In the midst of a four-game losing streak, with their defense in shambles, the Green Bay Packers have finally taken the band-aid off the bullet wound.
Someone in the organization had the brilliant idea to move Pro Bowl starting cornerback Charles Woodson to safety. Theory was apparently that Woodson could play safety, Tramon Williams could slide into Woodson's spot, and there wouldn't be any reason to adjust the Packers' aggressive man-to-man coverage scheme.
It's too late to change Green Bay's dead-in-the-water playoff plans, but Woodson moves back to cornerback for Monday night's game in Chicago. Second-year pro Aaron Rouse starts at safety.
It's about time.
The reasoning behind the too-little-too-late move was not given, but it seems sound.
At 6-4, 223 pounds, Rouse gives the defense a bigger man near the line of scrimmage to play the run. Woodson will be free to cover a receiver or a tight end, which he did successfully in the Packers' victory over the Bears on Nov. 16.
In addition, this might be an audition for Rouse, whose spotty play has raised questions about whether he's capable of being a starter. Rouse has been slow to read plays and as a result has taken some bad angles to the ball. He has two interceptions, including one returned 99 yards for a touchdown against Indianapolis, but his good play has been offset by some of his bad ones.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has been careful to say that he's not just going to play young players for the sake of playing them, even though the team knows they won't be going to the playoffs.
This is likely not a move that will save the job of defensive coordinator Bob Sanders, but it's the right thing to do. While Woodson certainly didn't embarrass himself as a safety, my feeling is the dropoff between Woodson and Rouse at safety is not nearly as great as the dropoff between Woodson and Williams at cornerback. Williams can now go back to being the nickel corner, primarily responsible for covering slot receivers. It's a much better fit for him based on how he's played this season.