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Whitt dismisses notion that Woodson slipping

Nov. 6, 2013 11:15 AM
 
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When asked to assess the play of cornerback Charles Woodson this season, Packers cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. said on Monday without hesitation: “Very solid, very good.” Woodson intercepted nine passes last season and was named the NFL defensive player of the year. This year he has two picks, but Whitt dismisses the notion that Woodson is slipping. “He probably has covered better this year, he’s been more consistent, his assignments have definitely been more consistent,” said Whitt. “He just doesn’t have the interceptions.  If he had the nine interceptions and led the league in interceptions, nobody would say a word. He’s actually played a more consistent game than last year when he won defensive player of the year.” Woodson has been asked to cover slot receivers more often this season while Tramon Williams and Sam Shields cover outside receivers, leading some to speculate that Woodson is being put in that position because of his declining skills. Whitt strongly disagrees with that notion. “That is not the case,” said Whitt. “Let me explain exactly what we do. He is a very impactful player inside. The development of Sam Shields and Tramon gives us the opportunity to play him inside. The one game we did not have Sam in Detroit early on we played Wood back outside, because the most important thing is to control verticals outside. He is still our best defensive player, let’s not get that question. “He gives us the best opportunity to win. He gives the defense the best opportunity to win when he’s inside because they can’t account for him. He’s such a great tackler. He makes so many impactful plays inside. Now Sam and Tramon with their cover ability gives us the opportunity to do that. If one of those guys' coverage fell off, (Woodson) would go right back outside. He is still the bell cow of the secondary.”    Whitt points out that Woodson is second on the team in tackles and third on the team in run tackles. Whitt marvels at Woodson’s unselfishness.  “It would be easy for him to drop coverage and come out of coverages and do things that are outside the scheme of the defense but that’s why we’re the No. 1 scoring defense in the league because he’s not doing those things,” said Whitt. “He’s buying in, he’s doing extra time, he’s taken Sam Shields under his arm and being a leader.”

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