Veteran CB Charles Woodson has been around enough “hype” in the preseason to know when it’s just that, hype.
So when he said on Tuesday that he’s “encouraged” by what he’s seen on the practice field thus far in training camp as the Packers have brought in several new faces to try to bolster a defense that dropped to last in the league rankings a year ago, he’s not just trying to be nice. Woodson has never minced words about the disappointing defensive showing in 2011 and how much needed to change to fix it in 2012.
“I think we’re encouraged,” Woodson said. “Practice-wise I think there’s been a lot of energy out there on the field, and I think we have added some pieces to our defense we feel like are going to help us. In preseason, everybody feels good about their chances, (but) we really do feel good about what we’re doing and the way we’re working defensively.”
Woodson said the coaches indicated Monday night’s practice was the best thus far for the defensive unit, so the goal is to carry that into Thursday’s preseason opener, even if the starters play very little (and Woodson may not play at all, as has been his pattern for first preseason games).
The biggest difference Woodson sees on defense this year is the added speed the young players bring, particularly when the Packers go to their “dime” defense with six defensive backs.
“A big downfall for us last year was third down,” Woodson said, referring to the Packers’ No. 26 ranking in third-down defense. “I think having more speed out there, being able to get guys down and get off the field, is going to be very important for us this year.”
Tags: charles woodson, defense
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp