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MintBaconDrivel  
#1 Posted : Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:04:46 PM(UTC)
Jason Wilde said:
GREEN BAY — Rather than worrying about whether Tramon Williams will ever regain his 2010 form — something he believes will indeed happen — Joe Whitt wants to see something else happen this season: The Green Bay Packers cornerbacks coach wants Sam Shields and Casey Hayward take their games to the next level.

If they can, the Packers could boast one of the best groups of cover men in the league.

Whitt believes that Williams had a "solid" year in 2012, but because he was almost exclusively matched up with the opponent's best wide receiver, his season was perceived to be worse than it was. The reason Whitt wanted Williams on opponents' top targets was simple: He didn't think Shields or Hayward — or talented but oft-injured fourth cornerback Davon House — was ready to handle such a responsibility. When Williams had his breakout season in 2010, he shared top billing at corner with veteran Charles Woodson, who was coming off winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

This year, Whitt wants Shields and Hayward to earn the right to face off with opponents' top targets, too.

"Last year, (Williams) had tougher assignments. He matched every week against somebody where (in) 2010, we matched him and Wood. This year, Sam's going to have to step up, Casey's going to have to step up or House is going to have to step up," Whitt said.

Williams had only two interceptions last season — both against Chicago on Sept. 13 — and was credited with 22 pass breakups. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Williams played 1,240 snaps over 18 games (including playoffs) and allowed 63 completions in 115 targets for 852 yards, missed six tackles and had an opponent QB rating of 77.2 against him. Against the San Francisco 49ers in the team's season-ending playoff loss, he allowed six completions for 75 yards, according to the site.

Shields and Hayward came on after neither got off to particularly stellar starts in training camp. Shields, in fact, found himself working his way back up from the bottom of the depth chart after House had a strong opening 10 days of camp and Hayward, who was up-and-down initially, started to find his way.

After House suffered a shoulder injury in the Aug. 9 preseason opener at San Diego and Shields suffered an ankle injury against Houston on Oct. 14, Hayward took off. He finished the season having started seven games and played 769 snaps, registering 55 tackles, a team-leading six interceptions, one forced fumble and 25 pass breakups. He finished third behind Carolina's Luke Kuechly and Seattle's Bobby Wagner in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, garnering six of 50 votes.

Per ProFootballFocus.com, Hayward gave up only 33 completions for 456 yards on the season, and opposing quarterbacks had an NFL-low 30.4 passer rating when throwing against him.

As a rookie second-round pick out of Vanderbilt, scouting reports on the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Hayward had him pegged as a slot corner. While he did play well in that role, especially after Woodson broke his collarbone and missed nine games, the Packers believe he can be a full-time corner and play inside or outside.

"Casey Hayward is just a natural football player. Obviously, all these professional athletes are very athletic and have a high level of ability and skill set. Casey is exceptional in that he makes it look really — it comes very natural to him," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's very fluid in everything he does , hand-eye coordination, excellent hands. He's a very good young player."

The Packers won't need Hayward to play outside very often, though, if Shields plays the way he did after he came back from the ankle injury. Despite missing six games, he played 742 snaps and finished with 50 tackles, four interceptions and 21 pass break-ups in 12 games, including playoffs. His pick-six interception against San Francisco in the NFC Divisional Playoffs punctuated his return to form after a disappointing second season in 2011. He also was vastly improved as a tackler.

Shields missed most of the offseason after the restricted free agent waited in hopes of a long-term deal before signing his one-year, $2.023 million RFA tender on June 3.

He could make himself a ton of money on the open market next March — if the Packers let him get there — if he plays this season the way he played down the stretch last year.

"It's all on me. I've got to go out there and ball out. Do what I've been doing and it speaks for itself," Shields said. "I just have to ball out this year and then go from there. I want to be a Packer. I really don't want to go anywhere else. I've been here. I started here and I just want to keep continuing to be with the Packers."
User is suspended until 4/29/2043 11:56:55 PM(UTC) texaspackerbacker  
#2 Posted : Thursday, July 11, 2013 9:12:41 PM(UTC)
Yeah, me and Joe Whitt think that Tramon did pretty decent covering A level opponents' receivers last year. I really hope nothing happens to make him gone this year, as I expect him to be as good or better again.

Hayward, Shields, House, maybe even a couple of others, wow, we are rich at probably the most important defensive position.
nerdmann  
#3 Posted : Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:09:49 PM(UTC)
texaspackerbacker said: Go to Quoted Post
Yeah, me and Joe Whitt think that Tramon did pretty decent covering A level opponents' receivers last year. I really hope nothing happens to make him gone this year, as I expect him to be as good or better again.

Hayward, Shields, House, maybe even a couple of others, wow, we are rich at probably the most important defensive position.


Tramon talked a little too much shit before he went up against Megatron last year.

But I expect him full strength again this year.
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