There were few positives to take away from the Green Bay Packers 36-16 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night but one encouraging thing was the play of rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Yes, he made rookie mistakes, including a missed tackle that led to a touchdown but he also made plays and was physical and whether it’s in place of Morgan Burnett or Micah Hyde, Clinton-Dix needs to get on the field full-time.
The rookie from Alabama posted five tackles, one sack and one pass defense in his NFL debut and at times made plays that reminded me of Nick Collins, the former pro bowl safety, who had his career cut short due to a neck injury.
Clinton-Dix made mistakes last night and he will again but his athleticism jumps off the screen and so does his playmaking ability. Few Packers chased down Russell Wilson last night, he did. He also forced him to throw away another pass on a blitz instead of letting him scramble. He is explosive and he is exactly what the Packer defense needs.
Burnett and Hyde are ok. Clinton-Dix can be special.
That’s why it’s time to stop messing around and get him into the starting lineup for the Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets. On a night of few positives, his play was a bright spot. His athleticism and toughness is exactly what Green Bay needs to defense the likes of Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. He also is the best center field safety to play for Green Bay since Collins.
The safety group needs a shake up and Clinton-Dix is it. He has the ability to be a true difference maker and after all, it’s a young mans game. So after another game in which the defense looked slow and weak again, the time for resting on laurels is over, the time for Clinton-Dix is now.