No one is expecting Davon House to come to Green Bay and be the savior Joe Whitt Jr. and his group of cornerbacks need. Just like no one is expecting Micah Hyde to go to Buffalo and lead the league in interceptions in 2017.
Okay, well, let's not hold our breath with the latter just yet.
House, now returning to the team that drafted him in 2011, provides the lackluster group of defensive backs that make up Whitt's unit with both experience and familiarity. A common outside belief is that defensive coordinator Dom Capers' scheme is too "advanced," which would explain why it younger corners have a much more difficult time grasping the concept.
Centered around zone coverage, Capers once had the likes of Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields manning down the boundaries. Oh, don't forget 2016 interception leader Casey Hayward, who now resides in San Diego.
An upside to the return of House, who will be three years older by the time he plays a 2017 regular season than he was when he left Green Bay, is that Capers can implement more man-to-man coverage into his defensive game plan to fit the seven-year veteran. A scheme that House openly admitted to having success in.
"It was frustrating," House said last week earlier this week to Packers.com. "But there was nothing I could do about it. The defensive coaches played a lot more zone. As you know, I'm a bump-and-run corner.
"Press man-to-man, that's what I do."
If the Packers are lucky, they'll get every ounce of compatibility out of House, much like the Jaguars did in 2015 during the last half of the season. He recorded more than two times his career interception total at the time, which was two. He also set the team record for most passes defensed in a season with 23.
House would re-supply a group with two soon-to-be third-year corners in Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall, both looking to bounce back from a season in which neither remained healthy for the full 16-game duration. For Randall, even after a campaign that left much to be desired from the 2015 first-round pick, he finished tied for second on the team in interceptions.
While some struggles may be attributed to the injuries sustained to both of the young defensive backs, week after week the Packers found Randall playing at least five yards off of his assignment. It's unclear whether the trend was a side-effect to Capers' complicated plans or if a sophomore slump set in on Randall. Combined, both Rollins and Randall missed nine regular season games in 2016.
There's also still hope in Ladarius Gunter, the undrafted free agent signed to the team in 2015 who finally got his opportunity to shine last season. His chance in the limelight wasn't because of his supreme coverage ability, however. It took a week one injury to Sam Shields - once the oldest corner on the team before his release - and an overall battered group of cornerbacks for Gunter to see the field. He didn't record an interception, but in almost every match-up, the receiver opposite him was the best on the field. It's a testament to both Gunter's inconsistency as well as his potential, and the Packers may rely heavily on him for depth this upcoming season.
For what it's worth, Gunter averaged more pass break-ups (0.74) per game in 2016 than All-Pro cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Chris Harris Jr.
House offers stability to this group, who will likely be seeing one or two new additions via the upcoming NFL Draft. Stability; a concept that was foreign to the Packers defensively last season.
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