Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 Green Bay Packers Roster 4.0

The roster is rounding into form with three preseason game in the books on the road v. Chargers, at home v. Browns, and on the road v. Bengals.  Based on what I've seen so far, here are my final 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: I've been saying this all preseason but it couldn't be more true this week, Harrell is playing for his roster spot.  If Harrell doesn't perform well this week, the Packers will be forced to add another signal caller.

Running Back (3): Cedric Benson, James Starks, and Alex Green
Analysis: With the emergence of Benson as a legitimate every down back, I decided to cut Brandon Saine so the Packers can keep an extra wide receiver since they are a throwing team first that runs occasionally.

Fullback (1): John Kuhn
Analysis: Every time Kuhn touches the ball on the road you really get a feel for how well Packers fans travel because you can hear a very loud "Kuuuhhhhnnnn" on the television broadcast.

Tight End (4): Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams, and Ryan Taylor
PUP (1): Andrew Quarless
Analysis: With Quarless officially on the PUP list, every other tight end can breathe a sigh of relief because it has become a Ted Thompson rule to keep at least four tight ends the last few years.

Wide Receiver (6)
: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jarrett Boykin
Analysis: Last preseason there was a ton of talk about whether the Packers would keep five tight ends, this preseason the talk centered on whether the Packers would keep six wide receivers.  It was tough to choose between Diondre Borel, Jarrett Boykin, Tori Gurley, and Dale Moss because all four have been impressive in short stings this preseason.  Since I am going to visit my sister-in-law this weekend at Virgina Tech, I gave the final roster spot to Boykin, the career leader in receptions and receiving yards for Virgina Tech.

Tackle (3): Bryan Bulaga, Marshall Newhouse, and Derek Sherrod
Analysis: I am rolling the dice here that Sherrod is healthy enough to be active, which is why Andrew Datko didn't make the 53-man roster but it would not surprise me if Sherrod ended up on the PUP list thus opening a roster spot for Datko or a player cut from another team on the 53-man roster.

Guard (4): Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Reggie Wells, and Don Barclay
Analysis: Too bad that Ray Dominguez had to go on injured reserve but luckily Barclay has performed well to give the Packers a quality, young backup to go along with an old-fart like Wells.

Center (2): Jeff Saturday and Even Dietrich-Smith
Analysis: So far so good for Saturday but since this could be his last NFL season, I would be shocked if he could make it through the entire season healthy so EDS better be ready to play.

Defensive End (3)
: Jerel Worthy, C.J. Wilson, and Phillip Merling
Suspended (1): Mike Neal
Analysis: I could see Merling getting cut in favor of a waiver wire pick-up but for now, Merling sticks just because of his experience in the 3-4 defense.

Defensive Tackle (4): B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Mike Daniels, and Daniel Muir
Analysis: Much like Merling, I could see Muir getting cut for a waiver wire pick-up as well.

Outside Linebacker (4)
: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Brad Jones, and Dezman Moses
Suspended: Erik Walden
PUP (1): Frank Zombo
Analysis: Perry has done enough to lock down the starting outside linebacker spot opposite Claymaker.  The more interesting question is what guy will be first off the bench because Walden and Moses have played very well.  Since Walden is suspend Week 1, it gives the Packers the flexibility to hold another player on the 53-man roster or claim someone off waivers for a one week trial before activating Walden.

Middle Linebacker (5): D.J. Smith, A.J. Hawk, Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore, and Terrell Manning
Analysis: For how well all the backup outside linebackers played in the preseason, the backup middle linebackers have been fairly quiet so I would not be surprised if Francois, Lattimore, or Manning get cut before Week 2 so the Packers can activate Walden.

Cornerback (5): Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Davon House, Casey Hayward, and Jarrett Bush
Analysis: Besides Williams, the Packers have four lottery tickets at cornerback.  If two lottery tickets payoff, the pass defense will improve drastically in 2012.  Anything less than two winning tickets and the secondary struggle much like they did in 2011.
Safety (4)
: Charles Woodson, Morgan Burnett, Jerron McMillian, and M.D. Jennings
Analysis: Based on draft position alone the Packers will keep McMillian, which makes it a three horse race for one spot between Anthony Levine, M.D. Jennings, and Sean Richardson. Based on his impressive combination of size (6'2") and speed (4.47 40-yard dash), I almost kept Richardson instead of Jennings but since Jennings has been in the system a year longer than Richardson, I gave Jennings the roster spot.

Specialists (3): Mason Crosby (K), Tim Masthay (P), and Brett Goode (LS)
Analysis: Nothing to add here, let's just hope all three specialist stay healthy in 2012.

Practice Squad (8): B.J. Coleman (QB), Andrew Datko (T), Tori Gurley (WR), Anthony Levine (S), Otis Merrill (CB), Sean Richardson (S), Brandon Saine (RB), and Greg Van Roten (G)
Analysis: A few weeks ago I said the Packers would not have as talented of a practice squad as they did the last few years.  After getting to see three preseason games, I take back that assertion.  Besides the eight guys mentioned above, the Packers could fill a talented second practice squad with Brandon Bostick (TE), Diondre Borel (WR), Nic Cooper (FB), Sampson Genus (C), Dale Moss (WR), Brandian Ross (CB), Vic So'oto (OLB), and Marc Tyler (RB).

Check back tomorrow for my quick thoughts on the Packers/Chiefs preseason game and Friday for my quick thoughts on the actual final roster cut-downs.

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