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An Interpretation of McCarthy's Comments on Charles Woodson

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After OTAs last week, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was asked about Charles Woodson and his likely role in the Packers defense in 2011. The coach said this:

"I don't think it's feasible to move Charles around as much as we have in the past. Charles is clearly a playmaker, he's played nickel, dime, corner, safety for us. He'll continue to do those things."


Now that the gut reaction is out of the way, let's actually take a look at what McCarthy did say. He said he doesn't think he can move Woodson around "as much as we have in the past", but that he'll still continue to play various positions. Are you confused yet?

Personally, I think this is a fancy way of saying that even the Packers' defensive coaches don't yet know where Woodson is going to play. He's talented enough to play any of the positions McCarthy listed, partially because of his skill set, but even more so because of his work ethic and preparation. Woodson will play at whatever position is the biggest need. I'll explain after the jump.

Here's my paraphrasing of McCarthy's comments: Woodson has the ability to play various positions in the defensive backfield, but the team is going to limit the amount of shifting he does during the game and allow him to focus on one position at a time. In other words, I think they'll tell him in practice what position he'll play the following Sunday and he'll stay there until the following week.

If the secondary is healthy at the start of the year, with Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Morgan Burnett, and Charlie Peprah all playing, I expect that Woodson will likely play the slot corner role for the vast majority of his snaps on defense. If Burnett or Peprah were to miss time, Woodson would shift back to safety. While the 2010 version of Woodson was moving around in order to cause chaos for the opponent, I firmly believe that his role in 2012 will be a different type of wild card, instead helping to plug holes and ensure steady play in the backfield.

Sure, Woodson will probably see snaps at outside corner, slot corner, and safety over the course of this season. But, barring injuries in the secondary, I highly doubt that he'll see time at every position during a single game.

Do you interpret McCarthy's comments differently? Are they a sign that he'll be the starter at safety?