Last year, without former Pro Bowl Safety Nick Collins back deep, the Packers' secondary gave up a lot of big plays through the air and on the ground as a result of poor tackling.
Now, with Nick Collins gone for good, and Charles Woodson the starting safety in the base defense, the Packers are still searching for one of their young, unproven safeties to seperate themselves from the group. So far, the likes of the group, which includes early favorite M.D. Jennings, fourth round pick Jerron McMillian out of Maine, and former undrafted third year safety Anthony Levine, have all seen time with the first team, but have not done enough to be deemed the starter.
Meanwhile, with the shoudler injury to Davon House, who looked primed to take the spot early in camp, the right corner spot oppostie Tramon Williams remains open, as Charles Woodson functions best out of the slot. This is also a three way compeition between Jarrett Bush, a standout special teams and hustle player, who can be too over aggressive at times and give up too many big plays; San Shields, who saw a big dip in production in his second season after the Packers' 2010 Super Bowl run in which he played a big part; and second round pick Casey Hayward out of Vanderbilt, who is raw but holds the most upside of the three.
As it stands, the reps are still split, but Bush is getting the nod due to Sheild's poor tackling and Hayward's raw ability still needing to be developed.
As it stands, the rest of the defense is gradually taking shape, with the biggest line being the replacement of Desmond Bishop with DJ Smith. Bishop suffered a sever hamstring injury that required surgery and has forced him to miss the entire season. Second and fourth round picks Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels have both found a place in the Packers' nickel and dime defenses as inside pass rushing threats to assist BJ Raji. Nick Perry is steadily coming along, and still looks to start on opening day.
But, improving the front seven may be all in vain if the Packers coaching staff do not name a starter sooner rather than later. It is important that they name one so that they get as many first team reps as possible to have that flow with the starting defense. Otherwise, Packer fans could see a repeat of a porous secondary that has the talent to be better than the numbers indicate.