Aaron's Answers: Who emerges at cornerback?
Throughout the offseason, I’ll be answering reader questions in a weekly mailbag here at PackersNews.com. If you’d like to submit a question in the future, just email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
The rookies are in town for the start of the Packers' rookie orientation camp where the team will get its first look at the newest additions. Meanwhile, I’m here to answer any and all questions you might have about the rookies, the veterans, the staff — anything having to do with the Packers. Let’s get to it.
From Matt Fisher:
Assuming Kevin King and Davon House are the top two corners outside, then who do you think will cover the slot? Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins or do they use Josh Jones in the slot role like Micah Hyde?
Obviously, there’s a long way to go here, with a lot to play out through the offseason and training camp. While I agree King and House could very well be the starters on the outside, that’s not even close to a given, especially with the Packers' track record of bringing rookies along slowly. (Remember, it took Ha Ha Clinton-Dix several games to start seeing regular snaps, despite being a first-round pick used to shore up a position of weakness the season prior.)
That said, I do think the competition for both the perimeter and interior spots along the secondary will be the most intriguing battle to watch during training camp.
When it comes to the slot, it will most likely come down who shows the most as a run defender. Hyde eventually won that spot full time over Casey Hayward because he was much better against the run, which they need from that position because they are in nickel so much.
Randall and Rollins both rotated in the slot last summer, which I expect to see again this camp. Jones and King undoubtedly will get looks there as well. It’s going to be one hell of a battle.
From Barrett Wells:
Last year, Denver had to play a prime-time game with their head coach being their special teams coordinator. I was surprised it wasn't Wade Phillips, and it made me think of who our one-week replacement would be. My initial thought was Edgar Bennett, but then again I was wrong about Wade Phillips being first in line for Denver.
Barrett, most likely that person would be Winston Moss, whose official title is Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers. Bennett has risen up the ranks throughout the years and undoubtedly would be capable, but Moss has been McCarthy’s right-hand man for some time now.
From Nate Heise:
I am just wondering if the Packers could be looking to add Elvis Dumervil possibly? I know he was hurt quite a bit the last couple years, but he had something like 17 sacks a couple of years ago. Just thought this could be a great fit, and might be able to get him cheap while still adding a pass rusher.
It’s a possibility, and something I’ve been advocating for a while now during my Facebook Live chats. I think it makes a world of sense, especially now that the Packers have come out of the draft with one lone edge rusher in Vince Biegel.
Now, there’s a reason he remains unsigned heading into early May. Yes, he posted 17 sacks back in 2014, but since then he’s posted a total of nine sacks. He also only played in eight games last season due to injury.
If the Packers were to sign him, it would have to be a dirt-cheap deal, and even then there would be no guarantee he’d make the roster. It’s hard to justify keeping a roster spot open for a guy who most likely won't play special teams and won’t give your team much outside of third down. But if they feel he can help them get to the quarterback regularly, they may just try to make the room.
From Zach Vandenhouten:
What is one piece of criticism you have for the Packers? (Things like, lack of return on investment of defensive players in the draft, relying too much on young talent, lack of dynamic playmakers over the years, etc.)
I would love your opinion though because you obviously know the team really well and are relatively unbiased unlike a lot of fans.
It’s the same criticism I repeat seemingly every offseason when it comes to Ted Thompson’s Packers, and it’s hardly original. I think most observers have said, at one point or another, that Thompson’s adherence to ensuring his team will be a contender three years from now continually shortchanges his current team. That his devotion to “his guys” ultimately means his coaching staff is operating at a slight talent deficit when compared to the majority of their peers. It’s no mystery why reports of Mike McCarthy’s frustration with Thompson’s approach have popped up over the course of the last few years.
I’ve broached this with Thompson before, in the context of his ongoing youth movement possibly costing his team in pressure situations. Here’s a video from the NFL scouting combine a few years ago.
Thompson certainly has been a bit more active in free agency this offseason, especially comparative to his past few. And I certainly am not advocating for a crazy, irresponsible spending spree each offseason. The league is littered with examples of teams that have burned the candle twice as bright in free agency, only to have their winning burn half as long.
The Packers like to say “It’s hard to win in this league” prior to pointing out how many games they’ve won. While this is certainly true, one does wonder if they’d be pointing to championships instead of games if Thompson were just a tad more aggressive when exploring every avenue of player acquisition.