The Green Bay Packers (4-2) travel to Minneapolis on Sunday Night to play the Minnesota Vikings (1-5) and Packers safety Jerron McMillian has to impress the coaches, because the clock is only ticking against him.
McMillian was one of five players held out of practice on Friday, but McMillian was the only Packer player who was held out without an injury, according to the Packers’ official team injury report.
Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this past week that he had received “great news” on fellow second-year safety Sean Richardson. The Packers placed Richardson on the Player-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list early in training camp because of a neck injury.
Richardson, who is on the Reserve/PUP list, must return to practice by no later than next week. If the Packers decide to activate him to the 53-man roster within the next four weeks instead of placing him on the Injured-Reserve (IR) list, McMillian could be one of the first players walking out the door.
The second-year safety out of the University of Maine has had a poor sophomore season, recording 15 total tackles and deflecting one pass while blowing countless amount of assignments. In place of Packers’ safety Morgan Burnett in the first three games of the season, the Packers’ passing defense had allowed 314 passing yards and 29.3 points per game.
McMillian was responsible for a couple of blown assignments on consecutive plays in the Packers’ narrow Week 6 win over the Baltimore Ravens as well.
Against Baltimore, on a play before Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark to trim the Packers’ lead to two points, McMillian had stumbled deep in coverage … badly. On fourth & 21 in the fourth quarter, Flacco completed a 63-yard pass to wide receiver Tandon Doss because McMillian had clearly been in the wrong spot in coverage.
The Packers eventually won the game, but McMillian’s mistake was the ultimate lowlight of his disastrous 2013 season. Since the Packers took him out of the starting lineup after their Week 4 bye, Green Bay is 3-0 and the defense is only allowing 287 passing yards and 13 points per game.
Packers safeties Burnett, M.D. Jennings and Chris Banjo have all made excellent contributions either on defense or on special teams this season, while McMillian has nothing but a liability in the Green Bay secondary.
Even if the Packers decide to place Richardson on the IR, Green Bay could possibly activate offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, offensive lineman J.C. Tretter or defensive end Jerel Worthy in place of McMillian.
If the long-dreaded, hard-hitting McMillian wants to remain in the NFL, he must prove his worth against the Vikings on Sunday Night. McMillian has to prove he can serve as a key contributor in some capacity, because his job depends on it.