Burnett Going Clubbing

S Morgan Burnett (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

Safety Morgan Burnett continued his strong start to the season while playing with a cast on his broken right hand. "You have to push through and try to find a way to get the job done," he said.

If Morgan Burnett is prone to episodes of bragging, he has done a good job keeping it to himself.

The Green Bay Packers' soft-spoken second-year safety has three interceptions going into Sunday's game at Minnesota, but you certainly wouldn't know that from listening to him talk about giving the credit to others and just trying to get better.

Still, there's one accomplishment that might make Burnett break character and pat himself on the back: making a one-handed interception while wearing a club on his broken right hand, a feat he'd love to accomplish Sunday. He can even imagine himself making the play.

''Just try to focus in on those threads and catch it the best way you can,'' Burnett said. ''You come away with a one-handed catch, that's pretty great. That's tough.''

Burnett broke his hand in practice last week and played Sunday's game against St. Louis with the hand wrapped up in a bulky club. He struggled early, allowing a big play when he missed a tackle on Rams tight end Lance Kendricks.

That play raised a red flag with Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, but Burnett settled down quickly and played well for the remainder of the game.

''I think you're dealing with open-field tackle situations,'' Capers said. ''If you can't grab with one arm, you're always concerned about that. Who knows? On the first one, probably if he had both hands he'd have gotten the guy on the ground. He's going to be dealing with that for a while. Morgan's a bright guy and I think he adjusted to it and had some pretty good licks after that and got people on the ground.''

Packers coach Mike McCarthy was impressed with the way Burnett adjusted.

''He missed a tackle, but after that play he settled in and played very well,'' McCarthy said. ''You don't have use of your hand, just have to be fundamentally sound, particularly in tackling, and really emphasize wrapping your arms. I thought he played very well, especially for the first time with that club on his hand, because he really didn't get to practice with it.''

Burnett acknowledged that playing with the club is a challenge.

''Just (having) your hand in one set position throughout the game, you can't have your hands in all different positions, whether it's catching the ball, wrapping your arms on a tackle,'' Burnett said. ''It's just one of those things, one of those challenges, that you have to push through and try to find a way to get the job done.''

The Packers traded up to take Burnett in the third round of the 2010 draft. He won a starting job coming out of training camp as a rookie, and was playing well when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament against Detroit in Week 4. Burnett had to watch the remainder of the season as Charlie Peprah took over at safety, played well and helped the Packers on their run to a Super Bowl title.

But Burnett was healthy going into training camp this season, and basically won his job back right away.

Now Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins is out for the season with a neck injury, pairing Burnett and Peprah in the Packers' defensive backfield. With Collins out, Burnett has had to take on additional responsibilities in terms of making calls.

''I like the way he's played, other than two or three plays in the Broncos game,'' Capers said of Burnett. ''Other than that, he's played extremely well. I think he's been physical. He's obviously come up with the ball a few times. He's kind of assumed the call role back there, moving over more to Nick's position since we lost Nick. I think he's making very good progress. It's easy to forget about Morgan, (he) came out last year as a junior and we only had him for four games. He's really out there somewhat as a rookie and I think he's doing a nice job for us.''

That's high praise coming from Capers. But as usual, Burnett was more inclined to give credit to others - even to the team's trainers for doing a ''really good job'' wrapping up his hand - than take any credit himself.

''It's going pretty good,'' Burnett said. ''Still a long way to go, still a lot of learning and a lot of improving to do. That's the good part about it, still find ways to improve and still get better. I'm really looking forward to it.''


Follow Associated Press writer Chris Jenkins on Twitter at twitter.com/ByChrisJenkins.

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