Tuesday, September 11, 2012

If You Allow A Touchdown To Randy Moss, You Find A Seat On The Bench

At first, it was hard to tell which defensive player was supposed to be covering a wide open Randy Moss when he caught a touchdown last Sunday. S Morgan Burnett was the closest player, but he was jumping up-and-down angry and he seemed to be mad at someone else. LB D.J. Smith didn't drop back in coverage, but that might not have been his responsibility. Finally, S M.D. Jennings came into the screen right after the catch, and I did notice that rookie S Jerron McMillian played during the second half. Jennings has now confirmed it:
I've never been very impressed with M.D. Jennings, but he had never before seemed like an obvious liability. A blown coverage is the type of play that keeps a young defender glued to the bench. Back in 2009, the Packers released one safety, and benched another, after Aaron Rouse (Bengals in week 2) and Derrick Martin (Vikings in week 8) botched assignments in the secondary.

I don't think McMillian is ready, and neither do the coaches if he was a reserve to start the season, but I do like his potential. Maybe the solution is to let Charles Woodson spend more time at safety, but it's not like the situation at cornerback is really solid either. Bears QB Jay Cutler has noticed the Packers' problem.

On a somewhat related note, the Packers have one less player in the defensive backfield with the release of CB Brandian Ross because they needed a roster spot for LB Erik Walden. Ross was a surprising addition to the 53-man roster, and with 11 defensive backs on the roster, I thought one of them would have to go to make room for Walden, once he was reinstated.

I expect the Packers will use Walden on special teams, and maybe even a few plays on defense. He will be good in that role; he's just not an every down starter. I wouldn't be surprised to see M.D. Jennings left inactive so that Walden can play on Thursday night.

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