The Green Bay Packers will start a pair of rookies on offense – left tackle David Bakhtiari and running back Eddie Lacy – in Sunday’s season opener at San Francisco, and likely will play at least one other rookie, cornerback Micah Hyde, the equivalent of starter’s snaps.
Here’s the first of three installments of Rookie Watch, looking at each one of those players, that will run this week leading up to the 49ers game:
When Micah Hyde first won a starting cornerback job as a sophomore at Iowa in 2010, he knew quarterbacks were going to test him.
When asked if he held his own in those situations, Hyde replied: “I’d like to think I did.”
He must have. That season, he earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from the league’s media members. He went on to start the next two seasons.
Hyde, a fifth-round draft pick, knows that the NFL is another level.
“I’m a nobody right now,” he said Wednesday.
But there is a sense in the Packers’ locker room that he will do the same thing against the 49ers on Sunday that he did as a first-time starter at Iowa. With Casey Hayward ruled out because of a hamstring injury, Hyde is expected to get the bulk of the snaps as the slot cornerback in the Packers’ nickel defensive package, something Dom Capers uses almost exclusively in obvious passing situations.
But will 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick pick on Hyde? A more seasoned quarterback might attack the rookie, but it remains to be seen whether Kaepernick, who did not become a starter until midway through last season, will take that kind of approach.
“I’m prepared for anything,” Hyde said. “Day one … when I came in, Coach said, ‘Prepare for anything; prepare like you’re going to be the starter Week 1.’”
In the preseason, Hyde played more snaps (156) than anyone on the Packers’ defense, according to ProFootballFocus.
“Micah Hyde is really probably one of the top producers as far as production throughout training camp, and this will be a great opportunity for him,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Our secondary is a group that we feel like we’ve made a lot of progress with. So Micah will do whatever is asked, and I have a lot of confidence in him.”