Much like a Phoenix rising from ashes, Damarious Randall has been reborn for the Green Bay Packers. Since his benching and consequent banishment from the sidelines in a week four game against the Chicago Bears, Randall has been the stand out player in the secondary. Randall has shown an extraordinary amount of growth in the latter part of 2017 and he appears to be playing at the highest level yet.
How Damarious Randall Bounced Back
Randall played his college football at Arizona State University and had two consistently great seasons before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 30th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Originally a safety in college, the Packers wanted him to play cornerback at the pro level.
He started his NFL career strong, becoming the Packers number one cornerback in his rookie year. Randall recorded three interceptions and 53 combined tackles in just nine starts. However, Randall’s sophomore season hit a few speed bumps. To begin with, he had a lingering groin injury and it appeared as though he lost confidence in his own skill set. Randall still flashed his amazing attributes and made splash plays throughout the year.
in 2017, Randall and fellow draft-mate Quinten Rollins entered their third year in the NFL, what some call the “leap year”. A “leap year” is the year in which a player is expected to make the jump from young talent to great player. Randall started the season slow getting beat in man and zone coverage all too often eventually leading to a benching in week four.
Since then, he has recorded big play after big play when the team was in dire straights. In the thrilling week five match up against the Dallas Cowboys, Randall had arguably the best and most important play of the game. Randall jumped in front of a Dak Prescott pass, and returned it for a touchdown, giving all momentum to the Packers. This turned out to be the game changing play that was overlooked by many due to the brilliance that Aaron Rodgers would display just a few minutes later. Rodgers led the offense down the field and tossed the game winning touchdown to Davante Adams with just seconds remaining. Randall was the forgotten hero that week.
As it stands now, the Packers are in win now mode for the rest of the season. Their record stands at 5-6 with five games left to be played. Realistically, they would need to win 10 games to earn a playoff berth. If they want any shot at winning the next five games, Randall and the rest of the defense must step up and fill the massive void Rodgers left on the other side of the ball until Rodgers returns from Injured Reserve.
So far, Randall has done his part. Since Rodgers went down, Randall has recorded three interceptions in just six games, and has been the best and most reliable cover man in the secondary. He has been playing exceptional football the last few weeks and is showing why the Packers made him a first round draft choice. With Randall and 2017 second round pick Kevin King at corner, the future of the defense seems to be growing increasingly brighter.
My Cause My Cleats
This week Damarious Randall will wear cleats that honor the S.A.Y (Stuttering Foundation for the Young) as his cause. Randall fought to overcome a stutter from a young age and wants to raise awareness for speech disorders, especially in children. As a writer and someone with a speech disorder, I am delighted to see Randall and others shedding light to such an overlooked topic.