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Delayed Impact: How Releasing Peprah Alters the Green Bay Packers Safety Battle

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 25: Charlie Peprah #26 of the Green Bay Packers intercepts a pass against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2012

As was reported across the Internet, the Green Bay Packers have simplified their decision at safety by cutting veteran Charlie Peprah.

Peprah was considered to be right in the thick of the position battle with both rookie Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings, but obviously that's not happening now.

It's easy to speculate why Peprah might have been cut—while he churned out interceptions, he was burned in coverage far too often, and the team has players with more upside and youth. Add to it offseason knee surgery, and the reason could be any number of things.

Plus, it's not really all that important compared to the trickle-down effect in the secondary.

The Packers still have multiple options here, which will serve as well as—in many cases, better than—having Peprah as a starter.

In the linked training camp article above, I said it was a lot to ask McMillian to begin the year as a starter, but I also expected him to take over somewhere during the 2012 season.

Now he's in a similar spot as fellow rookies Jerel Worthy and Nick Perry in that more could be expected of him in a shorter span of time. While he may have some rough moments, McMillian has the talent to succeed and, with a better pass-rush and vets like Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams, a ton of experience to draw from.

They also could go with Jennings, a tremendously hard worker who is a little lighter than teams like their safeties to be. The guy lives in the film room, though, and half of a defensive back's job is learning tendencies from film, so he could prove to be very adept despite his size issues.

Of course, it's very likely that the two players split time—each getting some significant looks in different packages.

There's also the ever-present possibility that Woodson could move to safety full time, leaving one of the other corners (Davon House, Jarrett Bush, Sam Shields or Casey Hayward) to take over for him.

I actually find this not as likely for a couple of reasons we've covered here before, not the least of which is that Woodson already plays some snaps as a third corner or extra safety—the "Corner Okie" scheme.

Also, the drop in talent from Woodson to anyone else on the roster is significant—he has more value at corner than safety right now.

Regardless, we will be seeing a lot of moving around in camp, as McMillian and Jennings (or perhaps a mystery guest) try to ramp up their game to fill the void left by Peprah's departure.

The upshot here is we will get a much quicker look at what the team has in these young safeties. If nothing else, that's a big positive coming from the situation.

 

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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.

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