Silverstein doubtful Harris coming back

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Read here from jsonline this morning. Tom Silverstein paints a relatively bleak picture for a possible return by Al Harris this season. So, in the interim, it would be smart to start thinking about who will replace him. As Silverstein points out, it will likely be Tramon Williams or Will Blackmon. By the way, there is no way Tramon is 5’11”. Blackmon is listed at 6’0” – no way they are one inch apart. I suppose it’s possible that Blackmon just plays bigger and more upright or something, but Tramon seems quite small out there in comparison. Still, it was interesting during the Cowboy game to see Tramon matched up on the much bigger TO (this happened 3 times by my count when another WR went in motion and Woodson dropped TO to cover that other WR). Tramon’s tight coverage on TO each time forced Romo out of his first read. And, as Kurt Shottenheimer notes, outside of the big play against Miles Austin, Tramon had a solid game.

In the end, I’m OK with Tramon Williams filling in next to Woodson as the starting corner. He’s a good player and his speed could really be helpful out there not just for marking his own man, but to run down players who break free into the open field. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen in a long time on a football field happened during the Dallas game. Felix Jones had turned the corner on the far side of the field and started flying upfield to eventually score a TD on that 60 yard run. He was moving really fast. Tramon Williams was defending against a WR on the near side, far from the play. When he realized Jones was making a bee line for the end zone, Williams turned on the jets and if it weren’t for a solid block by TO right near the end zone I believe, Williams might have made the tackle. I can’t remember seeing live, a player closing that fast. It was absolutely unreal to watch. Williams had far more ground to cover than Jones and yet he nearly beat Jones to the end zone – and Jones isn’t slow.

That said, if Tramon struggles (as teams will inevitably game-plan to throw the ball his way now), having Blackmon as an alternative is a good thing. He is proving to be one of those players who makes things happen as he proved Sunday against Dallas. While it’s nice to have a couple quality back-ups like this, the Harris injury does deplete our overall secondary depth though – leaving us vulnerable if any other injuries happen. (We’ll see though, Pat Lee did have a nice preseason and showed flashes of some play-making ability). In the end, I wish Al well and hope for a speedy recovery.

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15 Responses to “Silverstein doubtful Harris coming back”

  1. Ron La Canne Says:

    This is bad news. Tramon Williams has demonstrated no ability to cover one-on-one. His presence will require a change in defensive philosophy. It was no accident that Dallas started going long when Harris left the line up.

  2. Scott W Says:

    This injury sounds like what Chris Simms suffered. He was out two years essentially. I know Harris is a physical specimen and that his recovery may be quicker than that of Simms. I am concerned given Harris’ age that we may not see him return to football.

    I hope Al recovers quickly and that he’s back next year.

  3. awhayes Says:

    Ron – I agree that coverage-wise, going from Harris to Williams will be a drop-off as Williams needs to hone these skills big-time to even approach Harris’ level. However, speed-wise, Williams is significantly faster than Harris and while speed certainly isn’t everything, it is a factor that can help erase coverage errors quickly. We’ll see – overall though, it just hurts to lose the starting veteran presence/leadership that Harris provided.

  4. Aaron Says:

    Ron – you have zero clue what you are talking about. Williams is good. The big play to Austin was clearly the fault of the safety getting over late. Williams was right where he should have been. How many other big plays did they have against him? 1 or zero depending on how you define big plays. The kid is good.

  5. RayMidge Says:

    This reminds me a bit of Craig Newsome getting injured early in ’97 and being replaced by Tyrone Williams. Newsome was a more physical all around player, but Williams was a bit quicker. After struggliing a little bit early Williams eventually became a solid player. I think Traman has the instincts and the speed to be successful.

    Although broadcasters tend to routinely equate the two of them, this is no where near as bad as losing Woodson. Harris is a tough player and a pro but I think the Pack can overcome this one with their depth and Williams or Blackmon may turn out to surprise us and be even better than we thought. Look at the Giants last year, they were “devestated” by injuries in the D backfield late in the year and they ended up discovering that a lot of their bench could really play. This year they have one of the deepest, most confident secondaries in the league. TT built this team for depth and every loss of a player in the NFL is an oppurtunity for someone else to emerge.

  6. awhayes Says:

    RayMidge – Giants analogy a good one. This sort of reminds me of when Favre first retired earlier this year and for the first time, many of us took the occasion to really think harder for the first time about what Rodgers might be like as a pro. While Harris brought certain qualities that will be very difficult to replace, it’s entirely possible we’ll learn in a hurry that Williams and/or Blackmon being on the field more may give us other advantages that Harris couldn’t bring (speed, overall interception ability, running after a pick, etc).

  7. Roll On Tramon Williams | Cheesehead TV Says:

    [...] Good thoughts from Andy over at PackerGeeks regarding Tramon Williams stepping into Al Harris’ spot as the starting corner opposite Charles Woodson. …it was interesting during the Cowboy game to see Tramon matched up on the much bigger TO (this happened 3 times by my count when another WR went in motion and Woodson dropped TO to cover that other WR). Tramon’s tight coverage on TO each time forced Romo out of his first read. And, as Kurt Shottenheimer notes, outside of the big play against Miles Austin, Tramon had a solid game. [...]

  8. Ron La Canne Says:

    Zero Clue Aaron? I’d check your own mirror if you want the ultimate example of cluelessness. Moron!

  9. Aaron Says:

    Name calling? Really?

  10. Ron La Canne Says:

    I really liked participating with this site’s discussions. I find you pathetic Aaron. I guess I’ll just have to find a place that one can comment without some self anointed Wonder Boy demanding his view be the only view.

    Clueless is not name calling? I respond, I don’t start. You are a pompus ass Aaron.

  11. joshywoshybigfatposhy Says:

    ron, i hope you do not seriously intend to stop participating in what is a quality site, in part due to your reflections. i do think aaron is a bit … assertive sometimes, and perhaps when compared with the hayes’ ultra-fair tone in disagreement, it can be a bit counter-productive if taken personally — but don’t take it personally.

    part of what separates this site from others is the calm temper of its discussion, but challenges that address one’s stance (and not one’s mother, or choice of favorite color – after all, there are no vikings fans here) are best met with empirical evidence, or perhaps a wise and collected nothingness. that is, unless you have a really quality stab at someone’s mother, in which case you should get it out there so the rest of us are well-informed.

    i’ve reacted passionately to things like suggesting that culpepper would be a worthwhile pursuit, and i think it is wise to generally avoid citing things like andy’s unfortunate crack use (perhaps why he must play zone defense with only one child – but i try not to judge, having neither a destructive drug habit, nor children) in such reactions. but if these things come up – i think a thick-skinned response is just as important as a fair tone when trying to avoid the downward spiral that plagues so many blog comment boards.

    so. enough diplomacy. i think this is certainly a tough situation to judge. cb’s seem to me to be about as predictable as an electron on crystal meth, at least until you’ve given them a season or two to show their trends (ahmad carroll). we’ve been fortunate enough to aquire two very quality cb’s via free agency after they proved their worth. one who was sitting behind two of the best in philly, and one who was stuck in a world run by al davis. both had immense talent, and a strong desire to prove themselves in a new venue.

    now we must home-grow, and that’s a very risky endeavor. i agree with some who say that this might be a blessing in disguise, as harris would likely not have been ok with becoming a nickel or safety to stay in as a mentor (like the scenario i see driver being a part of as he ages) – i think he’s too competitive. of course, to call a ruptured spleen a blessing feels a bit heartless, and i have nothing against harris. he’s been such an important part of this defense, and even if williams steps it up, this d needs harris’ intensity now more than ever. as much as his ‘lost step’ would continue to cost the pack, harris nearly always had the fire and focus to bounce back with a spectacular tackle or batted ball. i sincerely hope he recovers well, but i think it may be too serious to mount a miraculous return.

    to Al! (glass raised).

  12. Aaron Says:

    Ron,

    Your statement: Tramon Williams has demonstrated no ability to cover one-on-one. My response: you have zero clue what you are talking about.

    How on EARTH is that insulting or name-calling in any way? If anything,
    I have made it abundantly clear over the last year how much I value your past service to our country, never once having stooped to personal attacks, no matter how much I may disagree with your misguided views on the Green and Gold.

    As for the matter at hand: Did you even read Andy’s post? Williams covered T.O. several times on Sunday night, and covered him well. What more do you want from the kid? He’s young and will make mistakes, no doubt. But to state that he has shown nothing in man-to-man is absurd.

    I’m a moron? Fine. A pompous ass? I’ve been called worse by better. (Starting with my wife ;) ) My tone is aggressive? Guilty as charged, when it comes to ridiculous fan-speak.

    I value your opinion, Ron, even though I may not agree with it a hundred percent of the time. But don’t mistake my tone for a personal attack. Life is too short.

  13. daveK Says:

    joshywoshy – great post! Agree with all of it. Looking at the schedule it doesn’t appear to me that the Packers face a real talented WR group until Indy comes to town in four weeks. Woodson probably shuts down the #1 WR for Tampa, Atlanta, and Seattle fairly well. I doubt Williams has much trouble with their #2 WR’s especially with some safety help. So, he has three weeks to really step up against some decent matchups and a good test against Indy in four weeks. Then they have the bye and maybe Harris (wishful thinking) is back by then?

    Who do we add to the roster if Harris is done for the year? Joe Porter from the practice squad?

  14. Aaron Says:

    daveK – Good points on the upcoming opposition’s WRs.

    As for who they might add, I hope its the tight end Haynos. The kid is Jason Witten-like and I think would bring a lot more to the current team than Finley.
    Would they have 4 tight ends on the roster? Well, with Hall hurting, they could always use one of them at fullback…

    As for the defensive backfield, I think they’ll stick with what they have. Pat Lee has yet to see the field from scrimmage much and I think he’ll surprise.

  15. awhayes Says:

    Good thoughts Dave K – my guess is that it will be a WR (if Jones and/or Martin are expected to miss a few more weeks) or Joey Porter. Porter was good in the preseason and could be a special teams contributor.

    I also like Haynos. He could be good someday. My guess though is that they’ll stick with the 3 TEs they have now, or possibly even deactivate Finley in order to keep active another WR or CB. I was a bit disappointed on Sunday night that the Pack didn’t use more 2 tight end sets for passes to Humphrey or Lee.

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