It has been a long process, but veteran cornerback Charles Woodson has finally been cleared by doctors just in time for the Green Bay Packers‘ first playoff game. Woodson broke his collarbone in October and has been out ever since then. Now with his return, the Packers are hoping he will be able to help contain the Minnesota Vikings‘ Adrian Peterson.
Woodson has been expected to come back for the past few weeks, but as it got closer to game-time doctors decided to be more cautious and hold Woodson out for another week. Now that it is playoff time, there is no more time to be cautious, which puts the former Heisman winner back on the field. As most of the team knows, Woodson may be the most valuable player for the Packers secondary.
“Charles has been a stud in this league for 15 years, so whenever he’s on the field with us, he’s always a huge threat,” linebacker A.J. Hawk said after practice Tuesday evening. “Not only is he a threat to make huge plays throughout the game, but quarterbacks, I think they know where he’s at every single play. He seems to know what receivers are running before they do. And I think he has an intimidation factor as well. Every team we play has to respect him.”
Without Woodson, the Packers split the two regular season matchups against the Vikings and allowed Peterson to rush for over 400 yards in the two games combined. Woodson may be a cornerback, but he is one of the best at tackling and at helping to stop the run. His presence at the line of scrimmage is something that opposing offenses have to watch out for.
“I just think having Charles Woodson back on the field helps our football team,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I mean, just what he’s meant to our defense, his playmaking ability, his ability to make plays at the line of scrimmage. He’s extremely productive, so I’m just glad to have him back on the field.”
In an interview two weeks ago, Woodson made it clear that he disagreed with the doctors and McCarthy on whether or not he should play as he thought he was ready to go. However, the Packers wanted to make sure that there would be no setbacks and wanted to make sure that Woodson would be ready for a playoff run. This goes to show how important he is to this team and that he may be the key factor in a Packers win this Sunday over the Vikings.
It is unclear how much Woodson will be used this weekend and at what position. Most likely he will be on the field for most plays, playing safety during base packages and moving over to play the nickel corner in other packages.
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