McCarthy Banking on Tramon Williams and Kevin King to Improve the Secondary in 2018:
Mike McCarthy recently sat down to meet with members of the media and discuss the Packers approach to preparing for the 2018 season. He discussed a variety of topics from taking a “scrub brush” to the offensive playbook in terms of terminology, formations, and design, to the addition of Tramon Williams and players that he expects to make “the jump” in year 2 of their careers in Green Bay.
McCarthy likened this offseason to being like a “year 1” offseason in terms of reevaluating offensive and defensive philosophies, installing new playbooks, and getting new coaches acclimated to the city and organization. Mark Murphy left little doubt that a changing of the guard was coming to Green Bay when he reconstructed the organizational power structure to report directly to him.
This change, coupled with a disappointing 7-9 finish to the season, led Mike McCarthy to replace many coaches on both the offense and defense which has caused the 12-year veteran head coach to reboot and reconstruct Green Bay’s program and culture moving into year 13 and beyond.
Reuniting With a Familiar Face Amidst a Sea of Change:
When discussing the change within the organization, and his offseason plans, McCarthy expressed his pleasure in reuniting with his former Pro Bowl Corner Back Tramon Williams. He praised Williams’s play in Arizona last season and talked about how it looked like “he hadn’t aged a day” since leaving Green Bay.
It is true, Williams did experience a renaissance out in Arizona playing alongside Patrick Peterson and furthermore, it is not a secret that Tramon has spent years learning from his peers, on how to continue to excel as an elite player into his mid 30’s. However, from McCarthy’s praise, it sounds as if he will be leaning heavily on Tramon not just to recapture his elite days in Green Bay where he had 28 interceptions from 2008-2013, but to matchup against opposing teams number 1 receivers and improve on those Pro Bowl numbers at age 35.
Ways in Which The Packers Can Help Tramon Williams Shoulder the Load:
1. Sign Another Corner or Safety in the Second Wave of Free Agency:
Tre Boston, Eric Reid, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Bashaud Breeland are all still available and can be obtained at discounted prices.
2. Trust the Process:
Trust that Josh Jones and Kevin King will make the second year jump like many people within the organization are predicting they will. McCarthy, when meeting members of the media also sang King’s praises saying “I think he’s going to take the jump, he’s definitely got that in him and he’s the right kind of guy”.
Well, let’s hope so! King definitely showed promise and an innate ability to track the ball while battling receivers in coverage. I believe with another offseason under his belt and a veteran in the secondary coupled with Tramon Williams and a refocused and rejuvenated Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Kevin King could become an impact player in year 2.
3. Pray that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is Motivated by his Pending Free Agency:
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix knows that in order to cash in on free agency next offseason, he must put forth his most productive year to date. That means he must come in focused and be a leader on the field, not a toxic force in the locker room.
4. Draft One of the Elite Secondary Prospects:
With the sizable talent in the secondary in the 2018 NFL Draft it is hard to imagine the Packers not grabbing a safety or a corner in the first two rounds of the draft. Depending on how the draft board falls on draft night, the Packers may want to consider trading up for the likes of Derwin James, Minkah Fitzpatrick, or Denzel Ward. Whether they stay at 14, trade up in the first round, or trade down in the first round, an impact player in the secondary will more than likely be staring them in the face.
5. Look for Lenzy Pipkins to Impact the Secondary and Special Teams:
I know that many are still reeling from the loss of cult hero Jeff Janis, but I see Lenzy Pipkins filling the void that Janis will be leaving on special teams. Pipkins spent time covering kicks at Oklahoma St and has a way of sliding past blockers and making open-field tackles in the return game.
Pipkins has also shown promise at corner, he possesses raw ability in his coverage, instincts, and reading the quarterback. He was exposed at times last season, but with another offseason and training camp under his belt he could step in and contribute in passing situations and on special teams.
It is apparent that Brian Gutekunst and his staff have a plan in place, will it be to strike during the second wave of free agency and trade up in the draft, or will it be to resign Davon House and relatively stay put with the draft picks. Whatever, the plan is, there are a lot of moving parts at work, and new coaches and staff at the wheel of this machine, so it will be interesting to see the direction in which they steer the Packers in 2018.——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave