Green Bay Packers: A special season for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
By Brad Miller
NFL players prepare for their season striving for a championship run and maybe to earn a spot with other players on top of their game in the NFL Pro Bowl. Most people would think that would constitute as a very good year.
What may be even more rewarding is if most people didn’t predict you getting to that point. Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix just did that for the 2016 season. His team made it to the NFC Championship game and he got recognized to play in this year’s Pro Bowl. Not too shabby huh?
Let’s roll back the time machine here and park it on late summer of 2016. Back on August of last year I wrote an article for Lombardi Ave on who I thought would be the surprise impact player for the upcoming season.
The article had mixed views. I had a few people comment how this guy was just OK and how he wouldn’t perform at the level to be a top contributor to the Packers defense. A few people thought he couldn’t be relied upon to make that great play in the secondary.
Others viewed him as a role player and not even the best at his position on the team.
You know, I don’t hit the nail on the head 100 percent of the time but I have to say that I called this one correctly.
Third year Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had an impressive season this year, being one of three Packers to make it to the Pro Bowl.
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Clinton-Dix led the team with 5 interceptions. He was second on the team for total tackles with 80 and solo tackles with 62 only trailing S Morgan Burnett on both accounts who had 93 and 70.
Number 21 played fearless and unrelenting all season long being one of the catalyst and one of the signs of consistency on a Packers defense that didn’t always play to a level that we have seen in the past. The secondary, mainly the cornerbacks, fought all season to stay healthy. The Packers lost their All-Pro CB Sam Shields to another concussion at the beginning of the season. This forced the young guys to try to fill his absence. That just never materialized.
When the Packers needed a positive in their secondary Clinton-Dix stepped up his game. He has always answered the bell throughout his career so this should not have been a surprise to people that he could have the year he did.
His high school team in Florida rode his shoulders on their way to a state championship game losing to Falcons RB Devonta Freeman’s Miami Central.
He led NCAA powerhouse Alabama to national championships in 2011 and 2012 beating strong teams from LSU and Notre Dame respectively.
His first two years in the NFL as a Packer Clinton-Dix quietly had 212 tackles, 6 interceptions and 4 sacks. This shows that the production and promise were there he just needed everyone see him play and realize the talent he has.
Why did we not see this coming sooner? Who knows but he has become a major asset to what defensive coordinator Dom Capers does on defense. Knowing that he can be relied upon to do his job well and stay fairly healthy throughout a vigorous and long NFL season is the foundation of a long pro football career.
Next year he will not be creeping on people. The NFL knows who he is now and we should all expect great things to come.