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Patrick Lee a work in progress.

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by PackOne, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. PackOne

    PackOne Cheesehead

    Apr 23, 2006

    Green Bay - Cornerback Pat Lee didn't become a full-fledged starter at Auburn until his fifth year on campus.

    AdvertisementYou’d have to go back to the pre-salary cap days for anyone to receive that long of an apprenticeship in the National Football League. But one month into Lee’s first training camp with the Green Bay Packers it has become rather obvious that considerable fine-tuning will be required in order to get him on the field.

    “I’m working on it,” Lee said Monday. “It is a hard business. It’s going to be hard, regardless, because this is the NFL and everybody is good. I’m just hoping for any chance I get.”

    Maybe Lee’s career path will follow that of Mark Lee, a cornerback for the Packers a generation ago who also wore jersey No. 22. Both players were second-round draft choices, although Mark Lee was the No. 34 selection in 1980 and Pat Lee was No. 60 in April.

    As a rookie, Mark Lee was the nickel back behind starters Estus Hood and Mike McCoy. Then he manned the left cornerback position with distinction for the next 10 seasons.

    Barring injury, Pat Lee won’t be the nickel back as a rookie and, barring injury, he won’t be the dime back, either. Those jobs belong to Tramon Williams and Will Blackmon, who along with Jarrett Bush appear to have outplayed Lee.

    At this point, Lee looks like the No. 6 cornerback, a designation he doesn’t dispute.

    “Yeah, whatever,” he said. “It’s just, if they put me out there, I’ll be ready to go.”

    Based on Lee’s résumé, the Packers probably figured it was something of a developmental choice. But they made the decision to select an unpolished player with size and speed because of their confidence in Charles Woodson and Al Harris.

    A year from now, it’s conceivable Lee might be a much different player. He stands 6 feet, weighs 194 pounds, runs 40 yards in 4.42 seconds and isn’t afraid to hit.

    “It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Lionel Washington, who has tutored the team’s cornerbacks for a decade. “It’s going to take a little time.

    “I look at the potential part of it. Not so much potential, but I look at the ability and being able to make plays. It’s a learning experience. But he’s such a smooth athlete.”

    If Lee goes on to enjoy a successful career, he might look back at Friday night in Denver as his real baptism by fire. He didn’t get on the field until late in the third quarter, but those last four series provided an education unto themselves.

    With the ball on the Green Bay 6, Lee was covering wide receiver Clifford Russell on the right side. Patrick Ramsey telegraphed his pass, Lee broke on the ball and, with a clear field ahead, cut in front of Russell at the 5.

    Then he dropped the ball.

    “I wish I could have that back right now,” Lee said. “I read it all the way. Went right through my hands.”

    Three plays later, on fourth and goal from the 1, Russell had a step on Lee in the back right corner of the end zone. But Russell dropped the ball.

    “That was a tough play for him,” Washington said. “He had good coverage but his back was to the quarterback totally, so you’ve got to stay facing the guy and break on his move. Sometimes you’ve got to be a little lucky. He’s got to learn to get more to the body.”

    On the Broncos’ first play of their next possession, Carolina starter Keary Colbert ran a stop-and-go route. Beaten badly, Lee caught Colbert, who entered the league in 2004 running 4.5.

    However, Lee was too far inside and Colbert made the catch 36 yards downfield at the 10. But Bush, in at safety, came from nowhere to strip Colbert and it was ruled an incomplete pass.

    “Tough coverage,” Washington said. “Stutter-go. He caught back up but he came under. I told him to keep working toward the body.”

    Lee might still have been thinking about the interception gone awry when he found himself matched against veteran running back Michael Pittman on first and goal. With Pittman in the flat near the 10, Lee went for the big play, whiffed and Pittman walked into the end zone.

    “He should have run through the receiver instead of trying to make the catch,” Washington said. “That was angles. I think that’s corrected.”

    With 2 minutes left and Green Bay ahead by 3, the Broncos faced third and 10 at their 30. Playing in a zone, Lee expected Colbert to aim for the first down.

    “I was reading the sticks,” Lee said. “Then he took off.”

    Colbert ran right past Lee and had Darrell Hackney’s long pass in his hands. By then, Lee had caught up. When Colbert was drawing the ball to his chest, Lee reached in and knocked it free.

    “He somewhat squatted . . . and slowed his footwork down,” Washington said. “He never panicked when the ball was thrown deep. He made a play at the end and was able to get the ball out. He has a knack for that. You don’t teach that.”

    On a night when Lee might have been the goat in defeat, Lady Luck smiled on him.

    Through trial and error, desire and diligence, there might come a day when Lee will create his own luck.

    “Yeah, I’ve got the speed for it and, yeah, I’ve got the size for it,” he said. “I just have to get comfortable and work hard every play.”

    After that huge hit, I'm sold on Lee, hopefully he turns into the next great one.
  2. Packnic

    Packnic Cheesehead

    Mar 28, 2006
    i disagree completly that Pat Lee has been outplayed by Jarret Bush.

    Pat Lee looks like an athlete and a cornerback. and looks like he can make plays, and can react well to bad situations... as the article points out. Hes just young and learning. But i feel confident with him in there for some reason. and i cant say the same for Bush.

    But Bush just looks like an athlete. Hes fast, but hes been here awhile and i just dont see any natural cornerback skills from him. I went to Panthers training camp when Bush was still there and loved him. Fast as hell but I remember thinking this kid is gonna be good once he learns how to play cornerback... Well its 3 years later and it still hasnt clicked.

    Pat Lee reminds me of Charles Woodson... Jarret Bush reminds me of "He who need not be mentioned".
  3. bozz_2006

    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

    Mar 24, 2006
    Pat looks to me to be wearing the same shoes as Aaron Rouse was wearing last year at this time. He's a natural, with a nose for the ball, with an innate sense of the game. He didn't catch on until late in his time at Auburn, so he's a little behind the curve in relation to some other young CB's in the league. But, we have the luxury of taking on a CB who isn't expected to play now. We can take a year or two to coach him, so he can catch up to his competition... at which time i think he'll pass by much of his competition.

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