Charles Woodson: Packers Will Survive Without Veteran Safety

Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 22, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 20:   Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with teammate Clay Matthews #52 after Woodson sacked Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 20,2011 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Charles Woodson is irreplaceable, but the Green Bay Packers don't need to replace him.

OK, so technically the Pack will have to replace their future Hall of Famer at safety after he broke his collarbone for the second time in three years. According to Jay Glazer, Woodson will miss six weeks:

Big loss for packers. Charles Woodson broken collarbone out 6 weeks

— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 22, 2012

But while the Packers will need to trot someone out there in Woodson's spot, losing him for a month-and-a-half isn't going to subsequently end Green Bay's season. 

Like Gloria Gaynor, the Packers will survive. 

Of course, Woodson's worth is undeniable.

The 15-year veteran may be starting to lose a step or two at the age of 36, but he's still incredibly versatile. When he's not playing strong safety, Woodson moves into the slot and works as a cornerback in nickel packages.

 

He's been on the field for 95.9 percent of the defensive snaps this season, which is fourth most on the team. Even as he continues to see his production against the pass decline, he continues to be a vital weapon against the run. 

Finally, Woodson is a leader. He's someone whom the younger players undoubtedly look up to. He's the first on the field on game days. He's the locker-room presence that every team strives to find.

Nonetheless, despite the sudden absence of Woodson's versatility and veteran leadership—although it's not like his leadership off the field will suddenly disappear with a broken collarbone—the Packers are going to be just fine.

First of all, they have solid depth in the secondary.

Replacing Woodson at safety will likely be either M.D. Jennings or Jerron McMillian, who have gained plenty of experience this season. Meanwhile, Davon House's return means that Packers fans don't have to go through the agony of seeing Jarrett Bush on the field. Moreover, once Sam Shields returns, talented rookie Casey Hayward can move to the slot. 

These aren't all ideal options, but look at Green Bay's schedule for the next six weeks:

At home against Jacksonville, at home against Arizona, bye week, at Detroit, at New York (Giants) and at home against Minnesota.

For those first three weeks, the Packers could survive with a monkey playing safety and a moose playing corner. The next three won't be easy, but Shields should be back by then and the Packers will be closer to finding a Woodson-less identity.

Having Aaron Rodgers, who is back to playing at an unreal level over the past two weeks, always helps a little bit, too. With the offense scoring at will, the pressure for the defense to be perfect eases up a little bit.

Losing Charles Woodson hurts on the surface, but the Packers have enough weapons, the right schedule and perfect style of play to overcome yet another injury.