Sunday, September 5, 2010

2010 Green Bay Packers Initial 53-Man Roster

As of Saturday morning the Green Bay Packers had 75 guys on their active roster*. By league mandate, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson had to cut that number to 53 by Saturday night. In order to get down to the final 53-man roster, Thompson had to do something with 22 guys. Thompson cut 20 guys** and placed 2 guys on injured reserve***. Sorry to the 22 guys that did not make the 53-man roster, I know it is not a Sunday Funday in your households.

Sorry for that quick downer, congrats to the 53 guys that made the opening day roster for the 2010 Green Bay Packers, here is a quick breakdown by position:

Offense (26):

QB (2): Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn

RB (2): Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson

FB (3): Korey Hall, John Kuhn, and Quinn Johnson

WR (5): Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Brett Swain

TE (4): Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee, Tom Crabtree, and Andrew Quarless

OT (4): Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Bryan Bulaga, and Marshall Newhouse

OG (4): Josh Sitton, Daryn Colledge, T.J. Lang, and Nick McDonald

C (2): Scott Wells and Jason Spitz

Defense (24):

DE (5): Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal, Justin Harrell, and C.J. Wilson

NT (1): B.J. Raji

OLB (4): Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Brady Poppinga, and Frank Zombo

ILB (4): Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Brandon Chillar, and Desmond Bishop

CB (6): Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Brandon Underwood, Jarrett Bush, and Pat Lee

S (4): Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, Charlie Peprah, and Derrick Martin

Specialists (3):

K: Mason Crosby

P: Tim Masthay

LS: Brett Goode

Quick Thoughts:
As usual, not too many big surprises. With how much information we have at our finger tips, none of the roster decisions were shocking. The only mild surprise was Thompson cutting Kregg Lumpkin, leaving the Packers with only have two true running backs on their opening day roster. Besides that, Thompson keeping Crabtree instead of Havner shows that Thompson values blocking over versatility at the tight end position.

Not to belabor the point, but I am still not too sure why the Packers want to carry so many tight ends and fullbacks while carrying so few running backs and nose tackles. The Packers have to be the only team in the NFL with 4 tight ends, 3 fullbacks, 2 running backs, and 1 nose tackle. Running back and defensive line are normally positions of strength for teams. If Ryan Grant or B.J. Raji get seriously injured, the Packers' Super Bowl aspirations will take a big hit.

The Green Bay Packers lead the NFL with 5 of the 20 players they cut (as of Sunday, September 5, 2010) getting claimed by other NFL teams. The players that were claimed by other teams were: Evan Dietrich-Smith (C) by the Seattle Seahawks, Spencer Havner (TE/LB) by the Detroit Lions, Kregg Lumpkin (RB) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cyril Obiozor (LB) by the Arizona Cardinals, and Anthony Toribio (NT) by the Kansas City Chiefs. Other NFL teams knew that Thompson had more than 53 players he wanted to keep so rather than making a trade, they forced Thompson's hand and tried to get one of the cut players through the waiver wire instead of trading with Thompson.

Of the 5 guys claimed, Thompson is going to regret cutting Lumpkin and Toribio the most. Lumpkin has experience in the Green Bay Packers zone blocking scheme having played for the Packers in 2008. Not only did Toribio want to stay with the Packers so bad that he gladly would have joined the practice squad, but with the Packers thin at nose tackle and the inevitable breakdown of Justin Harrell looming, Thompson is going to wish he kept the talented Toribio.

Once the dust settled, the Packers finalized their 8 person practice squad: Chastin West (WR), Chad Campbell (T), Breno Giacomini (T), Graham Harrell (QB), James Johnson (RB), Rob Francois (LB), Maurice Simpkins (LB), and Anthony Levine (S).

Thompson kept 18 players that have one season or less of NFL experience: 11 players have never played in an NFL game**** and 7 have played only one season in the NFL*****. That means 33% of the 2010 Green Bay Packers roster is comprised of "rookies". A ton continues to be written about how the Packers are one of the youngest teams in the NFL. This year, the Packers are not only a young team, but they are a very inexperienced team at certain crucial defensive positions: outside linebacker, defensive back, and safety.

The Packers kept three undrafted free agents (McDonald, Shields, and Zombo) for the first time since 2002. The Packers would be better off with a few veterans in place of some of the aforementioned undrafted rookies, but as we know, that is not the Ted Thompson way.

Despite having no clue (when has that ever stopped me) before, I thought I would close the post by speculating on the last 5 players kept on offense, the last 5 players kept on defense, and the last 5 players cut by Thompson:

- Last 5 players kept on offense: Brett Swain (WR), Tom Crabtree (TE), Marshall Newhouse (T), Nick McDonald (G), and Quinn Johnson (FB).

- Last 5 players kept on defense: Justin Harrell (DL), C.J. Wilson (DL), Frank Zombo (OLB), Jarrett Bush (DB), and Pat Lee (DB).

- Last 5 players cut: Anthony Toribio (NT), Breno Giacomini (T), Kregg Lumpkin (RB), Spencer Havner (TE/LB), and Jarius Wynn (DE).

Hope everyone has a Sunday Funday! Check back next Sunday before the Green Bay Packers' season opener in Philadelphia against the upstart Eagles to see my rankings of the entire opening day roster for the 2010 Green Bay Packers ranked 53 to 1.

* = In order to conform with league mandates, the Packers trimmed their roster for 80 to 75 earlier in the week by cutting Shawn Gore (WR), putting Quinn Porter (RB) on injured reserve, and placing Atari Bigby (RB), Al Harris (CB), & James Starks (RB) on the physically unable to perform ("PUP") list. Being placed on the PUP list means that Bigby, Harris, and Starks are not allowed to participate in team activities till Week 7 of the 2010 NFL season. Starting Week 7, Thompson has three weeks to: activate them, trade them, waive them, or place them on injured reserve. Finally, Johnny Jolly is on the reserve/suspended list until at the least the Super Bowl because of his Purple Drank fiasco in Houston, TX.

** = Chris Bryan (P), Chris Campbell (T), Jason Chery (WR), D.J. Clark (CB), Evan Dietrich-Smith (C/G), Charles Dillon (WR), Robert Francois (LB), Breno Giacomini (T), Graham Harrell (QB), Spencer Havner (TE), Alex Joseph (LB), Anthony Levine (S), Kregg Lumpkin (RB), Cyril Obiozor (LB), Maurice Simpkins (LB), Ronald Talley (DE), Anthony Toribio (NT), Chastin West (WR), Patrick Williams (WR), and Jarius Wynn (DE).

*** = Allen Barbre (G/T) and Will Blackmon (S).

**** = Bryan Bulaga (T), Morgan Burnett (S), Tom Crabtree (TE), Tim Masthay (P), Nick McDonald (G), Mike Neal (DE), Marshall Newhouse (G/T), Andrew Quarless (TE), Sam Shields (CB), C.J. Wilson (DE), and Frank Zombo (LB).

***** = Quinn Johnson (FB), Brad Jones (OLB), T.J. Lang (T/G), Pat Lee (CB), Clay Matthews (OLB), B.J. Raji (NT), and Brandon Underwood (CB).

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