Charlie and Charles
Woohoo! Just a couple days into training camp we've already got drama!
First things first: less than a day into training camp, Charlie Peprah became a former Packer. If you'll remember, I wrote this line in my safety group preview just over a month ago: "I think the Packers would prefer it if someone was able to bump Peprah out of the starting lineup, if only for the fact that he’s probably reached his ceiling already." I count this "prediction" as being at least 50% correct, since I suppose technically he did get bumped from the starting lineup, but I'm not sure at this point if he was ever even IN the starting lineup. Whatever the case, I'm counting it as a win for me.
But is it a win for the Packers? Obviously they think pretty highly of their safety group if they're willing to let the most experienced guy in the group just walk away. From what I've read, this seems to push M.D. Jennings to the front of the line for the safety spot, but that may change given how they use Charles Woodson. More on that in a little bit.
Peprah has always been a difficult guy to read. He puts up good numbers. He looks the part of an NFL player. But for whatever reason, it never feels like he's in control of the situation. It's probably unfair to compare the two, but think back to when Nick Collins was at the height of his powers. How often did we seem him bait an opposing quarterback into a deep throw, only to swoop in at the last moment and pluck the ball out of the air? (Answer, about 21 times, if you believe NFL.com. So there.) Peprah never seemed to be that guy. When he did make plays, it seemed almost like the plays were happening to him, not that he was making something happen. At any rate, we won't have to try to figure out Charlie Peprah any more.
What we do have to figure out is what's going on with Charles Woodson. According to Packers.com, Woodson practiced with the base defense today as the starting strong safety. But, according to head coach Mike McCarthy, this isn't anything new.
"Charles has played that position. Now he’s just lined up in Okie playing strong safety," says the Packers' head man.
I attribute this more to the quirky ways the Packers use Charles Woodson than anything. Is he a safety? Is he a cornerback? The answer to both is probably yes, since he does a lot of things well. In fact, the best way to describe his position is probably linesafterback. He does a little bit of everything and does it all pretty well. What's most important is that he continues to do what he does at a high level, since a healthy, productive Charles Woodson is extremely valuable no matter where he lines up on the field.
Of course, what this really does is give ammunition to all the people out there following the "is Charles Woodson getting old?" storyline. I can hear thousands of words being written right now: "OMG charlz @ safeT?!!1! He iz teh oldz!!" Yep just like that. You know why they sound dumb? Because it is dumb. Charles Woodson is going to continue to play at the highest level he can, regardless of position. How about we just sit back and watch what happens, okay?
What's not dumb, though, is a cool picture from Packers.com about last year's happenings at Lambeau Field. Enjoy, and make sure you click to enlarge it!