GREEN BAY – Safety or no safety, Charles Woodson wants to have fun this season. And that’s something playing defense for the Green Bay Packers definitely was not last year.
“It’s about having fun. For us a lot of times going out there on Sundays, it was work,” Woodson said Friday, one day after making his debut at safety during the Packers’ first training-camp practice. “We had games where we couldn’t get off the field. When teams decided they want to run, they were running the ball; and any time they needed to pick up a first down, they were picking up a first down. So, it was like work for us to go out there and try to figure out what we could do to stop the teams – and it just wasn’t happening. It took away from the actual fun for the game.
“When you’re attacking and you’re getting home and you’re getting sacks and having tackles for losses, that builds that energy. That’s something that we look forward to having this year. And I think we will.”
Woodson’s move to safety in the team’s base defense has also increased his energy and the fun quotient for him as he enters his 15th NFL season and gets set to turn 36 years old in October. In fact, Woodson went so far as to say that he’s “competing” for the safety job, which may not be true but apparently is the approach he’s taking.
“It does re-challenge me. Actually, I’m thankful that they’re giving me the opportunity to compete for a job,” Woodson said. “At 35, in this league, they try to find ways to get you out of the NFL, but the Packers have continued to increase my workload, which is great. I’m looking forward to writing a new chapter in my book.”
In a May interview on Green & Gold Today, Woodson said he was willing to move to safety if the Packers had ample depth at cornerback. When Woodson has been at safety in the base defense the first two days of practice, Jarrett Bush has taken his place at cornerback opposite Tramon Williams, as former No. 3 cornerback Sam Shields has fallen behind Bush on the depth chart.
“It’s just giving us a little more versatility and allow me to go back there and run around a little bit and see if Jarrett or Sam can man down the other corner,” Woodson said. “All it does is make us more flexible.”
While Woodson has always been a playmaker, he said the move might give him additional opportunities during the course of a game to make even more.
“I think it can in situations where I’m able to kind of roam a little bit and help out,” Woodson said. “It’s different from corner, where you’re usually worried about a particular receiver and how he can threaten you as a corner. As a safety, you get to move around a little bit more and show different looks and not have that responsibility of just having one guy. It will be fun to play more safety. I’m getting a lot more of the calls as a safety. I’m used to being out at corner and seeing plays from that angle. To be able to play at safety and really, really, really understand the play even more, I think will play to my advantage.”
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