Packers Annual Checkup: Jarrett Bush

In the Week 14 win over Atlanta, Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush had his best game of the 2013 season, playing 17 of 60 snaps on defense with one interception and two passes defensed.

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FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.

Jarrett Bush, cornerback / special teams

Season stats: 13 games (129 snaps), 14 tackles (eight on defense, six on special teams), five total missed tackles, zero tackles for loss, zero sacks, one quarterback hurry, one interception, zero forced fumbles, five passes defensed

ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 1.9 on defense; minus-2.0 on special teams (ranked No. 4 out of 26 qualified Packers defensive players; ranked No. 3 out of 11 Packers defensive backs)

Best game: Week 14 win over Atlanta (played 17 of 60 snaps; one interception, two passes defensed, one missed tackle; 1.4 PFF rating)

Packers 2014 Annual Checkup Archive

Worst game: Week 12 tie vs. Minnesota (played 23 of 81 snaps; two tackles, one missed tackle; minus-1.1 PFF rating)

Expectations at the start of the season: Low

Expectations were …  Exceeded

Looking live: Jarrett Bush has always been a hustle and effort player. His work ethic is unmatched, providing a great example to the younger players in the locker room. Bush became that type of player out of necessity. Undrafted in 2006, Bush has now carved out a career that’s already spanned eight NFL seasons, and 2013 might have been his best one yet. Bush was thrust into the starting outside cornerback role on Day 1 of training camp, getting that spot mostly due to Casey Hayward and Davon House both being out. By Day 3, with Tramon Williams having joined Hayward and House on the sideline, Bush was exposed in coverage, being recognized in the "So You Had a Bad Day" category of the Training Camp Report series. This was certainly not a job the Packers hoped to have Bush in, at least once the regular season began. Perhaps, though, those snaps with the No. 1 defense contributed positively to what Bush would later accomplish. Of course, throughout those practices, Bush continued to work with the first-string special teams units. Anything that Bush gives Green Bay defensively is mostly just a bonus, as his value has always been on special teams.

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Upon further review: Bush had a hamstring injury early in the season, leading to him being on the game-day inactive list for Weeks 2, 3 and 6. By the midpoint of the regular season, Bush had only played 23 defensive snaps, 22 of which came in Week 1. But, in the second half of the year, Bush got more opportunities and played some of the best football of his career. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers called on Bush to be the dime back, and it worked. No moment in Bush’s season was more memorable than what he did in the Packers’ Week 14 win over Atlanta. On fourth-and-5 with the ball on the 33-yard line and Green Bay clinging to a one-point lead, Bush matched up on tight end Tony Gonzalez in single coverage and broke up the pass. Later in that game, on a desperation third-down play with 11 seconds remaining, Bush came up with the fourth interception of his career to seal the victory for the Packers. Unfortunately for Bush, many fans will remember an important fourth-quarter play in the postseason loss to San Francisco in which he allowed Colin Kaepernick to get outside and scramble for an 11-yard gain on third down. On special teams, Bush remained the guy to which all other fringe players should strive to become.

Overall 2013 grade: B-minus

Status for 2014: Ninety-percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Bush will turn 30 years old in May, which would make him one of a very small number of Green Bay players in the over-30 club. Yet, given how dependable he is, it’s difficult to not see Bush on the team for at least one more season. The Packers’ special teams was the weak link of the 2013 season, so getting rid of that group’s best performer would be counter-productive to fixing it. Even if he doesn’t contribute on defense in 2014 as much (or as well) as he did in 2013, Bush still seems worth the $2 million that he’s due for next season.

Next: Wide receiver Randall Cobb

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