Can the Packers Trust Safety Kentrell Brice in 2018?
I think trust is an interesting word to use here. It sort of seems to get at this idea of being able to really rely on a player to do what they’re supposed to do all the time. That’s what trust is, right?
In that sense, no. I don’t think we can trust Kentrell Brice all season. We saw why in Week 2. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings managed to victimize Brice on two important touchdowns late in the game:
The deep shot to Stefan Diggs. If Brice does a few things differently, he may be able to get over and help Davon House.
The touchdown pass to Adam Theilen in the fourth quarter. Brice took a really odd line to the ball and looked like he may have been trying to avoid Jaire Alexander, and it looked like didn’t do anything at all. He didn’t get the ball, he didn’t get Thielen, he didn’t get Alexander – he didn’t get anything! He just kind of went flying off to the sideline.
From that perspective, I don’t think you can trust Brice. If you’re trusting him to do the right thing every time, or at least even most of the time, it seems that that’s going to be a problem. That said, I think there’s a related question here.
Is Kentrell Brice good enough to win with in Green Bay?
This cuts deeper into the issue of what the Packers are getting from the safeties. I still think that no matter how good Brice ends up being this season that the Packers should have done more to upgrade their safety position this year.
If the Packers had signed a guy like Eric Reid for even $2 to $3 million and figured out the safety group as you went along, you could still phase Kentrell Brice or Josh Jones in if he’s the guy you want for the future.
As a replacement for Morgan Burnett, I still think Kentrell Brice is probably good enough to win with by and large this year. He’s not an upgrade for your safety position and is going to give you the status quo from last year. As you’ll remember, Morgan Burnett tailed off pretty good last year. He was aging and was pretty beat up just because of the way that he plays.
Brice’s issues seem correctable to me. You can work on taking different lines to the ball – although it hasn’t seemed to help Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at all. You can improve your reads. You can get more comfortable playing in Mike Pettine’s defense.
As you’ll remember, Brice was Mike McCarthy’s top-graded defensive player in Week 1. It’s not like he can’t be good.
Is a guy you can trust to do everything correctly and be a real leader on defense? No, I don’t think so. But, he is a guy who can be a worthwhile contributor.