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Charles Woodson opens camp at strong safety

Charles Woodson Pic Getty Images

The Packers’ Wednesday release of safety Charlie Peprah was a surprise. Peprah started 14 games at strong safety last season, and had five interceptions. He was due just $1 million in base salary.

But the move opened the door for Charles Woodson’s long-speculated position switch. Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin reports that Woodson opened Packers training camp Thursday at strong safety in the base defense. In Green Bay’s oft-used nickel package, Woodson dropped down to cover the slot receiver and M.D. Jennings entered the lineup at safety.

Woodson isn’t moving to safety full time, per se, and will continue to play all over the Packers’ defensive formation. But it sure does sound like he’ll be playing safety more in 2012.

Jennings made the Packers as a longshot undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State last year. Primarily a special teamer as a rookie, Jennings is getting a chance to win a significant role in Green Bay’s sub-package defense.

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23 Responses to “Charles Woodson opens camp at strong safety”
  1. ShimSham says: Jul 26, 2012 10:11 AM

    Don’t read too much into it. They call it ‘base defense’ but they typically play it less than half of the time.

  2. joetoronto says: Jul 26, 2012 10:16 AM

    It makes sense and was inevitable.

    He’s lost a step in his old age but man, dude is a tackling machine and will have enough speed to handle TE’s.

  3. randolph32 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:17 AM

    If the Bears ever get two good Corner’s Peanut Tillman may be right behind him….

  4. ishallcomment says: Jul 26, 2012 10:28 AM

    Packers are in nickle like 75% of the time anyway…

    Dr. J will pretty much be a starter

  5. mdcards4life says: Jul 26, 2012 10:39 AM

    Agree.. you need to have 3 good corners to defend a pass happy league. Woodson is up there in age and it makes sense to transition him to safety and bring in younger players to compete for the vacant corner position. he’s still a solid tackler.

  6. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 26, 2012 10:45 AM

    Anyone else see a problem with M.D. Jennings playing 75% of the time at safety? Oh well, I guess it can’t get any worse than the worst defense in NFL history.

  7. suhdidntstompanyone says: Jul 26, 2012 10:46 AM

    Matt Stafford is going to shred your secondary into tiny pieces

  8. glac1 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:54 AM

    releasing Charlie Peprah as this time surprises me more. If they weren’t confident in what they were doing they’d hang on to him for insurance….

  9. ShimSham says: Jul 26, 2012 10:57 AM

    “Matt Stafford is going to shred your secondary into tiny pieces”

    - And then the Packers backup offense will still win.

  10. mvp43 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:57 AM

    As long as the Packers feel confident that they can score 28 point a game, they can afford to play around with the defense.

  11. beedubyatoo says: Jul 26, 2012 10:58 AM

    Given thed state of the Lions’ defense, the Packers will still out score the Lions. The Pack may have been last in the league in total defense (yards allowed), but were about 15th in points allowed.

    Keep in mind, suh that the score is still kept with most points scored, not yards allowed. Your point is as bogus as your screen name.

  12. bobterwilliger says: Jul 26, 2012 11:05 AM

    “Matt Stafford is going to shred your secondary into tiny pieces”

    Remember when Stafford couldn’t beat the Packer’s JV team in week 17 last year? With the current rate of arrests and pending suspensions, I’d be surprised if Stafford doesn’t have to iron-man it and play in the Lions secondary this year. As a Packer fan, I hate to say it, but the Bears are finishing ahead of the Lions this year.

  13. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jul 26, 2012 11:12 AM

    It’s called designing your defense around the skills of your best players.

    And it’s going to lead to one more Championship. I wonder when us shareholders will vote on expanding the Packer Hall of Fame because our room where we keep the Lombardis is getting kind of crowded!

  14. aaronitout says: Jul 26, 2012 11:21 AM

    Last year was an anomaly for the Packer defense. Nick Collins was the guy that called out everything in the secondary. After a lockout off-season there was nobody on the roster prepared to make the defensive calls like Collins did.

    I’m not saying that M.D. Jennings or even Charles Woodson back at safety will be as much of a quality contributor that Nick Collins was but at least they will have the practice reps at setting the defense and time to adjust to the position.

    The Packers cut Peprah so we don’t have to worry about our safeties being completely out-talented by whomever is on the offense.

    The Packers probably won’t be a top 5 defense like they were the first few years with Capers but I could see a return to the top half of the league which is definitely good enough when you consider how the offense can put up points in bunches.

  15. tsi431 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:40 AM

    Packers were last in defense because Nick Collins was knocked out of football in the 2nd game of the year and Tramon Williams bad shoulder which is still giving him issues today (couldn’t press or tackle).

    You can’t replace those two during the season and expect decent results.

  16. robnel36 says: Jul 26, 2012 12:02 PM

    ShimSham and bobterwillger what a typical packer fan excuse by bringing up meaningless points from the past to try to couter argue the future. By the way Matt Flynn is no longer your 2nd string Graham Harrel is which I don’t know if you watch college football but he wasn’t very good at Texas Tech a pass happy spread offense. What this all means that if Rodgers goes down (which is bound to happen) you can kiss your season good bye. I’ve said all offseason that they need to address the back up QB position but they refuse to do it. Lets see what happens…

  17. textexington says: Jul 26, 2012 12:07 PM

    It doesn’t matter where Woodson plays the Packers are going to win ANOTHER Superbowl this year.Go Pack Go!!!

  18. gregm5s7 says: Jul 26, 2012 12:16 PM

    People have the shortest memories. We’re 1 season removed from the Packers having a top 5 defense in yards and #2 in points, going on the road and beating the Eagles, Falcons, and Bears and winning the superbowl.

    Even if the defense was as bad as some people seems to think, it’s irrelevant. Because the last ranked defense in yards still got the Packers to 15-1, Almost a full calendar year without losing a game. Teams would throw and get soft yardage to try to keep up, more often than not futilely.

  19. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: Jul 26, 2012 12:39 PM

    I love how Packer fans think they are a shoe-in to win the division. You have a good team but it isn’t that good. Both the Bears and the Lions are more than capable of winning the NFCN.

  20. thehatefulnerd says: Jul 26, 2012 1:00 PM

    Couple of points, MD Jennings is perhaps unspectacular but very assignment sure. Dude is solid. But he’s just a caretaker at the position until McMillian gets up to speed.

    There’s also Anthony Levine as depth.

    As for Harrell sucking in college, all he did was light up the record books. Rap on him in the pros is arm strength, but he seems to have addressed that. We shall see.

  21. jjthesportsguy says: Jul 26, 2012 1:09 PM

    To robnel: Most teams with an elite quarterback in the league would have a wasted season if thier number 1 signal caller went down.

    As for the rest of the division, the Bears will absolutely be loaded this year. It will be a dogfight until the end for the division…

    The Lions though? They are going to fall back into the crowd this year. They have done nothing to get better on the field, and have had countless off field distractions. If you’re going to tell me they are getting their running backs back…I’m not sure you can depend on a guy who is one or two concussions away from retirement and a guy coming off an achilles injury to stabilize that position.

    At this point in Woodson’s career, he should be playing safety. He noticably lost a step last year. Many of the upgrades the Packers attempted to make on the d-line are question marks relating to injuries or multiple suspensions to start the season…this defense might not get better and I am a diehard Packer fan, I like 5 minutes from the stadium.

  22. natedawg888 says: Jul 26, 2012 2:45 PM

    The move was inevitable anyways. We’ll see how much he actually plays there.

  23. thetokyosandblaster says: Jul 26, 2012 3:47 PM

    What’s this? A steelers fan and a lions fan trolling a packers post?

    Color me shocked.

    The lions are doomed to battle the Vikings for last in the division. It’s a shame, because there is a lot of talent in Detroit. They’re squandering it with stupid offseason mistakes and in-game tantrums that will forever hold them back.

    The steelers? Please. The Packers will get 7 lombardis before the regressing steelers. The steelers will be lucky to make the playoffs this year, and with an aging defense and a mediocre qb, they’ll be lucky to see the postseason the rest of this decade.

    I’m sorry that your teams are not and never will be as good as the Green Bay Packers.

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