While just about everyone has been ranting and raving about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde battling for the free safety position next to Morgan Burnett, the Green Bay Packers may have more depth than once thought at safety. Signed undrafted in 2012 out of Vanderbilt, Sean Richardson has been having an impressive training camp, which has been noted by coaches.
Many people called for Richardson to replace M.D. Jennings last season, but it ultimately did not happen. In terms of his skills, Richardson has some real positives, but the drawbacks have been enough to keep him out of a starting position. This year could be different.
At around 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Richardson is on the large side of the prototypical safety. He has great speed as well, although his critics argue he has problems hitting top speed on the field as opposed to on the track. His hands are reliable, but his biggest criticism comes from subpar performance in run defense and problems with tackling technique.
From the sounds of it, these problems may have been solved, given the praise he has been receiving from coaches.
Right now, it looks unlikely that we will Sean Richardson steal a starting position, as Clinton-Dix is living up to expectations and Hyde is wowing coaches daily. However, coach Mike McCarthy‘s praise of Richardson does mean something very important for the Packers: It means that they have four safeties who can make an impact on the game.
Last season, the free safety position was the Packers’ biggest problem on defense, but if Richardson has found his groove, then Hyde, Clinton-Dix, Burnett and himself could form a very reliable set of starters and backups who will provide the stability that the team lacked in 2013.