Green Bay Packers strong safety Morgan Burnett finally returned to the field last Sunday against the Detroit Lions after missing the first three weeks recovering from a hamstring injury. His return gave a boost to a Packers defense that had little depth in the secondary and most importantly, gave them another leader.
The Packers released veteran safety Charles Woodson during the offseason and were looking for someone who could step into the position and not only make plays, but also lead the secondary.
Last season, Burnett played in all 16 games alongside Woodson and recorded 123 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He was a guy on defense that Dom Capers would turn to when a big play was needed, and he provided a big time boost in every game he played.
In his return last week, Burnett recorded five tackles and had a huge pass deflection late in the second half which kept the Lions out of the end zone and eventually led to a turnover. After the game, Burnett said, “ I felt good physically and I’m ready to keep things rolling.” Burnett also went on to say: “As good as this win felt, it’s time to have a short term memory and get ready for [defending champion Baltimore Ravens] next week.” These quotes show how valuable Burnett is on the field as a safety and a leader of the defense.
Burnett is a physical safety that the Packers will rely heavily on the rest of the season. If he can remain healthy and stay on the field, Burnett can be one of the best safeties in the league. His physical abilities on the field are second to none, and he surely will take on his new leadership role on the defensive side of the ball.
Fans can expect Burnett’s role as a leader to become even more evident with the recent news that linebacker Clay Matthews will miss at least a month due to thumb surgery. There is no doubt Burnett will continue to lead and try to keep this Packers defense a force to be reckoned with in the NFL.