Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Charlie Peprah Era Comes To A Close

As the Journal-Sentinel noted, it was a little surprising that the Green Bay Packers chose to release Charlie Peprah. I'm surprised that they didn't release him sooner. His 2011 season was horrible, and he was one of the players responsible for the team's worst play of the season: the Hail Mary touchdown pass against the Giants. I don't know if they did him a favor by releasing him now, but at least he's got a month to try and catch on with another team.

Peprah was originally with the Packers as a special teams player for three seasons before he was released in 2009. He re-signed in early 2010, the Packers were really looking for some help on special teams, but he looked better on defense, and he was a solid replacement for the injured Morgan Burnett in 2010. Unfortunately, his 2011 season was a giant step back, despite the five interceptions he recorded, and he was rated by Football Outsiders as one of the worst players at his position.

Of course, the next question is who will replace him at safety? They drafted a safety in the 4th round (Jerron McMillian) and second year player M.D. Jennings is returning, but neither one was seriously considered as a starter during the offseason. There was some talk of moving Charles Woodson to safety, but no one from the Packers seemed in favor of that move. I didn't think much of it either: why move Woodson if he's so good defending receivers in the slot?

However, when the first practice began, it was Woodson on the field at safety and Jarrett Bush at cornerback (another player involved in the Hail Mary fiasco). I'm never in favor of more playing time for Bush, but it's hard to say that Peprah is a better player. Mike McCarthy did an interview a few months ago during which he regretted not giving more playing time to Bush last season, so he's a believer in his ability as a corner and the team did just re-sign him to a new contract. I wouldn't be surprised to see Woodson stay at safety this season.

Bush had been playing the understudy role to Woodson for at least the last couple seasons, so I expect he'll now take over his job in 2012, if Woodson stays at safety. Bush might technically start at corner ahead of Sam Shields, but when the defense goes into the nickel, Shields will be lining up against the outside receiver, and Bush will be covering the receiver in the slot.

I wouldn't think that choosing Bush over Peprah, which isn't a straight swap since it requires moving Woodson to safety, to be a big improvement, but obviously the coaches and GM Ted Thompson disagree. I'm not crazy about either option, but things couldn't get any worse than they were last season, so it doesn't hurt to try.


PackFaninFl said...

Sometimes I referred to Charlie Peprah as "Atari Bigby without the dreads". He was just so limited in his range. It was just a matter of time before he was exposed (guess missing Collins back there just made it all the more obvious)...

My last (positive) memory of Peprah will be his return for a TD at San Diego (thanks to a crushing block by the Claymaker!) and then his *SECOND* interception in that same San Diego game, on the last play, which sealed the victory (he returned it 90 something yards to the San Diego 2 yard line or something)...

Hope he sticks around with some team. His 5 INTs last year are a testament to his veteran savvy at times. But just too limited for today's NFL.

Brandon said...

Tyler Dunne wrote that Peprah was talking about a trip to the Pro Bowl this season, so he probably was more surprised than anyone, and I'm sure he still believes in himself.

There are some teams with some really lousy situations at safety. I too would think a few teams will be looking at Peprah's 5 INTs from last season as a solution.

Bigby might start for the Chargers this year, so a lack of range isn't the killer problem that it probably should be.