Give Harris a little more time

With Williams playing well, Packers can afford to wait to bring back Pro Bowler, says Packer Report's Todd Korth

Al Harris is back practicing with the Green Bay Packers, and that's the good news. Even better, Tramon Williams is playing at a level similar to Harris and Charles Woodson. So now what?

It appears that Williams will start his fourth straight game for Harris, who suffered a ruptured spleen against Dallas on Sept. 21. Harris probably will jump back into the starting lineup after the bye week on Nov. 2 when the Packers take on the resurgent Tennessee Titans. However, the Packers may be tempted to use Harris this Sunday against Peyton Manning and the suddenly resurgent Indianapolis Colts.

Good problem, but a situation that the Packers should not even consider. With nine games left after Sunday's game, the Packers will need all the healthy defensive backs they can get down the stretch. Pushing Harris into action less than a month after a serious injury doesn't make sense.

"Hopefully we'll start giving him some reps where he can interact and get in football shape, coach Mike McCarthy said today. "Really the plan for Al this week is conditioning and then hopefully we'll do more football-involved aspects next week and going into the Tennessee week."

Good idea.

Thus far, Williams has surpassed everyone's expectations filling in for Harris. A second-year player, Williams has an interception in each of the three games he's started. On the opposite side, Charles Woodson has two interceptions in the last three games -- including a 62-yard return for a touchdown on Sept. 28 at Tampa Bay -- and is tied for the league lead with four picks.

Life is good for the Packers' secondary and it will get better when Harris returns. However, it will be better if the Packers wait before placing the veteran back into action.

Harris, a first-time Pro Bowl selection in 2007, rested for a week after the injury and has been doing rehab work the last two weeks. He's anxious to return, but with his injury and Williams' performance, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Todd Korth writes for and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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