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Packers position preview: Safeties

7/23/2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Between now and the Green Bay Packers' first training camp practice on Saturday, we will break down each position group.

Next up, the safeties.

Returning players: Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Sean Richardson, Chris Banjo.

Gone from last season: M.D. Jennings.

New this season: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (first-round pick), Charles Clay (undrafted rookie), Tanner Miller (undrafted rookie).

Position coach: Darren Perry (sixth season).

Biggest issue: The last time the Packers got an interception from one of their safeties was Dec. 2, 2012, when Burnett twice picked off Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. They have gone 23 straight games (including a playoff) without one. Priority number one for this group is to force turnovers. That's why the Packers decided not to re-sign Jennings and made it a priority to get Hyde on the field more often. Although he played exclusively as a slot cornerback last season as a rookie, Hyde spent this entire offseason working at safety. And it's why they used their first-round pick on Clinton-Dix.

Player to watch: With much of the offseason focus on Hyde's position switch and Clinton-Dix, Richardson flew under the radar. But the third-year pro, who missed more than half of last season while recovering from neck surgery, has shown signs of his playmaking ability this offseason. During one of the open organized team activities, he picked off an Aaron Rodgers' deep pass that was intended for Jarrett Boykin during a no-huddle team period.

Medical report: This entire group is expected to be healthy heading in to training camp.

Help wanted: This is one of the few starting jobs that is truly up for grabs. Hyde worked with the No. 1 defensive throughout the offseason while Clinton-Dix learned defensive coordinator Dom Capers' scheme. It would seemingly be only a matter of time before the first-round pick ends up with a starting job, but Hyde has adjusted well enough to his new position that it could be a close battle.

Quotable: "He's a talented player but he's young; he still has a ways to go," Perry said of Clinton-Dix. "You don't want to get too excited now, but you saw some things that you liked from him watching the tape. Again, he's still learning and there's still a thought process that he has to go through before he can let loose. Time will allow that to happen."

Previous installments

July 14: Quarterbacks

July 15: Running backs

July 16: Receivers

July 17: Tight ends

July 18: Offensive line

July 21: Defensive line

July 22: Linebackers

July 23: Cornerbacks