Packers Counting on Competition to Increase Production at Safety

Packers Counting on Competition to Increase Production at Safety

One thing seems certain at the start on training camp: the Packers depth/talent at safety is much improved
(WFRV-TV) - When the Packers drafted Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with their first round pick, many pegged the former Alabama star as an instant starter.

But since day one of the off-season, second year man and converted corner Micah Hyde has stood in his way.

"This organization is great as far as the players around," said Clinton-Dix of the competition at safety.  "From Morgan (Burnett) to Micah (Hyde), to (Chris) Banjo to Sean (Richardson).  All those guys have tried to help me out a lot.  We're just competing.  At the end of the day it's a job and the best man will win it."

The best man so far looks like the hybrid defensive back Hyde, who's worked with the starters and received praise over and over from the coaching staff.

"Micah Hyde is a very natural, fluent football player," said Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy.  "Instinctive, very bright.  He just really needed the off-season to start from A through Z going through the defense, particularly at the safety position there's so much communication that is involved.  Obviously his experience playing nickel and corner would help him with that to see how it all fits together."

Complicating the competition is the fact Morgan Burnett has missed the better part of the last two practices with an ankle injury, and even when everyone's healthy there's a lot of movement in Dom Capers multiple defenses.

"Moving around a lot, I enjoy it," said Hyde who could still see snaps in as a corner in nickel and dime packages.  "It's helped me learn the defense as a whole, and it's given me the opportunity to get in the box, be back deep, see the whole field or go up and press a man and have a 1 on 1 with them.  I enjoy it, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Packers safeties didn't come up with a single interception or forced fumble last season.  In fact, it was the first time that position didn't produce a pick in more than 50 years.  But so far in camp it hasn't just been Hyde or Clinton-Dix receiving more reps, Sean Richardson has shown up with a pair of interceptions.

"Anytime someone's not there, it gives someone else an opportunity," McCarthy said of Burnett's injury.  "They're able to get more reps, more opportunities.  I think  Sean Richardson has had an excellent training camp so far.  I like the young guys so far."

Now the Packers hope the increased competition leads to more production from that position, no matter who's playing it.
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