The Packers have one of the best groups of cornerbacks in the NFL, but, as they learned last year, injuries can change everything.
In reality it took three of the top five guys getting injured for the meltdown that occurred to take place. Now, Green Bay must hope that its players can fully recover in time for its 2010 season.
Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams will be healthy to start the season, but Al Harris, Will Blackmon, and Patrick Lee could all be question marks. These players will need to stay healthy if the Packers hope to stand a chance against quarterbacks like Brett Favre and Tom Brady this year.
Al Harris, Will Blackmon, and Patrick Lee: Harris’ injury is the least likely to be fully recovered by the start of the season. Williams proved last year that he can handle himself in Harris’ absence, but someone will need to take over the nickel duties.
If Harris can play in the nickel for the start of the season the Packers should once again have a solid rotation in place. Otherwise, Blackmon will be reintroduced to his old role and Lee will be the backup plan should Blackmon get hurt again.
On a side note, Patrick Lee, having been a second-round pick, is viewed as a possible long-term replacement for Woodson or Harris; he’ll need to make big strides this season to remain part of that conversation.
Changes in 2010
While the Packers failed to add any new talent to this group through the draft, the unit as a whole should still look totally different than the one that was shredded by elite quarterbacks in 2009.
Coaches feel confident in the abilities of their guys as long as they can remain healthy, and chances are the Packers won’t see as many injuries this time around.
In the worst-case scenario if the Packers did end up in a situation similar to last year’s, rookie safety Morgan Burnett or Atari Bigby could help to slow any dropoff in coverage talent by helping out in the nickel.
Position Grade: B+