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Are you ready for Nick Collins?

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by tromadz, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    JSonline knows Collins rules:

    Green Bay - For all the notice veterans Charles Woodson and Marquand Manuel have received as saviors of the Green Bay Packers' defense, and for all the respect the reliable Al Harris deserves, the guy in the secondary who warrants the most attention heading into the season opener against Chicago Sunday is safety Nick Collins.

    It's time for him to take off.

    Of all the young players on the Packers' roster, no one, even rookie receiving sensation Greg Jennings, has a bigger upside than the 5-11, 205-pound Collins. The Packers saw glimpses last season of what a big safety who runs like a cornerback can do for their defense, but they did not see the full picture.

    Coming out of his second training camp, Collins is still mostly a rolled-up ball of potential. There are not big numbers - not from the 16 games he started last season or the four exhibition games this year - to support the thought that he will be a special player.

    But in a game in which Collins will need his fists more than his 40 time, the clock will start again and he'll have a chance to put his skills to work, this time without the excuse of being a rookie.

    "This year I think will be his breakout year," Harris said. "I really do. He knows where he's supposed to be, he's in the right spot nine out of 10 times. He's going to have a great year. I think he's going to go to the Pro Bowl."

    Harris might be overly optimistic about Collins' season, but when the Packers drafted Collins in the second round out of Bethune-Cookman last year, they envisioned him being a Pro Bowl player. Collins has the size of a safety, but ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds at the 2005 combine, a time better than all but three cornerbacks who ran at the combine this year.

    It's more than just speed, however, that makes Collins stand out on film. His 40-inch vertical leap and ability to maintain his speed for long distances make him the perfect guy for covering big chunks of the field.

    "It's not just speed," said Manuel, who was signed as a free agent to play safety with Collins. "You can have speed, but it's being an athlete. That's the difference with him."

    Of course, all the athletic ability in the world can't make up for mental errors that land you in the wrong place at the wrong time. Collins had to fight through some of those last year after being named a starter for the season opener and having to play against a caliber of competition he only occasionally saw in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

    He started every game in 2005 and finished fourth on the team with 96 tackles, was third in passes broken up with nine and allowed two touchdowns while in coverage. After the season he was named to the Pro Football Weekly / Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team.

    The most disappointing part of Collins' season was the lack of big plays he made, the opposite of his experience in college. He led the MEAC in interceptions each of his last two seasons, but during his rookie year in the NFL he let too many balls bounce off his hands and finished with one interception, one forced fumble and no sacks.

    "I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know I was going to start," Collins said of his rookie season. "It was a great learning experience. Now I've been in the system a year, I know the concepts of offense, what they're going to run, what they're trying to do to us.

    "I made sure I studied this off-season, learning more what receivers are going to do, what kind of routes they can do against our defense. It's been a great learning experience."

    Some of the issues Collins had with taking poor angles and being out of position to make a play were due to his inexperience in the defense. Many scouts wondered whether Collins had the aptitude to handle the complex offenses of the NFL, and while it took him time to understand the concepts he seems to have gotten through it with hard work.

    "He comes in to work everyday," Manuel said "That's the thing you have to love about him. With a young guy who's got talent like he's got, there's no limit."

    For as much as Collins grew in the off-season, he did not have a particularly productive training camp in the interception department. While Marviel Underwood had five pickoffs and rookie Tyrone Culver had six in both practice and exhibition games, Collins had just two.

    Harris isn't sure if Collins' impact will be felt more with interceptions or solid tackles at the line of scrimmage or big hits against receivers crossing the middle of the field. The defense is not set up to highlight a single safety the way Darren Sharper and LeRoy Butler were highlighted during their Packers days, so the opportunities for big plays might not be as abundant.

    But starting with the Bears, who will try to impress their will on the Packers with a heavy dose of running football, Collins will have a chance to make believers out of people other than his teammates. It's a little more than a coincidence that Ted Thompson made Collins the first defensive pick of his tenure as general manager; the expectation was that he could be someone the team could build its defense around.

    Now it's time for Collins to show Thompson picked the right man.
     
  2. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    He looked good last year. If he keeps improving he could be a pro bowler this year!
     
  3. dhpackr

    dhpackr Cheesehead

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    Can Nick Collins read?
     
  4. LambeauLeaper

    LambeauLeaper Cheesehead

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    With that comment I would guess dhpacker is short for "******** packer", but you spelled "packer" wrong so I'm guessing that's not what it means.
     
  5. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    Welcome back Leaper.....although if you keep that up I doubt you'll be here long. I think dh was just suggesting that he hopes Nick Collins reads that article but I could be wrong.
     
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Cheesehead

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    dh, explain your comment please...

    LL - take it easy, you may be taking it the wrong way...
     
  7. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    His Wonderlic Score was low. That's what dh is saying

    The Packers need him to produce turnovers. A lot of the Packers success depends on his turnovers. If almost none like last year it could be a bad year. If he gets a few great. If he can get 6 or more the Packers can reach the playoffs.

    Put another way, Nick Collins must get at least one fourth the number of INT's Brett Favre throws.
     
  8. PackerLegend

    PackerLegend Cheesehead

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    Nick Collins is awesome and I hope he has a great year and makes it to the pro bowl.
     

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