Ty Summers has a blunt assessment of his first snaps on defense in the NFL: not great.
“Thank goodness it was enough to help us get a win,” he told reporters Tuesday, painting a grim picture of his performance in relief of Christian Kirksey, who left Sunday’s game against the Saints in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
In the game on short notice, Summers barely had time to think, much less appreciate the significance of the moment. In the blink of an eye, the former seventh-round pick went from having never played a single snap on defense to facing off with one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history and his explosive sidekick.
“I didn’t even really think of the fact that I was lined up against Drew Brees or Alvin Kamara until the second or third series I was out there.”
Unfortunately for Summers, he got an up-close-and-personal look at exactly how dangerous Kamara can be. Summers was one of about half a dozen Packers who missed Kamara as he wove his way to a 52-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.
It wasn’t all bad, though. Summers played 44 snaps for the Packers, racking up a team-leading nine tackles in the win. Still, he says that’s not good enough, no matter what anyone might try to tell him — his wife included.
“My wife tries to tell me I need to focus on the positive, but unfortunately, that’s just not me. I look at the other stuff, the stuff I did wrong, and kind of focus on that,” he said. “For me, it’s always the ones I left out there, and I know that long one on Kamara there, that could have really helped us.”
With Kirksey likely on the shelf for the near future and 2020 fifth-round pick Kamal Martin still on injured reserve, Summers won’t have much time to dwell on his performance, positive or negative. He’s got bigger things to worry about, like a Falcons offense that’s been productive even in their three losses.
Summers appears to be in line to wear the communications helmet for the Packers’ defense, relaying calls from Mike Pettine to his teammates. Though he’d never done so in a regular-season game, he’s actually quite familiar with the sensation of having a coach in his ear: he wore the helmet whenever he was on the field for the entirety of the 2019 preseason. He says it’s a lot less complicated than people might be led to believe, even if he was doing it for the first time with a non-scout team defense.
“Hear the call, give the call. It wasn’t too difficult,” he said.
Now, he’ll prepare to take on Atlanta in another prime time game, knowing ahead of time that he’ll be getting a significant number of snaps in the middle of the Packers defense. Summers says he’ll be ready, no matter what his role might be.
“The bottom line is I’m always trying to prepare like I’m going to play, regardless. I know if I’m active, there’s always a chance that something happens and I’m in there.”