Morgan Burnett only benefits from Atari Bigby's absence

The confusing absence of Atari Bigby from the offseason program continues to be, well, a little befuddling. That’s especially in light of the fact that every day Bigby isn’t doing something to impress the coaching staff, rookie third-round draft pick Morgan Burnett has the opportunity to do so.

That’s the thing that is maybe most puzzling about the Bigby situation. The restricted free agent is unhappy with his contract situation. But the Packers didn’t have a pressing need to draft Burnett 71st overall in the beginning of the third round. They selected him, knowing they have Pro Bowl performer Nick Collins and Bigby, because they believed he was too good to pass up at that spot. Collins isn’t going anywhere in the secondary. Bigby might just be headed to the bench if Burnett can take the job and run with it – literally.

Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette tackled the issue and reports that Burnett has been impressive as a playmaker throughout OTA’s for the Packers.

“He’s learning; he’s growing,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I do like his assertiveness, particularly in his communication skills, and that’s very important at the safety position. Athletically, he’s a young man with a bright future. You can just see the athletic ability, both on special teams and defense. He’s still learning the defense, and he’s doing a good job of that.”

Tuesday marks the deadline when teams can begin reducing offers to RFA’s to 110 percent of their 2009 base salary. If Bigby doesn’t sign by then, he’ll be at a real impasse with the club. There is still time for him to get in for the end of OTA’s and a late minicamp when the Packers will be doing review work. Injuries have plagued Bigby the last two seasons too, and he needs to prove he’s healthy and ready.

“I think all of our players understand the importance of the OTAs, particularly the players that have been here in the past, the opportunities that they’re given and the time that the coaching staff puts into these OTAs and the individual time that’s available afterward,” McCarthy said.

“Anytime a player misses these, it’s an opportunity that is wasted as far as being with his teammates. But we can’t deny there are business situations that surround our business, and that’s no different for Atari or any others that have not been here.”

Bigby’s business ultimately is on the football field and he needs to get there soon.

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