These guys are bad

If Charles Woodson performs like he did during Friday's minicamp opener, then the Packers will have the start of something special at cornerback, PackerReport.com's Steve Lawrence says

Bad is good, and what's been down should go up.

That's Al Harris' breakdown of the Green Bay Packers' new and presumably improved secondary.

"We're going to bad as (expletive)," an excited Harris offered when his new best friend and fellow starting cornerback, Charles Woodson, was posed a question by the media horde after the first day of minicamp on Friday.

To be sure, Woodson has the big name but Harris brings the bigger game. Harris, perhaps the most unappreciated cornerback in the league, is the Packers' No. 1 cover man.

Woodson comes to Green Bay with a Heisman Trophy and an eye-popping salary considering his recent history and Ted Thompson's free-agent stubbornness. He also comes to Green Bay with something to prove.

First, there's the small matter of Woodson's legacy. The fourth pick in the 1998 draft, Woodson earned trips to the Pro Bowl his first four seasons. As good as those four seasons were, his last four have been just as disappointing. He has 17 career interceptions, but just six in his last four seasons. He's missed 22 games over the past three seasons, including 10 last season after breaking a leg. If recent history repeats itself, it will be Exhibit A in why Thompson deplores high-stakes free agency.

Second, there's the large matter of Woodson's large contract. He signed a $52.7 million, seven-year contract last month. That's big-time coin, which demands big-time production.

And that's exactly what Woodson intends to provide.

"We're going to have a lot of fun. There's going to be a lot of celebrating on our side of the ball," said Woodson, who was talking about causing turnovers but might as well have been talking about the team reaction to not having Ahmad Carroll in the starting lineup anymore. "Teams aren't going to want to throw it at me. Teams aren't going to want to throw it at Al. They've got to throw it somewhere, and when they do, one of us is going to be very happy."

Woodson flashed his considerable skills Friday, stepping in front of an errant pass to make a stumbling interception. It was an indelible impression on the first day of minicamp, and quite the opposite of a practice last season when Carroll was pulled to the sideline because he couldn't cover anyone without grabbing.

Woodson said he would have had two interceptions had he not slipped on the Don Hudson Center's FieldTurf. Either way, for a team that picked off eight passes in 2004 and 10 last season — Carroll had about that many penalties in his first two seasons — Woodson made a bold opening statement.

"That's going to change," Woodson said.

The Packers are hoping so. They aren't paying Woodson all that money just to eliminate Carroll's penalties. The Packers led the league in pass defense last season and finished seventh in total defense, but with an offense with more questions than answers, the Packers need the defense to provide short fields and ample scoring opportunities.

"We're going to make things happen," Harris said.

If they do, and if linebackers A.J. Hawk and Abdul Hodge join Nick Barnett to form a menacing linebacking corps, then the Packers will have a chance to win ugly.

In which case bad is good, up is down and ugly is downright beautiful.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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