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A (Davon) House made of brick (hands) excels in Packers' secondary

9/26/2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Davon House stood at his locker at Lambeau Field this week and looked around at the neighboring cornerbacks who occupy one wall in the Green Bay Packers' changing area.

One after another, he rattled off the players the Packers have at his position.

Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Demetri Goodson, Jarrett Bush.

It's no wonder the Packers have not even approached House about a contract extension.

"If they decided not to go my way, they've still got all those guys," said House, who has emerged early this season as one of the team's top playmakers in the secondary.

When told the 31-year-old Williams is in the final year of his contract, House appeared surprised.

"Oh, OK," he said. "I think J.B. is in his last year, too."

Indeed, both Williams and the 30-year-old Bush are working under contracts that expire after this season, which is all the more reason to think House could be next in line for a contract extension. Yet, according to House, there has been nothing but crickets from the Packers’ financial people.

"Not even discussed," he said.

If House keeps playing like he has the past two weeks, that will surely change. He is the final year of his rookie contract, the one he signed after the Packers drafted him in the fourth round out of New Mexico State in 2011.

While the consensus is receiver Randall Cobb is next in line for a new deal, the Packers have plenty of room under the salary cap -- $8,570,906 in unused space, according to the latest figures from ESPN Stats & Information -- to do more than one extension.

After not even getting on the field in Week 1 because cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt went with Hayward in the nickel package, House, who has played sparingly on defense his first three seasons in part because of injuries, moved into that role in Week 2 against the Jets. He threw himself into the spotlight with an interception last Sunday against the Lions on a Matthew Stafford deep ball that was intended for Calvin Johnson. The 6-foot, 195-pound House took his share of snaps against Johnson, who caught just one ball for 15 yards in three targets against him.

Lest you think House has come out of the blue the past two weeks, Whitt is quick to say otherwise. He mentioned House’s offseason workouts with Bush, his study time with Williams and the time he spent honing his skills with veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis this past summer as signs of House's progression.

"Everything we've asked him to do, you're seeing the fruits of it," Whitt said. "He's playing in the pass game the way we want him to play. He has to tighten up his run-game support and the tackling. Once he does that, we'll have a complete football player that's going to play high-level football. I'm excited to see what he can be because he has a skill set that is different than everybody else in the room."

That skill set Whitt referred to is House's size and strength. He reminds Whitt of former Packers cornerback Al Harris, one of the strongest press-cover corners the team has ever had.

"I've coached three men that had hands like bricks -- Al Harris, him and another guy named Antoine Sharp, who you've never heard of but I coached him at Louisville," Whitt said. "But when they put their hands on you, it feels like bricks on you and they can redirect people. And they're fast enough."

If you're wondering how Whitt knows their hands are like bricks, well, he has the bruises to prove it.

"During the first couple of days of training camp, I am black and blue because I allow them to punch me because I want to feel their hand placement," Whitt said. “And the very first time he put his hands on me, oh my goodness. Him and Al, their hands feel like bricks."