Packers XLV

What The Loss of Woodson Means

Posted October 22nd, 2012 @ 07:10pm

Let's start with this: at 37, Charles Woodson is not the player he was even two years ago. His collarbone injury will sideline him for at least six weeks, further testing a unit beset with injuries. Some will say, 'let the young guys step up; the defense won't miss a step. Charles hasn't been the dominant player we've grown to love anyway.'

I beg to differ. True, Woodson is on the back side of Hall of Fame career. He hasn't been the ultimate playmaker so far this season, as he makes the adjustment to more snaps at safety. But his presence on the field as the vocal and spiritual leader of the defense will be missed. For my money, he can't come back soon enough. Hopefully he'll be back for the stretch run in December, when the Pack plays divisional games in four of the last five.

You don't think the presence of Woodson makes the youngsters in that secondary better? Not just on Sundays but all week long? It's a big blow for the Packers who are finally playing at the level we expected to see after being spoiled by a magical 2011 which started with a Super Bowl and ended with a 15-1 regular season.

The good news is the Packers appear to have much more depth in the secondary than they had two years ago when the same injury knocked Woodson out of the Super Bowl. Still get the shakes remembering seeing Jarrett Bush playing corner as Big Ben tried to mount a fourth quarter comeback.

Ted Thompson appears to have hit on Casey Hayward and Jerrion McMillain in this year's draft; and if Davon House can stay healthy he should add another nice corner to put in the mix. It will be up to McMillain and/or M.D. Jennings to show they can handle Woodson's safety spot in the base defense. Assuming Sam Shields returns soon, Hayward should be able to man Woodson's nickel spot.

That means the team will have to hope their rookies are ready to step up and handle this grind of a football season. The timing is good: with the Jaguars and Cardinals (two offensively-challenged squads) coming to town leading up to the bye, the patched together defense will have some time to collect itself before facing stiffer road challenges in Motown and New York.

Losing Woodson shouldn't cause the defense to crash and burn. But getting him back in December will feel like the best present of all, as the team battles for playoff position.

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Comments (10):

It is a big loss, even though he was still getting use to a new position. Yes, he isn't the same player, but he is still pretty damn good and his leadership can't be replaced.

on October 22nd, 2012 at 03:32pm

The loss of Woodson is huge...He is to the Pack what Ray Lewis is to the Ravens. Both players are not at their physical peaks in body or playmaking but their leadership and attitudes can not be replaced. Woodson still has played like a LB in some defensive sets and I do not see anyone else stepping up that way. Devon House may have some of those characteristics but it is too soon to know. This is when the depth has to step up....but please no Jared Bush....leave him on special teams only where he seems to be a good fit on one of the Pack's weaker areas. Injuries are starting to pile up....will be nice to have Ragi..Woodson...Jennings...Benson back for the big hopefull push....GO PACK GO !!

on October 22nd, 2012 at 07:12pm

I concur with OSSG on all points. Perhaps Hayward could not have emerged at a better time, though it may be time to inject an extra set of tackling drills. Woodson could do it all, luckily its not as bad as Lewis's injury.

on October 22nd, 2012 at 09:30pm

Physically the loss of Woodson isn't as big an issue as it would have been even a year ago but, as others are pointing out, he is a leader on the field. Those "communication" issues, cited as a big issue in defensive breakdowns this season, that were happening with Woodson in the lineup probably won't get any better without him. If there's any player that can come back on schedule or maybe even a little ahead, though, it's Woodson. Six weeks will have him back in time to entertain the Vikqueens at Lambeau. Something for the purple to ponder.

on October 23rd, 2012 at 05:39am

First, let me say that I have nothing but respect for the career Woodson has had with the Packers so far. However, the dropoff in his onfield play this season has been noticable to me. Is it possible his dropoff in play, like Driver's, is happening a bit faster than we all hoped? I think we will definitely miss Woodson's passion on the field but don't we keep hearing that AJ Hawk is the defensive leader/play caller? Time to step up, AJ, and be that leader. We have got a lot of young guys in the secondary. Let's see how they do in these games against Jax and Arz. I for one am excited to see more of Hayward and House out there. Time to see what exactly we got. And here's hoping Charles has a quick and complete recovery so we get him back for that December run.

on October 23rd, 2012 at 08:55am

Cane, you can do better than that. No one, and I mean no one really believes Woodson is our best defensive player this year. I would have given you more credit if you had called him an aging hack that has only gotten called for holding half as much as he's committed it. A statement of that nature would have been much harder to argue with, but yours is just plain silly. There is no doubt Matthews is the best player on defense. Williams is the best corner we have. Woodson may have had the most experience, but I'm not sure you could even call him our best safety. He was a Swiss army knife (and a good one) that you could use to do just about anything. Now when we need a bottle opener, we'll need to use one. When we need a screwdriver, we'll need to go the toolbox and get one. When we need an interception, we'll have to put in Hayward. The next two games will be won or lost by the tools at MM disposal and how well he knows how to tune them.

on October 23rd, 2012 at 09:36pm

He's the best player on your D. Quit pretending otherwise. You'll be lucky to split your next two games.

on October 23rd, 2012 at 10:03am

There's no sense in kidding around - losing Woodson is a significant hit. But it's not one that can't be overcome. The younger guys are stepping up and improving every week. I agree with Trashman that Woodson's contribution isn't what it was the last two seasons, but hey, you can't go forever. Hayward might be the major pickup in the draft this year. And (surprise, surprise) I'm going to have to disagree with Cane's assesment - at this point I'd have to put Matthews ahead of Woodson as the best player on the D, even before this injury. Capers will get this figured out. At this point in time, the Vikings' D has it together more than the Packers' D, but that doesn't mean they don't have plenty of upside. It's a long season, and CW should be back just in time for the first Vikes game. It's still a long way's off, but we're all looking forward to it. Between now and then, everyone else will need to step it up.

on October 23rd, 2012 at 10:47am

Certainly Woodson's physical skills are not what they used to be. But thinking about him is something that defensive coordinators are not going to have to worry about. That is something that he brings that will be hard to replace. Having him on the sideline is not the same as having him on the field but giving the young guys a chance to play against a couple of lesser opponents should help with their confidence level. Just like in 2010, it is gitcheck time and time to see what the Packers really have.

on October 25th, 2012 at 06:02pm

This looks like another train wreck with Woodson leaving for 6 weeks. The rookies are rookies and the #1 pick is a VERY AVERAGE linebacker. This was a bust pick for TT. I can hear the TT teeth grinding now on that one.

on October 25th, 2012 at 06:15pm

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