The safety position was such a disaster for the Green Bay Packers that they are willing to try anything to improve the position.
Micah Hyde worked with the number one defensive unit at safety over first round draft pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to open OTA’s. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has expressed his desire for Hyde to be on the field for the Packers this season, and that will be tough for him to do at cornerback with Sam Shields, Tramon Williams and Casey Heyward ahead of him.
There was talk all of last season that Hyde’s athletic ability, instincts and ball skills would transfer to safety well. Even with all the trouble at safety last year Hyde was never moved because he was playing very well as a slot corner and the transition would have been too tough to make during the season.
Since it’s only May this could be completely meaningless. The Packers might not want to just hand Clinton-Dix the starting job right away before he’s earned it and has a full grasp of the defense. They did the same thing to Eddie Lacy last year before he clearly earned the starting running back job and DuJuan Harris got injured.
However, the idea that Hyde could make a run at the starting safety job should not be completely dismissed. Last year when Mike Neal was lining up at OLB during OTA’s and training camp that I did not think he would get many meaningful snaps there at all. Through injuries to others and Neal playing pretty well he ended up getting a great deal of playing time at outside linebacker.
Clearly the Packers are big on Hyde– and even though it’s May they value this practice time greatly– so they would not be giving Hyde safety snaps if they didn’t think he had a chance of helping the team there.
“Exactly where he’s going to end up, I’m not sure,” Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lori Nickel. “We like his football ability and playmaking ability, and he’s played nickel, dime and corner for us; he hasn’t played any safety.
“By working him at safety, we’ll see how it works itself out. We think he’s another good football player, and you want to find packages where you can get him on the field so he has a chance to make plays.”
Hyde had 55 tackles to go along with a sack and a forced fumble in 16 games last season. He was the best tackler in the secondary last season and the Packers are probably looking at him as an in the box safety.
Clinton-Dix projects to be more of a deep safety, so maybe if they both play well they could even be on the field together. That would mean less snaps for Morgan Burnett, but if he continues to play the way he played last year that might be warranted.
At the very least Hyde provides more depth at a position that needs it. If Burnett or Clinton-Dix were to suffer an injury the Packers do no have a capable backup unless Hyde can figure out safety.
Whether or not Hyde can transfer over to safety is one of the big things to watch this summer.