Green Bay Packers: Grading the secondary

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Buffalo Bills running back Bryce Brown (35) is brought down by Green Bay Packers strong safety Morgan Burnett (42) and cornerback Sam Shields (37) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

  • Pre-season Grade: C

Making my original grade predication was difficult with so many questions unanswered at the end of 2013.

I had the secondary close to a (D-) at the close of that year and couldn’t foresee a way that it could improve by leaps and bounds over the course of an offseason.

However, my optimism landed in the middle-of-the-pack.

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I was cautiously hopeful that there wasn’t anywhere to go but up from the year we had just experienced.

Getting rid of Jerron McMillian was the first step. The Packers pulled the trigger on that early and it boosted my confidence.

M.D. Jennings was the next to leave and I felt more comfortable with the direction the secondary was headed. There were still some questions remaining, however.

• Would the Packers be able to re-sign Sam Shields with contracts also needed for wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb?

Shields had arguably one of his best seasons with the Packers and was looking to get paid. In order for the secondary to continue the upward swing, Shields would need to be re-signed.

Tramon Williams and Sam Shields were a fluid cornerback duo – playing nearly every snap together since the 2010 Super Bowl run. With the safety position in such disarray, the corners needed to stay together.

• Would Ted Thompson make a play for popular safety Jarius Byrd in the offseason to give the safety position a veteran presence and an instant Pro-Bowl caliber upgrade?

• Would there be a viable rookie prospect in the draft, and would Thompson consider using a first round pick to find him?

With the addition of Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round, Packers Nation rejoiced.

However, the organization decided to ease him into his role, moving Micah Hyde to safety beside Morgan Burnett … and the Clinton-Dix experiment began.

Next up …

Next: Mid-Season Grade