, enough. Tuck in your complaints, your priss is showing.

SchenySchen's picture

LL, there's no comment section. It's the only place I could mention it. I gave everyone a warning so you could skip it if you wanted. I am sorry I wasted ten seconds of your life....somehow I expect you'll survive. GoPack!

The TKstinator's picture

Hyde is simply a good football player. He will get plenty of playing time. Nowadays with defenses being so multiple and with such extensive use of sub packages, being named a "starter" doesn't have near the same impact that it used to.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Just the kind of player I like, always goes after it. Plays with spirit, can be used all over the field he has earned a spot to play on this team full time.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

Anyone find it strange that Casey Heyward can't practice with the Packers during OTAs yet he can play in Jordy Nelson's celebrity softball game? Here's a pic of him playing.
http://media.jrn.com/images/b99519422z.1_20150614181137_000_g4abfqda.2-0...

See pic #14 of 18

Evan's picture

I don't know if he played or not, but that's not a pic of him playing.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

fixed

Evan's picture

No, I saw the pic. My point was him high-fiving Clay after a HR is not him "playing."

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

Does anyone know if he played? Evan, you're right. He may have just sat out and gave a post- run scored high five at the plate. If that was the case, I apologize, Mr Heyward.

Evan's picture

I have no idea if he played, but I'd be shocked if he did because of the very point you raised originally.

I'd be willing to bet he was just in uniform and cheering his teammates on.

RCPackerFan's picture

Hyde reminds me of Woodson in his later years when he was more of a CB/S tweener.
Hyde plays that position really well. He is at his best when he can blitz or drop in coverage.
I expect him to play the same roll moving forward.

dobber's picture

There's a reason why TT drafted two guys who can play CB (or S) in the early rounds in May, and that's because he's nervous about the Packer situation at CB. Two reasons: 1. Hayward can't stay healthy, and 2. Hyde is a tick slow to play on the outside and sometimes gets had in man coverage.

We lose track of the kind of security blanket the CB position provided for this defense a year ago. They could play coverage and let the rush get to the QB in its own time. Absent that kind of help, the defense looks worse than it did last year, even with Raji returning up front and Matthews playing significant snaps in the middle.

At this point, they absolutely need Hayward and Shields to stay healthy and play well, and they need help from their CB depth to make the coverage go.

EdsLaces's picture

After reading this and thinking about our number of legit contenders at CB....I got depressed allover again about the quality MLBs we passed on in the draft. We have too many good cbs!!! We didn't need Randall AND Rollins! Just one would have been just fine. D#mnit!

RCPackerFan's picture

What ILB would you have rather have had?

EdsLaces's picture

Anthony...he's gonna be a stud.

RCPackerFan's picture

I liked Kendricks the best. I thought he was the best all around LB.

dobber's picture

I disagree: in the modern pass-happy, salary-cap-muddled NFL you can't have too many cover guys. Whether it's injury (Hayward) or salary-cap attrition (House and TWill), you have to have guys who can play. We'll be glad for both Randall and Rollins before long.

How often do the Packers have two ILB on the field? Pretty much in base and short-yardage, and that's about it...and CMIII is going to be that second ILB a significant portion of the time.. Someone did the math and short-yardage/base snaps came up to less than 35%.. Many have argued that ILB is a devalued position and this is why.

I'm still perplexed on some of the good OLB the Packers passed on in the draft....

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Dobber, I gathered the raw data and commented in Thompson Bolsters Depth And Special Teams (5/2/15). I concluded that GB has 2 LBs on the field at the same time more than 56% of the time (I didn't count any snaps that CM3 may have played at ILB). Idiot Fan ran it through a random number generator (thereby largely losing me with his methodology) and concluded it was 32%, the number you are remembering. Since I didn't know Idiot that well, I didn't challenge his math, though I think his math is actually incorrect.

That said, I think we will be happy we double dipped at CB, but I didn't think we needed to use our 1st and 2nd round picks. I thought there was good depth at CB, so I would have taken Malcom Brown in a heartbeat at #30, been delighted to find Rollins at #62, and then found a good CB candidate as late as the 5th round and taken a flyer on Ipo whatever his name was in the 6th or 7th. I like the talent at ILB, though I grant not enough of it is proven.

Idiot Fan's picture

Side note: Jeff, I love the picture you chose. Remember the time that GJ said that Rodgers was good because of receivers around him, and Ponder was bad because of receivers around him? That was funny.

Lphill's picture

Should be competition for all the corner positions , I am not sold on Shields , think he got overpaid and he is never in the discussions for top corners in the league , let the best man win.

lou's picture

I would best describe Hyde as today's version of Mike Prior, an invaluable overall contributor to the Packers defense and special teams. Even with Desmond Howard on the roster, when Mike Holgrem needed a fair catch to seal a game, it was Prior not Howard who was deep. Hyde should have a long and successful career in Green Bay just like Prior did, it has to be a comfortable feeling for the coaching staff having him available.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Sorry, Jeff, I am counting Hyde out of the conversation for outside CB. I'm positive that there is a recent Joe Whitt quote in which Coach Whitt essentially excludes Hyde from such consideration. If we see Hyde playing outside, it is because all the rookies and Hayward failed or are injured, and it would not be good news.

To be clear, I love Micah Hyde, he's the quintessential football player. If he plays outside, he will play it as well as his physical ability allows a person to play the position.

gr7070's picture

If Casey Hayward can stay healthy he'll show he's the best defensive player on the roster.

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