Though Green Bay's special teams were a problem in 2014, it wasn't because of Jarrett Bush. It might have been Bush's best season on special teams.
Jeff Hanisch/Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jarrett Bush, cornerback/special teams
FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. You can find every report here.
Season stats (playoffs included): 17 games (45 snaps; 3.6 percent of total defensive snaps), 18 tackles, four missed tackles, zero tackles for loss, zero sacks, one quarterback hurry, zero interceptions, one pass defensed, zero forced fumbles, one penalty committed, zero stops (solo tackles that resulted in offensive failure); targeted nine times in coverage, allowing seven receptions for 73 yards and one touchdown
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: Minus-1.2 on defense; 7.5 on special teams (top-ranked Packers special teams player)
Best game: NFC championship game loss at Seattle; one special teams tackle on kickoff coverage, zero missed tackles; played one snap on defense; 2.0 PFF special teams rating
Worst game: Week 7 win over Carolina (played 13 of 71 defensive snaps); four tackles, one missed tackle, one pass defensed; targeted six times in coverage, allowing five receptions for 39 yards and one touchdown; minus-0.8 PFF defensive rating)
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were … Met
Looking live: There’s never going to be much fanfare when it comes to Jarrett Bush. After nearly a decade with the Packers, Bush is the definition of a "he is what he is" type of player. However, Bush is an incredibly hard-working athlete who has maxed out what his physical talents could have ever allowed him to accomplish.
"You look at like a Jarrett Bush," said Mike Daniels on July 27, 2014, "the guy’s been in the NFL 100 years and yet he’s not a guy when you talk about the Packers secondary, you don’t bring his name up. But when he speaks, you better listen, because he’s going on Year 9 and knows what he’s talking about. He’s seen a lot, he’s been through a lot. So regardless of who you are, regardless of your stats or your prestige as you may put it, you’ve been in the NFL for some years, you’ve seen some things, you’ve learned some things. And nobody is here by accident, by the way."
During training-camp practices, when Bush isn’t on the field, he can constantly be seen on the sidelines taking ghost reps. He’ll back-pedal and go through the movements like he’s the one defending the wide receiver. Meanwhile, the vast majority of his younger teammates stand around doing nothing as they wait. Every one of them should be learning from Bush’s commitment and desire.
As is often the case every year in training camp, Bush performed well on a regular basis. On the ninth day of practice, Bush was recognized in the "Movin’ On Up" category of FOXSportsWisconsin.com’s Training Camp Report series. Bush intercepted Aaron Rodgers on an out pass intended for Jarrett Boykin and later blanketed Ryan Taylor on a deep ball from Rodgers that was incomplete. Bush had an interception in the following practice, as well.
This was while also performing his regular special-teams duties, which account for the main reasons that Bush’s career has lasted so long. By the late stages of training camp, Bush was on the No. 1 punt coverage, punt return and kick return units.
Upon further review: Defensively, Bush’s snaps have decreased drastically since he was on the field for 321 plays in 2011. In the three years since then, Bush has combined to play just 263 snaps. This season, he was all the way down to 45 total defensive snaps. Green Bay had a very deep secondary group, but 45 snaps was a very clear indicator that Bush was making a living with the Packers almost exclusively as a special-teams specialist.
When Bush played 28 defensive snaps between Weeks 6 and 7, he struggled in coverage. Of those 28 plays, 15 of them saw Bush drop back in coverage. Of those 15 plays, Bush allowed seven passes to be completed in his direction for 73 yards and one touchdown.
Though Green Bay’s special teams were a problem in 2014, it wasn’t because of Bush. It might have been Bush’s best season on special teams. He didn’t have the high-impact plays like in the past, but Bush was so solid and was one of a very small group of special-teams players who could be consistently counted upon to do the right thing. ProFootballFocus had Bush rated as the NFL’s 12th-best overall special-teams player in 2014.
Overall 2014 grade: C
Status for 2015: Forty percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster to begin the 2015 regular season. Bush is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He made more than $2 million this past season. With several key free agents that Green Bay will prioritize over Bush, finding the money to pay him after that could be hard to come by for Ted Thompson. The Packers also have younger, much less expensive players who could take over for Bush on special teams, including fellow cornerback Demetri Goodson. Bush wants to remain in Green Bay and become a decade-long Packer, and it’s possible that both sides find a way to make it happen.