Ha Ha Clinton-Dix's successor not evident at Packers' practice
GREEN BAY – At the Green Bay Packers' first practice since safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was traded to Washington, it was not possible to get a definitive look at who might replace the departed veteran.
Because safety Jermaine Whitehead was sidelined with an unidentified injury and the media was not allowed to watch full team drills, it still isn’t known what their plan is at free safety.
As expected, both veteran cornerback Tramon Williams and second-year safety Josh Jones saw time with the No. 1 defense during walk-through drills. But without Whitehead practicing, it would be premature to say either of the other two would be the starter.
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It wasn’t a surprise to see Williams there after he played somewhat of a hybrid position Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, lining up in the slot on most downs but also blitzing and dropping into zone coverage. Williams played several games at safety for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in Cleveland in 2016, so he’s familiar with the position.
Moving Williams to safety also would allow Pettine to get veteran Bashaud Breeland on the field.
If Whitehead’s injury isn’t serious and he starts at safety, Jones could slip into Whitehead’s nickel linebacker spot and get the playing time he has desired this season.
Pettine also could use a combination of players in Clinton-Dix’s spot. For instance, he could start Whitehead at safety in the base package and move him down to linebacker and Williams into the safety spot in nickel situations. Or he could move Jones into the nickel linebacker spot and keep Williams at corner.
It’s possible Jones could see some time at deep safety, but Pettine might want to go with proven veterans this week since he’s facing New England quarterback Tom Brady.
In addition to Whitehead, outside linebacker Nick Perry was the only other defensive player not to take part in practice. His injury will be known when the injury report comes out later in the afternoon.
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Quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued his routine of sitting out Wednesday practice so he can receive treatment on his injured left knee. He is expected to return to practice Thursday.
Also, neither Trevor Davis nor Jake Kumerow, both on injured reserve, were on the practice field on the first day they were eligible. Once either of them starts to practice, a two-week window begins in which they can work with the team before a decision on their status must be made.
Both are eligible to return after the Miami game Nov. 11. The Packers could leave either one or both on injured reserve the entire year. They have two designated-to-return options they can use this season and could choose to use them on someone else or not use them at all.