Measuring Up: Production at Safety

The Packers' safeties had four interceptions last season. That's not a lot of big-play production. How does that compare to the rest of the league and the playoff participants?

The quote sounded like a challenge — or a case of serious spin — from Green Bay Packers safeties coach Darren Perry.

No, the Packers' safeties didn't intercept a bunch of passes in 2012. That, however, is fairly typical of the rest of the league.

"To be a really good safety, you're not defined by turnovers," Perry said. "If you put our stats up against some of the top safeties in the league, they're not going to blow you away with interceptions. I know that's a point of emphasis but sometimes it's more about what you're doing within the scheme and how you're impacting the game that way. Interceptions, that's not the sole measure. I know guys who were voted to the Pro Bowl who did not have a lot (of interceptions) but are considered among the tops in the league."

The Packers' safeties intercepted four passes: two by Morgan Burnett and one apiece by M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian. (Charles Woodson's lone interception came from the nickel position.) Interestingly, all four came against NFC North foes, with Burnett's coming against Minnesota, Jennings getting a pick-six at Detroit and McMillian grabbing his against Chicago.

That's far off the pace set by New England (12), Atlanta (10) and the Giants (10), but it's fairly typical of the rest of the league. The 12 playoff teams combined for 61 interceptions from their safeties, an average of 5.1 per team. Baltimore (five interceptions) and San Francisco (four) didn't get a ton of big-play production from their safeties.

That doesn't mean Perry is satisfied.

"We want turnovers and we want impact plays but that's not the defining measure of a great player," Perry said. "We can't get too caught up into that, although some of the balls that we knocked down, we want to convert those into interceptions."

Here are the team-by-team interception totals from the safeties:

New England: 12

Atlanta: 10

N.Y. Giants: 10

Arizona: 7

Tampa Bay: 7

Tennessee: 7

Chicago: 6

Cincinnati: 6

Miami: 6

New Orleans: 6

Baltimore: 5

Buffalo: 5

Cleveland: 5

Detroit: 5

Houston: 5

San Diego: 5

Carolina: 4

Denver: 4

Green Bay: 4

San Francisco: 4

Washington: 4

Jacksonville: 3

Minnesota: 3

N.Y. Jets: 3

Oakland: 3

Philadelphia: 3

Pittsburgh: 3

Seattle: 3

Dallas: 2

Indianapolis: 1

Kansas City: 1

St. Louis: 1


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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