Richardson Ready to ‘Make a Splash'

Sean Richardson isn't ready to concede anything at the Packers' revamped safety position. After overcoming a career-threatening issue, Richardson is ready to show off an all-around game. An interception on Tuesday hinted of the possibilities.

Aaron Rodgers is intercepted at a lower rate than any quarterback in NFL history.

The Green Bay Packers' safeties didn't intercept a single pass last season.

So, it was a startling moment at Tuesday's organized team activity when Sean Richardson intercepted Rodgers. Playing in deep coverage, Richardson moved to his left, got in front of a deep post route and made a leaping grab in front of Jarrett Boykin.

Given what Richardson has overcome — a neck injury that required spinal-fusion surgery and threatened to end his career before it really got started — it might have been a momentous moment.

As much as there can be a momentous moment during a no-contact practice in the middle of June.

"Actually, I do (put extra meaning on the play), because I dropped three interceptions since the OTAs started," Richardson said. "That's been my main focus is catching the ball and increasing my ball skills. It's got to come down to when the play comes, focus in and look the ball in. Hopefully, I can get on a roll right now."

Richardson was hopeful that he'd be medically cleared in time for training camp last summer. Instead, he wasn't added to the active roster until late November. He played in six games and started nudging M.D. Jennings out of the lineup; Richardson played about 60 percent of the defensive snaps in Weeks 14 through 16.

However, he was mostly back on the bench for Week 17 and the playoff game — just more than 30 percent playing time in those games.

Now, with a first-round pick invested in HaHa Clinton-Dix and impressive second-year defensive back Micah Hyde in the mix, as well, Richardson's window of starting opportunity apparently has closed.

"Whenever my name is called, whenever my number is called, I want to be ready," Richardson said. "Special teams, defense — anything. Just continue to work hard, stay in the playbook, continue to get better and challenge myself."

Because of the additions of Clinton-Dix and Hyde, the challenge for Richardson will come on special teams. At 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds and a 4.43 clocking in the 40-yard dash at the 2012 Scouting Combine, he has the physical tools to be a major weapon on the kicking units.

"Sean looks great," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think just Sean coming off the injury, kind of going through the way the season went, special teams, had a couple shots of playing in some packages, I'm more comfortable (with him). Sean's a guy that's really going to show up in the pads. That's his world. He's a physical guy. I would really like to see Sean make a bigger impact on special teams."

Richardson has no intention of settling for a role only on special teams. He worked too hard to get back on the field, too hard blocking out self-doubt, too hard maintaining his perpetually positive outlook to not fight for a role on the defense.

The knock on Richardson coming out of Vanderbilt is that he was an in-the-box safety and a liability in deep coverage. To that end, he spent the offseason studying Seattle's star safeties, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Chancellor has Richardson's body type while Thomas is a brilliant centerfielder. Richardson also studied the Packers' cornerbacks to see how they cover underneath routes and in man-to-man situations.

"Challenge myself," Richardson said when asked how he can make a bigger impact on defense. "Study other players. I've done that a lot this offseason — studying other players and trying to tailor my game as a whole and not just be a run-stopper. I want to be able to cover, catch the interception, make big plays and make big hits in run-stopping. I'm confident and trusting what I see and using my instincts and, when I see something, go after it."

With his size, speed and hunger, Richardson still is something of an unknown commodity. In 2012, he was just another rookie learning the NFL ways. In 2013, he was coming back from a serious injury.

Perhaps the Packers haven't seen the real Sean Richardson just yet.

"You've got some people who know my capabilities and know how good I am," he said. "But it's up to me. I've got to go out there and make a splash and make a play. It's coming. It's definitely coming."

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

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

Packer Report Top Stories