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Point of Veau: Training Camp Is Time for Clinton-Dix to Join Starting Lineup

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Point of Veau: Training Camp Is Time for Clinton-Dix to Join Starting Lineup

Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix by Andy Marlin—USA TODAY Sports.

Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix by Andy Marlin—USA TODAY Sports.

It's all well and fine that it was Micah Hyde working with the first-string defense at safety during the Green Bay Packers' offseason program.

After all, Hyde is the veteran. Even though he didn't play safety a year ago, his knowledge of the Packers defense is still vastly superior to that of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at this moment in time.

No jobs are going to be won and lost in the month of June, so the fact that Clinton-Dix was relegated to backup status was hardly anything to be worried about.

However, there's a reason the Packers made Clinton-Dix their first round draft pick a little over a month ago. They don't expect him to be sitting on the sidelines, soaking up knowledge for long.

At some point in time, preferably early in training camp, the Alabama product has to take the bull by the horns and assert himself as the starter.

Making Hyde an addition to the safety group was a terrific idea. Beyond Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett, there's no other safey on the roster so much as guaranteed a roster spot.

At the very minimum, Hyde provides depth at a position badly in need of it. But there's reason to believe his best position on the field is at one of the slot cornerback spots, where he excelled a season ago.

Hyde's strong suits are getting up in a defender's face, using his aggressiveness in the box, tackling both receivers and running backs, being a threat to either cover or blitz.

Clinton-Dix, meanwhile, was drafted because of his 6' 1", 208 lbs. frame, which will allow him to stack up with the new breed of NFL tight end running routes up the seam.

He was drafted because of his rangy style of play, his ability to get from centerfield to sideline.

Any time the Packers are in their base 3-4 defense, and really any time they're employing a roaming, free safety, it's Clinton-Dix's skill set that suits their needs.

There's still a role for Hyde on this Packers defense, but it's part of their subpackage defenses in the nickel and dime that fit him the best.

Admittedly, the best players need to be out on the field, regardless of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each individual. If Clinton-Dix is simply not ready for primetime in Week 1 when the Packers take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, then the coaching staff can't put him out there at the expense of a more prepared player.

But it would be extremely disappointing if Clinton-Dix does not start to make his presence felt soon after the start of training camp on July 26.

Clinton-Dix has had the entirety of Organized Team Activities and minicamp to learn the terminology and Dom Capers' defense from a mental standpoint.

When the pads come on in training camp, it will be time for him to stake his claim to the safety position from a physical and playmaking perspective.

The Packers have gotten minimal first-year production from their last three first round draft choices: Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry and Datone Jones. It's time for Clinton-Dix to break that streak.

In order to make a leap from its subpar performance a season ago, the Packers defense needs it.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (36) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

ben's picture

Hyde is the better football player and will secure the spot. Burnett will have his best year this year. 2 years back from injury Sean Richardson will surprise and be the next man up. Dix will struggle to beat out Banjo as 3rd string. Dix & Davante Adams were 2 of the most overrated players in the entire draft & add to TT's long list of disappointing early round draft picks. Prepare to be disappointed. Even Dix's draft picture (above) has bust written all over it.

Stroh's picture

Well if it isn't Wrong Again Ben... Hyde is a good football player and I agree he'll start this year, but he is not more talented that Clinton-Dix!

ben's picture

I said, "........better football player." But now that you mention it, more talented too. You'll never see Hasean returning punts and kicks, or starting for that matter.

ben's picture

Stroh says: April 16, 2014 at 07:54 pm
"Way too high. Bodine is no 4-5th rd pick."
Ben says: April 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm(edit)
"Are you saying Bodine is a 3rd? , (cause there's about a -100% chance he falls to the 6th)"
Stroh says: April 17, 2014 at 12:07 am
"Bodine is a 6th at best. He won't sniff the 4th or 5th. "
ben says: April 17, 2014 at 12:26 am(edit)
""Bodine is a 6th at best. He won't sniff the 4th or 5th." is laughable.
I'll cut this now, and paste it here after the draft."
[Bengals traded up for only the 3rd time in franchise history to snag Bodine in the 4th.]

Stroh says: April 22, 2014 at 10:30 am
" I personally love Moncrief and if the Packers were to get him at #53 it would be a STEAL!"
Ben says: April 22, 2014 at 11:46 pm(edit)
"Moncrief has the measureables I like. But he's a little soft and lacked big production even at the college level. It's not that I don't like Moncrief. But like I just said, with all the value in rounds 2-5 at the WR position, Moncrief is a reach in the 2nd.
"a STEAL! at 53"? come on now,
You'll see Stroh, I'll make sure you do."
[Moncrief nearly lasted to the 4th round, & was selected with the 26th pick of the 3rd.]

CHRISTIAN JONES LB:
Stroh says: April 20, 2014 at 07:40 pm
"Like Jones a lot. If as you mention they don't get Shazier or Mosley in Rd 1, then Jones would be my next choice as well. They can slide him to Weak ILB and he'll be able to run to the ball and be a very good coverage LB. His pass rush would probably be better served at ILB than OLB IMO. I don't think he can be a primary pass rusher for a team, but a good secondary pass rusher."
ben says: April 21, 2014 at 03:47 am(edit)
"Versatile as in really doesn't excel at any 1 position. Unselfish as in his teammates are the ones making the plays. Athletic as in a 4.74 forty @ 240lbs with little strength or explosion.
I just watched 2 games of Christian Jones. (Miami & Clemson) I'm not going to bother watching any more. His underwhelming measurables match his underwhelming play.
For me he's undraftable. "
[Christian Jones went undrafted]

more like wrong again stroh

Stroh's picture

Well I'm not as anal retentive as you are to bother going back to find all the players you were wrong about, but there were plenty. You said Cooks and Verrett were top 12 in the draft and they fell to the 20's. But don't let that stop you from being anal retentive and obsessing about me. I've got better things to do than worry about Wrong Again Ben!

ben's picture

I actually mocked Cooks at 16 to the cowboys and Verrett at 25 to the chargers. Cooks went 20, Verrett 25.

I did say Cooks and Verrett were in MY top 11 players in the draft. Cooks being in the same league as Evans and Watkins while Verrett being the best cover corner in the draft, by far.

1.Kahlil Mack 2.Sammy Watkins 3.Jadeveon Clowney 4.Jake Matthews 5.Greg Robinson 6.Mike Evans 7.Aaron Donald 8.Anthony Barr 9.Taylor Lewan 10.Brandin Cooks 11.Jason Verrett

Just remember when these 2 players are tearing it up, you liked neither.

PackerBacker's picture

Wow, that's a whole bag of crazy right there.

Bergermeister's picture

Gotta remember that phrase, it'll come in handy at work.

JimTaylor31's picture

COW says some goofy things but he can be kinda funny sometimes. I'm sorry to say that you just seem to say goofy things. You need to mix in some obvious humor so some folks may think you are actually kidding even when you're not.

Nick Perry's picture

Jordy Nelson, despite these stupid NFL top 100 player rankings to fill time in the offseason, is one of the better WR in the NFL. He's said it takes a few years to learn the offense. Cobb caught 25 passes and had 1 TD reception his rookie season then jumped to 80 catches or thereabouts his 2nd year. My point is it takes time to learn the Packers offense. It's not a plug and play offense for WR because there's so much to learn. I think if Adams catches 40 to 45 passes his rookie year that would be a huge success. Who then should have TT drafted in those spots? If TT disappointed Packers fans again as you predict, tell us who should have been taken instead.

zeke's picture

"If TT disappointed Packers fans again as you predict, tell us who should have been taken instead."

That's too easy: LaMichael James.

Stroh's picture

Yeah, no doubt... If Ben was running the Packers he'd have traded Lacy for LaMichael James so we would have that great KR! LMAO

BubbaOne's picture

Getting minimal production from the 3 previous # 1 picks means squadouche when it comes to Dix. If he's ready he starts if not I see him getting reps in sub pckg's... less responsibilities = less chance for rookie mistakes.

It is a young man's game maybe the first year he can be a ST demon replacing Bush. Bush is not needed as a backup DB anymore. Plus, TT may need the $ savings to sign Nelson, Cobb or Bulaga.

And for every so called bad early pick there's AR, Collins, Jordy, GJ, Cobb et al. TT can't control injuries: Sherrod, Bulaga, Neal, even Harell. Yes, Harrell was injury prone coming out of college but he was a top five pick that TT took a chance on at # 16. It didn't work out so you draft well w/ the other picks you have and do a great job of evaluating UDFA's and street FA's and move on.

Stroh's picture

Clinton-Dix will have to earn it. Hyde is a good football player and has a years experience in the Packers scheme. Given how important knowing the plays and assignments of others, it just as likely that Hyde is the starting Safety.

If Hyde played Safety in college and came out this year he would have been a 2nd/3rd round pick. His abilities translate better to safety than CB. Clinton-Dix will become the safety, but it isn't going to be given to him.

I've said all along that Hyde would be a safety. That's said, Clinton-Dix will get the starting job, but it'll probably be later, not sooner. I think Hyde will be the starter this year.

Lets also keep in mind that while Hyde played well and above expectations, he didn't have any INT's last year either. And only one FF...

RC Packer Fan's picture

Your exactly right Stroh. Clinton-Dix will have to earn the starting job. He isn't being handed it, which is the way it should be.

To me it feels like last year when McCarthy said going into training camp that Dujuan Harris would be the starting RB. Lacy wasn't handed the starting job, but he won it.

I think its a good possibility that Hyde could start the season as the starter with Clinton-Dix playing in sub packages.
But i do expect Clinton-Dix to become the starter at some point in the season.

Stroh's picture

I expect the Packers to play more Dime this year. Probably more than Nickel. That gets the deeper and more talented players in the secondary on the field and the ILB off the field. Clinton-Dix will definitely be on the field in sub packages. In Nickel they would have Hayward step into the slot, and in Dime they would bring Clinton-Dix off the bench and into play Safety, likely FS and move Hyde to Dime CB close to the LOS to line up against a WR, TE or possibly RB. It would also allow him to be a factor blitzing and in run support.

Not sure Clinton-Dix will start at any time this year, but its possible. The Next year he would be a definite starter tho.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, i am right there with you. I think we will see more Dime packages, which would allow Hyde to move to the slot and bring Clinton-Dix in to safety.
And honestly, if Clinton-Dix comes in and lights it up he very well could start, which would put Hyde in the same role, where he will be used as the Dime CB or the (Woodson role) where he can blitz or cover.

Either way, i expect to see both play a lot this year. I think that Clinton-Dix will become the starter at some point, but wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to have him be the starter. That would mean that others have really stepped up and played well. That's a good problem to have.

PackerBacker's picture

Whoever wins the position, it'll be nice to have a reliable, talented backup at the position. Cause Lord knows that injuries happen.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I like our safety position a lot better then last year.

A guy I still like a quite a bit is Richardson. I am not going to say he is going to take a huge leap and start or anything, but if we need him I would feel comfortable with him playing.

JimTaylor31's picture

I also believe Dix will have the earn the starting job. And that's a good thing!!! I foresee a 3-way battle for the 2 starting safety jobs. Quality depth is much needed and the competition should bring out the best in Hyde, Burnett and Clinton-Dix. No big deal if he doesn't start right away. His opportunity will come regardless.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

All I know is we need INT whoever is there just pick them. We need some of that fire they had in 2010.

The TKstinator's picture

A question I would love Dom to answer is: Is it reasonable for any rookie defensive player to understand his system after minicamp and OTA's?

Stroh's picture

I would imagine Dom would say No, its not reasonable... Even after Training camp that might be asking a lot. Hopefully they pare the playbook down enough so the rookies will know it by the end of training camp, but in the past, no way...

nypenncheesehead's picture

can somebody help me? i have been trying to log into jersey al's website with no luck. what can you tell me about it?

Stroh's picture

You don't have to log in. Just fill in the name and email to the comments and type a comment. I don't think you actually have to log in on his site.

Vrog's picture

You are correct I am getting Error 404 - File Not Found even when using the link on this page!

BradHTX's picture

Al recently changed his front page URL from jerseyal.com/GBP (I think it was, anyway...) to simply jerseyal.com. Your bookmark is probably to the old address, just update it.

Brian, you should fix the link here on this site.

coreyb's picture

Thanks guys - I fixed this

Stroh's picture

Is that what happened w/ that? I had that for about a day, but figured my bookmark had gone bad. So I just resaved it to my bookmarks after I got back on and it was fixed.

I just don't know much about what those computer error messages mean I guess.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Weird they didn't just redirect /GBP back to /

Jamie's picture

Here's what is going to happen...

Hyde will play Safety in the base defense (which the Packers played 24% of their defensive snaps last season). I suppose you could technically call him the starter at Safety, but it means very little.

Clinton-Dix will come in at Safety in sub-packages (which the Packers played 76% of their defensive snaps last season) and Hyde will move to CB as the fourth CB.

BOOM!

Stroh's picture

That's what I said. The Packers will play more Dime to get Hyde at CB in the other slot and Clinton-Dix will come off the bench to play Safety. The question is... When the Packers play Nickel and bring Hayward in to play the slot CB, who will be the other safety?

Base D - Shields, Tramon, Burnett, Hyde
Nickel D - Shields, Tramon, Hayward, Burnett, and Hyde or Clinton-Dix?
Dime D - Shields, Tramon, Hayward, Hyde, Burnett, Clinton-Dix

In Nickel there are 5 DB's. That's what the Packers have used much more than Dime. But only one of Hyde or Clinton-Dix can be on the field in Nickel.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Thats a good question Stroh. Thats what I was thinking to with the Nickel. Who comes in and plays.

I do like Hyde in base defense because it does provide more flexibility. Hyde can be the 3rd CB, but are able to keep 7 in front. They could then play base defense a little more often.

Nickel though when Hayward comes in, i am not sure what they do. I think that package will tell who is 'the starter'. I think that the nickel packages could change a bit based on situations and personnel. I could see both Hyde and Clinton-Dix possibly playing in the Nickel.

DrealynWilliams's picture

If they're going to more "multiple looks" (within the Nickel) then both Clinton-Dix and Hyde will have their own subpackage(s). 2-4-5,3-3-5,maybe a 4-2-5? Oh yea,can't forget about the Physco (1-5-5)

More of a passing/blitzing situation goes to Hyde.

More of a running situation goes to Clinton-Dix.

Stroh's picture

Kinda what I was thinking too. Its conceivable that in some Nickel Hyde will be on the field, but in some other Nickel packages Clinton-Dix might get the nod. Depending on the playcall , matchups and the strengths/weaknesses of Hyde and Clinton-Dix.

balding_pastor's picture

Jamie has it right.

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