Over the past seven years, the Green Bay Packers have been led on defense by the Hall of Fame bound cornerback/safety Charles Woodson. Going into the upcoming season, Green Bay will have a giant hole in the secondary to fill.
Woodson was known more as the Packers’ field general, being able to play any position in the secondary and help his teammates get to where they’re supposed to be. In seven years with the Packers, Woodson compiled 38 interceptions and 99 passes defensed. Without question, he has been the MVP of that side of the ball since the day he joined Green Bay.
With Woodson now gone, who will step up and fill the void of being such a huge leader in the secondary? My bet is that Tramon Williams will finally be able to take over the role of being the leader back there. He has been a solid player since coming into the league, specifically in regards to his passes defensed. Over six seasons, Williams has compiled just about as many as Woodson did in his time with the Packers at 91 total.
The most important factor playing into this will be the health of Williams. In the very first game of 2011 Williams suffered a shoulder injury that should have kept him out for a while, but he decided to keep playing through it. In 2012 it started to bother him again, but for the second straight year Williams decided to stay on the field despite his shoulder needing to heal.
“I had some tears in my shoulder and I had nerve damage in my shoulder, and it was tough,” Williams told SportsRadioInterviews.com. “I only missed one game because of it, but it should have been one of those things to where I should have sat down and missed a few games. But at the same time, I haven’t been hurt at any point in my career. So you always want to be that guy who shows up and sends a message to your teammates like, ‘OK, this guy, he’s hurt but he’s out here for his teammates.’ And that’s what I wanted to show. I wanted to show that I could play through that and I did. I got through it. Everyone goes through adversity at some point in their career — that was one of my points, and I got through it.”
The guy is tough, I’ll give him that, but his team needs him healthy. This offseason better be about rest and rehab for that shoulder to make sure there are no tears and he is good to go to fill in Woodson’s shoes. The Packers lost a legend to the cruelty of free agency, but Williams appears poised to come in healthy, strong and ready to take over the leadership role left vacant.