Safety situation shapes up

The departure of Antuan Edwards and the arrival of Mark Roman has brought the Packers' safety picture into focus.<p>

Darren Sharper has become the secondary's seasoned veteran, while the spot opposite Sharper has had three starters in three seasons (Edwards, Marques Anderson and Bhawoh Jue).

Whether Roman, with four strong NFL seasons under his belt, will walk into the job is an issue to be settled at training camp. Anderson will have something to say about the competition, depending on whether his stellar rookie year or somewhat of a sophomore slump shows Anderson's true colors.

No matter who gets the starting nod, the Packers can only benefit from the depth offered by the addition of Roman and the re-signing of S/CB Michael Hawthorne.

The competition at strong safety can only help Sharper, who was vocal in seeking a bigger role in the pass rush. It's no surprise that Sharper had his best season, a career-high nine interceptions in 2000, when he enjoyed an experienced and dangerous strong safety in LeRoy Butler playing in the same defensive backfield.

The safety situation is admittedly more stable than their secondary comrades, the cornerbacks. An unexpected standoff with veteran Mike McKenzie throws a wrench into the works, but Al Harris returns and the draft could be a source of help here if necessary.


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