Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Green Bay Packers Roster 3.0

With two preseason game in the books on the road v. Chargers and at home v. Browns, there are still a handful of fringe roster spots up for grabs and almost every practice squad position is far from decided, especially when you factor in that a number of guys that the Packers cut at the end of the preseason will make other team's 53-man active rosters.  Based on what I've seen so far, here are my updated thoughts on what the 53-man roster and 8-man practice squad should look for the 2012 Green Bay Packers:

Quarterback (2): Aaron Rodgers and Graham Harrell
Analysis: In limited action, Rodgers looked sharp.  In extensive action, Harrell has looked anything but sharp.  Week 4 of the preseason will be a big week for Harrell because he will play almost the entire game, which will go a long way to determining whether the Packers add a veteran quarterback to back-up Rogers or stick with Harrell.

Running Back (4): Cedric Benson, James Starks, Alex Green, and Brandon Saine
Analysis: Anxiously anticipating the start of the Cedric Benson era, which will ironically start against his former employer tomorrow night on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fullback (1): John Kuhn
Analysis: Depending on what Green and Saine show the next few weeks, the Packers might use Kuhn as their 3rd down back because Starks is still hurt and Benson does not have a reputation for being a good blocker.

Tight End (4): Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams, and Ryan Taylor
PUP (1): Andrew Quarless
Keep: Analysis: Despite all the injuries at some point it might come down to choosing between Williams and Taylor because the Packers have so many needs on defense that they might not be able to keep as many tight ends as they would like.

Wide Receiver (5)
: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Randall Cobb
Analysis: Discussing injuries is becoming a recurring theme of this post but it bears mention because the Packers need to get Jennings and Finley on the field to see what their offense looks like with a full compliment of offensive weapons at their disposal.

Tackle (4)
: Bryan Bulaga, Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod, and Andrew Datko
Analysis: Nice to see Newhouse back on the field and healthy because with Sherrod still hurt and Datko a rookie, the Packers really need Newhouse to not only stay healthy but improve in 2012 to help their offense continue to perform at a high level.

Guard (3): Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and Reggie Wells
Analysis: Absent injuries you can write in Lang as the starter at left guard and Sitton as the starter at right guard with a sharpie so it makes sense to choose between Wells and Ray Dominguez for the "swing" backup guard spot since both are below average.  I decided to keep Wells because he is a veteran that can play tackle while Dominguez can only play guard.

Center (2): Jeff Saturday and Even Dietrich-Smith
Analysis: Look for EDS to get snaps at all three interior offensive line positions because he will be the primary backup interior lineman.

Defensive End (3)
: Jerel Worthy, Phillip Merling, and C.J. Wilson
Suspended (2): Anthony Hargrove and Mike Neal
Analysis: I have been less than impressed with Merling, Wilson, and Jarius Wynn so far this preseason so I couldn't bring myself to keep all three guys.  I kept Merling because despite being a disappointment, at least it gives the Packers some new blood at defensive end.  That means it came down to Wilson and Wynn, which is pretty much a coin toss at this point with Wilson winning because he has been better in the bast defense.

Defensive Tackle (4): B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Mike Daniels, and Daniel Muir
Analysis: The only guaranteed defensive line roster spots are Raji, Pickett, and Worthy.  After those guys, the name of the game is versatility.  That gives a guy like Daniels and Muir a leg up because they can play any spot along the defensive line.

Outside Linebacker (5)
: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Erik Walden, Brad Jones, and Dezman Moses
PUP (1): Frank Zombo
Analysis: Keeping Moses on the active roster instead of the practice squad has less to do with production and more to do with the fact that trusted veterans like Charles Woodson said Moses has a chance to be special.

Middle Linebacker (4): D.J. Smith, A.J. Hawk, Robert Francois, and Jamari Lattimore
Analysis: No one besides Smith has stood out in a positive way at middle linebacker, which is part of the reason why I hope the Packers consider playing some 4-3 instead of 3-4.  The Packers finally have a ton of defensive lineman while they look a little thin, talent-wise, at linebacker.  If the Packers moved to the 4-3 for a few plays they could slide Hawk outside, let Matthew rush the passer and have Smith clog up the middle.

Cornerback (5): Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Davon House, Casey Hayward, and Jarrett Bush
Analysis: Bush and Hayward both looked a little better this week than they did last week.  Since Shields and House are hurt, if I had to choose a starter opposite Williams I would actually choose Hayward so Bush could continue to focus on special teams where he has thrived.
Safety (4)
: Charles Woodson, Morgan Burnett, Jerron McMillian, and M.D. Jennings
Analysis: Last week against the Browns it looked like McMillian took a step ahead of Jennings but look for that positional battle to remain undecided till right before the start of the regular season.

Specialists (3): Mason Crosby (K), Tim Masthay (P), and Brett Goode (LS)
Analysis: Too bad that Crosby missed a long distance kick against the Browns because despite all the platitudes showered on Crosby, I am still not convinced he is worth $3 million a year, especially if he can't hit from longer than 50 yards.

Practice Squad (8): B.J. Coleman (QB), Marc Tyler (RB), Tori Gurley (WR), Shaky Smithson (WR), Sampson Genus (C), Terrell Manning (MLB), Anthony Levine (S), Sean Richardson (S)
Analysis: The chances of Gurley actually making it through waivers instead of getting claimed by another NFL team for their 53-man roster are slim but I choose to take a glass half full approach.  In terms of the rest of the practice squad, Coleman might make some noise because he looks like he has a cannon for an arm.

The Packers hit the road to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday.  Hopefully the Packers get in a Skyline trip because I know every time I visit my in-laws in Dayton, I make sure to have some tasty fast-food chili that is almost as good as Real Chili. Check back tomorrow to read my quick thoughts on the Packers/Bengals preseason game and Monday for my quick thoughts on the roster cut-downs from 90 players to 75 players.

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