Tha Sports Junkies 101

Green Bay’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Is No Joke For Opposing Offenses

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Brett Bukowski via


Ha’Sean Treshon Clinton-Dix, more commonly known as Ha Ha, fell into the Packers lap in the 2014 draft and hasn’t looked back since.

The Packers had a large hole in their secondary following the loss of three-time Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, who sustained a career-ending neck injury in Carolina in 2011. Collins was a large component of the 2010 Super Bowl winning team, and a rising superstar in the league.

His absence crippled the defense until that 2014 draft when they used their first-round pick on Alabama’s Clinton-Dix. In college he was known for his instinctive play and hard hitting attitude, and it has carried over since day one.

The past two years have proved to be successful for Clinton-Dix as he has learned his place within Dom Caper’s 3-4 defense as the starting safety. Using his uncanny play-making ability to record 192 tackles, nine passes deflections and three interceptions in his first 32 regular-season games.

He has also made an imprint in his 4 postseason appearances with 20 tackles, seven passes deflections and three picks.

Perhaps even more important then his overall stats is his consistency. In his first two seasons including the postseason he has played in 36 consecutive games. For a team that struggled to find someone to fill that spot for so long, knowing he will be there every Sunday couldn’t be more crucial.

His rookie season consisted of a bout with numerous missed tackles due to over-aggressiveness, an issue he has seemingly corrected over his short career.

Clinton-Dix, only 23, enters the new season with lofty expectations. He and his partner at safety, Morgan Burnett, have earned themselves a place in the discussion as the most feared duo in the league. That distinction means every game they need to bring it.

Since Clinton-Dix joined Green Bay, Burnett has seen the two most productive years of his career. The veteran safety has recorded 198 tackles, three forced fumbles, 1½ sacks and an interception in only 26 games in the span. He has had minor injuries that have caused him to miss time, but when the pair are together the defense thrives.

The Packers defense has long been looking for a vocal and emotional leader and head coach Mike McCarthy believes Clinton-Dix may be the solution.

“You look at your team, when you’re young you have to create opportunities for guys to step up and lead,” McCarthy remarked at the NFL Owners Meetings in late March. “I think that’s where the void will be filled. I look for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and some of these guys to step up and take advantage of it.”

In a piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packers safety coach, Darren Perry reiterated the importance of Clinton-Dix new found leadership role.

“I think he’s learning how to play the pro game. I think he’d be the first to tell you he still has a ways to go.”

“Really understanding what offenses are trying to do to us and putting us in better match-ups and leaning to where we think the ball is going to go and putting ourselves, almost like the quarterback in our offense and getting us in favorable match-ups as much as we can.”

Clinton-Dix is not alone in this defensive renaissance in Green Bay. He is joined by talented, and very young players all around him.

Green Bay did lose a great player in Casey Hayward to free-agency, but still have an abundance of talent with Sam Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins at cornerback. Big-play magnet Micah Hyde has seen a lot of snaps from the slot while in nickel and dime packages, and is always ready and willing to fill at safety.

Pro Football Focus recently ranked the Packers young, ball-hawking secondary as the fifth-best group in the NFL. This comes after a 2015 season when Green Bay’s secondary proved to be on the come up. They ranked sixth in passing yards allowed (227.6), sixth in touchdown passes allowed (20), and seventh in opposing quarterback rating (80.1).

Clinton-Dix leads this group into a season in which the Packers are again favored to win the NFC North, despite the Vikings winning in 2015-16.

The Packers offense will always get most of the headlines because of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, but the defense and Clinton-Dix are looking to grab some spotlight of their own along the way. As one of the league’s youngest secondaries, they are only on their way up according to defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

“Those guys we drafted last year, they stepped in and really did a nice job for us” Capers said. “We’re expecting those guys to take a step from year one to year two now that they know a lot more of what it’s all about because they played and had some real good production for us.”

Clinton-Dix will have pressure and eyes on him all year, but the third year man appears ready to take the step from young and up-and-coming to perennial Pro-Bowler.