Typically, NFL teams do not have much success against one of the top offenses in the NFL when starting their 4th and 5th string Cornerbacks. However, the Green Bay Packers found themselves in that exact situation, and still took the Atlanta Falcons to the wire.
They simply will not be able to make it going forward relying on LaDarius Gunter and Demetri Goodson. Gunter is a young player with some potential, but lacks the experience and explosiveness to take on true number one Wide Receivers. Goodson is a good special teams player, but has not shown a good grasp of the defensive philosophies.
Sam Shields is likely done for the year, though he could still be marked for a return off the Injured Reserve. There are some very real questions about whether Shields would ever be able to play again, much less be rushed back this season. Quinten Rollins may be back in the near future, but Damarious Randall will likely to continue to miss games after undergoing surgery on his injured groin.
All of this leads to the Packers continued reliance on Gunter, Goodson, and Micah Hyde at the slot corner. I’m losing some sleep thinking about TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Phillip Dorsett running past Packers defensive backs for 3 hours on Sunday.
So what are the Packers options at this point? The trade deadline is 3pm today. While it is highly unlikely Ted Thompson would make another trade, there is one glaring option available. Since the Knile Davis trade will not cost the Packers anything, they have their full arsenal of picks available. The Browns already know they are done for the season and may be willing to swap a veteran player for draft picks (although the did the opposite of that yesterday in acquiring Jamie Collins from the Patriots). Joe Haden is a really good Cornerback, is still only 27, and could likely be had for a pick package highlighted by a 2nd or 3rd rounder. This would be a major change from Ted Thompson’s philosophy, would cost the Packers some salary cap room, and Haden comes with his own injury risk. However, it’s the one move that would net the Packers a true number one CB.
There are some options available in free agency too. Antonio Cromartie would provide a veteran presence at the CB position. He has lost a step from his Pro Bowl days, but has good football intelligence, is physical, can play the run, and he still has great ball skills.
Whatever the option is, the Packers need help at Cornerback. The rest of the NFC is struggling too, but the Packers are in danger of letting one injury-riddled position ruin their entire season.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig