Training camp preview: Safeties

Bigby coming off solid season; Rouse will push Collins for starting spot

One of the biggest surprises last year on defense was the emergence of Atari Bigby at strong safety. After earning the job in training camp last year and experiencing some growing pains in the early goings, Bigby established himself as a fan favorite for blowing up opposing receivers and tight ends in a fashion not seen since the days of Chuck Cecil.

Bigby also made plenty of big plays to go along with the big hits, leading the team with five interceptions and 13 pass break-ups. As good as he was last year, his best days may still be ahead of him.

Collins' hold on the starting job at free safety is safe for now. Yet, his inability to make an impact in 2007 (zero interceptions and forced fumbles) coupled with a promising fill-in job by rookie Aaron Rouse for a spell last season will make for an interesting battle throughout camp.

Rouse stepped in and grabbed two interceptions while exhibiting the kind of physical, intimidating play that defined him at Virginia Tech. Though he played little more than special teams the rest of the season, Rouse has a very real chance of wrestling the starting job from Collins. Rouse has too much upside to sit on the bench and paired with Bigby, they could form one of the better safety duos in the league.

Harris and Woodson may be aging like wine, but a couple of hammer-dropping young safeties roaming the field could help extend their careers in Green Bay. Safety Tyrone Culver spent last year on injured reserve and will be looking to get into the mix for a back-up job this year.

Depth at the safety spots could be bolstered by Bush, who took some reps in the offseason after not cutting it as a nickel back last season.

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