Charles Woodson: How a Move to Safety Improves the Green Bay Packers
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Nnamdi Asomugha might no longer be the best cornerback in football. That honor is likely now bestowed upon Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets.
He's in the conversation, however, and that's really all that matters.
In fact, Asomugha is so talented that former Raiders teammate Charles Woodson (2003-2005) is willing to move out of his natural position, from cornerback to safety, if the Packers are able to secure the services of the four-time Pro Bowler.
Green Bay already boasts one of the best defensive secondaries in the NFL with three-time Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, Pro Bowl corner Tramon Williams and perhaps the most talented young defensive back in the league in former Miami Hurricane Sam Shields.
By adding the 6'2", 210-pound Asomugha, the Packers would become nearly impossible to throw on.
At his core, Asomugha is a shutdown corner. A former college safety, Nnamdi has great size and ball instincts.
As a big corner, Asomugha is known for his ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. He has extremely long arms, quick feet and an incredible football IQ.
Asomugha is also very quick, and his ability to recover when beaten is what makes him a special talent.
The biggest knock against Nnamdi Asomugha stems from the fact that he doesn't follow the other team's No. 1 receiver all over the field.
Instead, the Raiders had their star merely shut down one side of the field and allowed teams to game-plan to throw to the other.
What has resulted for Asomugha is boredom. The 31st overall pick in 2003 out of UC-Berkeley has only been targeted around 30 times per season since his eight-interception campaign in 2006.
Quarterbacks shy away from the corner on reputation alone, which really speaks to his legend. In contrast, Darrelle Revis was targeted 111 times in 2010 as he blanketed the primary pass catcher on every team.
If Asomugha comes to Green Bay, the only way to make his contract worthwhile would be to stick him in the Revis shadow role.
Asomugha needs to be put in the proper position to make plays. Letting the opposing offense know his exact positioning before every snap does not help in that regard.
If Asomugha is added to the roster, the Packers would become overloaded at the cornerback position. As a result, 2009's AP Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time Pro Bowler Charles Woodson has publicly stated that he would move to safety.
At this stage of his career, that might not be a bad idea.
What should the Packers do?
At 34 years old, Woodson is still a great player, but he is on the downside of his career. The first thing to go for a corner is usually his speed.
By moving him to safety, the Packers can hide Woodson in the middle of the field and allow him to read quarterbacks and make plays. This is Woodson's greatest strength, as evidenced by the 30 interceptions he has netted over five seasons in Green Bay.
There may be concerns that making more tackles at safety could be a detriment to the broken collarbone that Woodson suffered during the Super Bowl. If he thinks he can handle the punishment, however, then it's still probably the right move.
But the Packers will have difficulty fitting Asomugha into their budget. With a glut of young players, perhaps it's best if the defending Super Bowl champions save some cash for Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji.
Whatever they decide, it might make sense to eventually move Woodson to safety if he plans to keep playing for a few more seasons.
Adding Asomugha to the fold would only guarantee that the Packers would have among the best pass defense teams in NFL history. With the NFL now a pass first league, that's what it takes to win.
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