Eagles Kevin Kolb, Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin Licking their Chops : Packers Insider

Eagles Kevin Kolb, Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin Licking their Chops

September 2, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Sept 2, 2010 ~ by Rob Reischel

~Kevin Kolb has to be licking his chops.

As the new starting quarterback in Philadelphia, Kolb could face a Green Bay secondary as green as the Eagles’ jerseys when the teams meet Sept. 12.

Barring any dramatic changes, the Packers will open with rookie Morgan Burnett at strong safety and undrafted rookie Sam Shields as their third cornerback.

On top of that, cornerback Tramon Williams has struggled while replacing Al Harris in the starting lineup.

About the only sure things the Packers have in the secondary right now are Pro Bowlers Charles Woodson and Nick Collins.

“Well, defensively we haven’t played the game with everybody on the field yet,” Packer coach Mike McCarthy said. “And that’s something that we’re probably going to have to establish in our practice structure leading up to the Philadelphia game.

“The injuries have kind of kept us from getting the continuity that you would like. It’s a challenge that you face at some point almost every season, so I think that’s where we stand defensively right now.”

Green Bay’s secondary was a major reason its 2009 season ended so abruptly.  

WR's Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and TE Brent Celek expect to have a big opening game versus the same Packers defense that sent Favre, Roethlisberger, and Warner straight to Canton last season.

  Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-45 overtime win during a NFC wild-card game.

The Packers’ secondary was also exposed during a pair of losses to Minnesota and another to Pittsburgh last year.

In those four games, the trio of Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Warner combined for 15 touchdown passes, zero interceptions, 1,397 passing yards and an average passer rating of 140.3.

Now, eight months later, the only likely changes in Green Bay’s secondary will be Burnett replacing Atari Bigby and Shields taking over as the nickel cornerback.

“I wouldn’t call it scary,” defensive end Ryan Pickett said. “We’ll just have to go play good football.”

The Packers haven’t done a great deal of that in the preseason. And while many were giddy over Green Bay’s 59-24 rout of Indianapolis last week, the secondary struggled early and put the Packers in a 17-7 hole.

On the Colts’ opening drive, quarterback Peyton Manning marched his team 67 yards in just two plays. After a 49-yard run by Joseph Addai where Burnett missed in the hole, Manning rushed the Colts to the line of scrimmage.

Collins was still hollering instructions to Burnett when Manning snapped the ball. Left cornerback Brandon Underwood barely moved, Pierre Garçon ran right past him and Collins was late to arrive on what was the easiest 18-yard touchdown you’ll ever see.

“We had miscommunication out there,” Packer defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “The guy ran right by us and that’s one of those things where when you’re playing against a no-huddle offense, it’s going to be fast paced after a big play. Everybody’s got to communicate. We had two or three guys that weren’t on the same page there.”

The Packers weren’t on the same page early on.

Just 21 seconds into the second quarter, Manning hit Reggie Wayne for a 10-yard touchdown on a slant route against Williams. At that time, the Colts already had 206 total yards, including 144 through the air.

That followed a disturbing trend in which Cleveland’s Jake Delhomme (106.0 passer rating) and Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck (120.7) had success against Green Bay’s No. 1 defense – especially in the passing game.

To Green Bay’s credit, it did improve substantially as the Colts’ game went on.

In fact, Burnett intercepted a Manning pass late in the first half, and Shields picked off reserve quarterback Curtis Painter late in the game. Collins also got his hands on a pair of Manning passes, and Burnett broke up another pass.

“I think it was a pretty good night,” Burnett said afterward. “Anytime you come away with a win, that’s a good night. Personally for me, there are still things I need to work on.

“I’ve still come a long way, but the main thing is to go out and show improvement each week.”

The Packers don’t have much time. And the Eagles – which feature speedster DeSean Jackson and steady Jeremy Maclin at receiver, along with standout Brent Celek at tight end – could take full advantage.

Undoubtedly, Williams has to pick up his game. In the first half alone against Indianapolis, he allowed four receptions for 98 yards.

The third corner, though, is probably an even greater concern. Both Pat Lee and Underwood flopped this summer, opening the door for Shields – a fantastically raw but extremely fast player with 4.28 second speed in the 40-yard dash.   Rest of story here

Help Us! Comment about this Packer Article

This is a community of fanatical Packer fans. Please tell us what you think about this post....