After the Green Bay Packers' shaky 17-0 loss in the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals, questions started to emerge about the future of the team for this upcoming season. Although this skepticism clearly came too soon (the Packers took a win in their second preseason game over the St. Louis Rams), there were several players that were less than spectacular in the opener. One of these players was third-year corner Davon House, who is slated to receive increased playing time this season on defense.
After starting four years at New Mexico State, House only has played in 11 games in his NFL career (five starts), so it is not surprising that House still will battle with consistency issues. However, it was alarming to see House give up two plays of 30-plus yards and one over 15 yards in 16 plays on defense. In order to fight off the likes of Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Sam Shields and Micah Hyde for playing time, House will have to show the promise that earned him the starting nod in 2012 before a shoulder injury derailed the beginning of his season.
House looks the part of a NFL corner. At 6’1” and 195 lbs, House is one of the most intimidating corners in the Packers' secondary, and seeing House rock #31 brings back memories of Packers' great Al Harris. He is a different breed from the other corners on the roster, and offers the Packers a tall, physical corner that can excel in press coverage.
Last season House was able to jump up the depth chart due to his all-around game. Although he is still raw, House may be one of the better all-around corners the Packers have. He has excellent length and long arms that allow him to jam receivers, and he has shown the willingness to provide run support even though he is still working on his tackling.
Unfortunately, House does have limitations that only practice and more experience will help. As many fans saw that Friday against the Cardinals, House struggles when he is forced to change directions. Michael Floyd showed this with his 18 yard reception on the sideline against House. He also tends to struggle keeping up with smaller receivers, and this also showed up against the Cardinals as both Charles Hawkins (5'8") and Andre Roberts (5'11") had big receptions against House (even though House couldn't have covered Roberts much better on his 38 yard touchdown reception).
There is no question House has plenty of room to improve and the first preseason game’s performance displayed House's weaknesses. With all this being said, House can still compete and play at the NFL level. His game against the Rams in the second preseason game showed that he has the ability to bounce back and keep up. Head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers have expressed confidence in House over the past two years, and House showed last season that he can play with a short memory.
With injuries depleting the corner position so far this training camp (both Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward are out), House will continue to see increased playing time and his play should improve with more experience. House can be match-up option against bigger receivers this year, and when he plays on the outside with Williams it allows Shields and Hayward to move to the nickel and dime corners.
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