Injuries have hit the Green Bay Packers at a number of position this season. But at this point, no spot has been hit worse than cornerback.
And that hits just keep on coming as Demetri Goodson, who has started recently with Sam Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins all out, is now in the concussion protocol.
Goodson’s chances of playing Sunday are limited. That means Micah Hyde and Josh Hawkins will likely be the second and third corners this week. LaDarius Gunter will be the top guy again.
Against some teams, Chicago for instance, it wouldn’t be frightening. In fact, Gunter has played well against several big-name receivers such as Odell Beckham Jr., Alshon Jeffrey and Julio Jones.
Yet, all three of those players are big receivers. This week, Gunter will be faced with either T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett or Donte Moncrief.
Moncrief would probably be the best match, but do the Packers really want Hawkins and Hyde covering Hilton and Dorsett, a pair of speedsters. Both average more than 15 yards per reception.
“We have a challenge there again this week trying to take the big play away because when you look at them statistically they can strike with the big play,” Packers defensive coordinator Capers said. “They might be No. 1 in the league of four or less plays in drives for touchdowns. That’s always a concern.”
Now Hyde isn’t a bad player. He’s actually a pretty good nickel corner. But out on the outside, he could be vulnerable. Hawkins, a rookie, actually has sub 4.40 speed and is good in man coverage. The question is, will the Packers trust him?
At this point, Green Bay may not have a choice.
The one weakness for the Colts, is the offensive line. So if Clay Matthews returns, which is expected, it could make a big difference. But with his bottom three corners all playing, don’t expect much blitzing from Capers, who pressured (sent 5 or more) less than 10 percent of the snaps against the Falcons.
That means getting pressure with the front four will be essential. Stopping the run and limiting the play-action game will also help. But in the end, the secondary simply needs to step up and limit big plays.
If not, the Colts could have a chance to pull the upset, in a game that is must win for the Packers.