When Ted Thompson, the Green Bay Packers general manager, decided not to select a safety in last year’s NFL Draft, he said he was satisfied with the guys he had in place – Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, and Jerron McMillian.
He felt he had a core of players who would grow into their positions and provide stability at the back end of the Packers defense.
Of the three, Burnett is the most valued and was rewarded with a long-term contract just before the start of the season. M.D. Jennings has gotten the most playing time opposite Burnett and McMillian played his way right off the team. This past week he was released because of his poor performance as the season progressed. He played every defensive snap in the season opener at San Francisco, but as his missed tackles and blown assignments began to mount, he was benched by the third week.
In the meantime, Sean Richardson was getting healthy. After his successful neck fusion surgery last year, the Packers talked about the safety some day making it back onto the field. At 6-2, 216 pounds, Richardson is a physical specimen known for bringing the wood. There’s a reason the Packers stuck with him through the past 18 months. They liked his size and his smarts.
Now he gets his shot for more playing time and the Packers are hoping his physical presence will help solidify a position that’s long been seen as a weakness.
Here’s what defensive coordinator Dom Capers told the Green Bay Press Gazette about Richardson:
“I’ve always liked Sean because of his size. He brings a physical element. He’s been in all the meetings, so I think he’s on top of things mentally with what we’re doing. He gives you another big guy out there that can take down and tackle these big backs, get them on the ground.”
We can only hope that’s the case when the he gets another chance on the field against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Packers, if they are to stop the Falcons’ running game featuring Steven Jackson, they are going to need the back end support of a player like Richardson.
Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what Richardson can bring tomorrow and the rest of the season. The Packers need the boost on defense and he could be one of the guys who could help provide it.
Stay tuned …