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Micah Hyde to be every-down player for Packers?

The Green Bay Packers were the only NFL team that did not record a single interception from a safety last season.

That lack of playmaking ability extended throughout a secondary that forced just four fumbles and finished 24th in passing yards surrendered.

General manager Ted Thompson didn't seek an upgrade in free agency because he knows he has intriguing in-house options such as versatile 2013 fifth-round draft pick Micah Hyde, already a favorite of coach Mike McCarthy.


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"Micah Hyde deserves the opportunity to be an every-down player on our defense," McCarthy said this week at the NFL Annual Meeting, via ESPN.com. "And as we go into 2014, that's our responsibility as a coaching staff to create those competitive opportunities for him to get that done. I got to a point in the season where Micah was standing on the sidelines too much."

Despite playing limited snaps as the nickel back, Hyde was responsible for half of the secondary's forced fumbles and showed a penchant for big plays as a kick-return specialist.

Now that Casey Hayward -- one of the NFL's top rookies in 2012 -- is returning after missing nearly the entirety of last season with a nagging hamstring injury, Hyde could be ticketed for the old Charles Woodson role as a free safety moving to the slot in sub-packages.

"We're going to give Micah the opportunity to play on all three downs -- whether that's corner, nickel, dime, safety," McCarthy added. "That's the versatility I think he brings to our football team."

Eight-time Pro Bowl selection Julius Peppers will hog the spotlight leading up to the 2014 season, but the ball-hawking duo of Hyde and Hayward hold the key to a defensive turnaround.

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