GREEN BAY – To Davon House, it’s all so simple. He never really got a fair shake.
“A healthy House is a good House,” the Green Bay Packers third-year cornerback said Wednesday, as he prepared for Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. “As long as I’m healthy, the sky is the limit. I can play for a long time. But the hardest part in this league is staying healthy.”
House knows that all too well. He struggled to keep his name off of the injury report in his first two seasons, having suffered through hamstring and ankle troubles that only allowed him to see action in two games his rookie season in 2011. Then, in 2012, House battled for a starting position at cornerback with Sam Shields and impressed the Packers coaching staff enough to earn a starting nod in the preseason opener at San Diego that summer.
In that game, House not only started but played into the third quarter, when he separated his shoulder while playing special teams.
For the second straight season, what appeared to be a blossoming career was put on hold.
“This is the most I’ve been healthy. I always knew I [could] play,” House said. “Especially since my rookie year on the practice squad trying to cover Greg (Jennings) and Jordy (Nelson). I said, ‘Well, I can do this.’”
Safety Morgan Burnett, like House, suffered through injuries early in his career. He tore his ACL in his rookie season in 2010 and played with a broken hand in 2011. He missed the first three games this season with a hamstring injury.
“With this game of football, adversity is going to come your way and it’s all about how you overcome it and bounce back,” Burnett said. “Injuries happen but you just have to look at it like a minor setback for a major comeback.”
Burnett’s “major comeback” after his ACL tear included starting every game in 2011 and playing every single defensive snap for the Packers in 2012.
House, on the other hand, may be in the midst of writing his own major comeback story heading into Sunday night.
He broke up three passes in the Packers win over Baltimore on Oct. 13, despite only playing 15 defensive snaps and being replaced in the second half. According to House and his coaches, he was lifted in favor of rookie Micah Hyde because of the combination of his special teams work and playing time on defense had worn him out.
Then, a week after being benched, he followed that up with maybe his best game of his career last week against the Browns. In 59 snaps, House had three more pass breakups to go along with the first interception of his career.
“I like the way he’s played the last two weeks,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “I think he’s played his best, which is encouraging.”
So far in 2013, House has recorded 11 tackles, a sack, is one of three Packers defenders to intercept a pass and is second on the team to Shields with six pass breakups. With Casey Hayward set to return from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the first six games, and Hyde playing well, too, the Packers have plenty of coverage options in their sub packages on defense. Against the Browns, House played in both the nickel and dime defenses, working outside opposite Shields while Tramon Williams (nickel) and Williams and Hyde (dime) worked inside.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has been pleased with that production on the defensive side of the ball, but lauded a different area of House’s game.
“He’s done some really good things on special teams,” McCarthy said. “So I think anytime you have a player that’s playing at a high level on offense or defense and contributes the way he has on special teams, I think that’s very important to your team’s success.”
That success is now carrying over to when House plays on defense, and while Hayward’s return could mean less playing time for House, he isn’t worried – as long as he has his health and a chance to compete.
“With a healthy House,” he said with a smile, “anything is good.”
There are no games scheduled for today.
There are no games scheduled for today.