Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Maybe CB Jason Horton blew the coverage that led to the game winning field goal Monday night because he was injured? Horton injured his shoulder on October 23rd, was given more playing time after CB Joey Thomas was released on November 2nd, and played the entire game (as far as I could tell) whenever the Packers went into nickel coverage, including in the final minutes of the game on Monday. But today his month old shoulder injury is so bad that he is placed on injured reserve and he can't play for the rest of the season? If this was punishment for his bad play on Monday, then why not just release him? Do the Packers want Horton out of their sights for the rest of the season, but want to keep their exclusive free agent rights for 2006 just in case? In any event, Horton's season is done and the Packers signed CB Jerron Wishorn from the practice squad to take his place. It would seem CB Mike Hawkins is the nickel cornerback, but I can't remember seeing Hawkins actually play in a game in several weeks. The Packers have usually brought S Marviel Underwood into the game when they play with a sixth defensive back.

Despite the revolving door of nickel cornerbacks, the Packers defense has improved to an average NFL defense, according to Football Outsiders. This is quite an accomplishment, considering the Packers do not create a lot of turnovers and has made the transition to a new scheme while using almost the same personnel from last season's 29th best defense. Last offseason I thought that if the Packers defense could improve to an average unit, then the Packers will have a great 2005. Unfortunately, I didn't expect K Ryan Longwell to be the first half season Loser League MVP and the Packers great run offense to completely collapse.

The Packers made two other moves this week; releasing WR Chad Lucas and S Earl Little. Lucas was signed for depth a couple of weeks ago, but with the return of WR Robert Ferguson, Lucas wasn't needed anymore. Little was signed as a free agent last offseason to compete for the starting free safety spot. FS Nick Collins emerged early as the starter in training camp and Little was moved to a backup roll almost immediately. A hamstring injury ended Little's season on October 29th and his release ended his career as a Packer.

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