Monday, September 30, 2013

The 53 - Post Bye Week Potential Roster Move

The 2013 Green Bay Packers limped into their bye week with a record of 1-2.  As I mentioned last week in my review of the Packers/Bengals game, I never thought having a bye after three games of a 16 game (17 week) regular season would be so beneficial but since the Packers were nursing so many injuries, I hope the bye week allowed those players to get healthy.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson cut average wide receiver and below average kick returner Jeremy Ross heading into the bye week, which left the Packers with 52 players on their active roster so there is currently an open spot on The 53.  Since the Packers were off this week, it is really hard to change any of the other rankings besides moving everyone up one spot to account for the departure of Ross (was ranked 42 last week) from The 53 so instead of writing about players currently on The 53, here are five potential ways Thompson can fill the open spot on The 53:

 The 53
1. Aaron Rodgers (QB, LW 1)
2. Clay Matthews (OLB, LW 2)
3. Randall Cobb (WR, LW 3)
4. Morgan Burnett (S, LW 4)
5. Jermichael Finley (TE, LW 9)
6. B.J. Raji (DL, LW 6)
7. Jordy Nelson (WR, LW 5)
8. Sam Shields (CB, LW 11)
9. James Jones (WR, LW 7)
10. T.J. Lang (G, LW 8)
11. Josh Sitton (G, LW 10)
12. Tramon Williams (CB, LW 14)
13. David Bakhtiari (T, LW 12)
14. Evan Dietrich-Smith (C, LW 13)
15. Brad Jones (MLB, LW 27)
16. Nick Perry (OLB, LW 15)
17. Casey Hayward (CB, LW 16)
18. Datone Jones (DL, LW 17)
19. Tim Masthay (P, LW 18)
20. Eddie Lacy (RB, LW 19)
21. Ryan Pickett (DL, LW 20)
22. Don Barclay (T, LW 21)
23. Micah Hyde (CB, LW 22)
24. Johnny Jolly (DL, LW 23)
25. A.J. Hawk (MLB, LW 24)
26. M.D. Jennings (S, LW 29)
27. Mike Daniels (DL, LW 25)
28. James Starks (RB, LW 26)
29. C.J. Wilson (DL, LW 28)
30. Jerron McMillian (S, LW 30)
31. Mason Crosby (K, LW 31)
32. Mike Neal (DL/OLB, LW 32)
33. Jonathan Franklin (RB, LW 45)
34. Brett Goode (LS, LW 33)
35. Jarrett Bush (CB, LW 34)
36. Ryan Taylor (TE, LW 35)
37. Jarrett Boykin (WR, LW 36)
38. Davon House (CB, LW 37)
39. Robert Francois (MLB, LW 38)
40. Chris Banjo (S, LW 39)
41. Andrew Quarless (TE, LW 41)
42. Jeremy Ross (WR, LW 40)
42. John Kuhn (FB, LW 42)
43. Marshall Newhouse (T, LW 43)
44. Greg Van Roten (G, LW 44)
45. Seneca Wallace (QB, LW 46)
46. Jamari Lattimore (LB, LW 47)
47. Andy Mulamba (LB, LW 48)
48. Sam Barrington (LB, LW 49)
49. Brandon Bostick (TE, LW 50)
50. Nate Palmer (LB, LW 51)
51. Josh Boyd (DL, LW 53)
52. Lane Taylor (G, LW 52)
#1) Sign wide receiver Tyrone Walker: I thought Walker should have made The 53 to start the 2013 season but Thompson obviously felt differently since he kept the newly departed Ross ahead of Walker on The 53.  Thompson can right that wrong by adding Walker as a straight replacement for Ross despite the fact that there are a ton of talent pass catchers (tight end Jake Stoneburner, wide receiver Charles Johnson, and wide receiver Myles White) that Thompson could promote from the practice squad.  I would still favor adding Walker instead of any of the pass catchers currently on the practice squad but since Thompson didn't even sign Walker to the practice squad, I obviously have a higher opinion of Walker than Thompson.  Adding Walker or one of the pass catchers currently on the practice squad is the most logical move of the five so I am going to keep the post moving since the other moves will require much more explanation and justification to convince Thompson.

#2) Sign a veteran pass rusher to a one-year, veteran minimum contract: The Packers have struggled to create a pass rush from any of their other outside linebackers besides Clay Matthews.  At some point the Packers need to get production opposite Matthews instead of trying to groom Andy Mulumba, Mike Neal, and Nick Perry as their rush linebacker of the future.  Sure Mulumba, Neal, and Neal could be a long-term solution but so far they do not look like a viable option in 2013.  As a result, the Packers should deviate from their path of continuing to go young and sign one of the veteran defensive ends that could also serve as rush outside linebackers in a 3-4 (Mark Anderson and Andre Carter) or a traditional 3-4 rush outside linebackers (Michael Boley, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Leroy Hill, and Thomas Howard).  I know all of the aforementioned guys have some issues otherwise they would not be free agents, I would favor adding Anderson ahead of the other veteran pass rushers mentioned.  Whether it is Anderson or another one of the guys just mentioned I would just be excited if Thompson finally signed a veteran to fulfill a need instead of continuing to try to fill holes with undrafted rookie free agent.

#3) Bring back former Packer quarterback Brett Favre...just kidding...the Packers should actually bring back former Packer quarterback Matt Flynn: Despite Bus Cook's (Favre's agent) comments about how good Favre looks, I hope he is done playing but with Favre you never know.  In terms of Favre and the Packers, I just hope the Packers can retire Favre's number in a nice ceremony that leads to healing for both sides before Favre enters the Hall of Fame.  Moving onto Flynn, since he left Green Bay via free agency (signed a three-year, $26 million contract with $10 million guaranteed with the Seattle Seahawks before the 2012 season and was traded to the Oakland Raiders before the 2013 season) he has struggled whenever he actually played while the Packers continue to struggle to replace Flynn with a with a viable backup quarterback.  The Packers continue to trot out Seneca Wallace as their only backup quarterback on The 53.  The Packers also have Scott Tolzien on the practice squad and I actually think Tolzien is more worthy of a spot on The 53 than Wallace.  With all due respect to Tolzien and Wallace, Flynn is still a better quarterback than both of them.  Flynn was presumed to be the starter for two years in a row by two different teams but was beaten out by a contender for the starting quarterback job each time (last year by Russell Wilson for the Seahawks and this season by Terrelle Pryor for the Raiders).  Sure Flynn just played in this weekend (went 21 for 32 throwing for 227 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception) for the Raiders in a loss at home to the Redskins but that was only because the got that beat him for the starting quarterback job was out with a concussion.  Despite having a fairly large salary cap number for the next two seasons ($3.875 in 2013 and $7.625 million as a part of a two-year, $11.5 million restructured contract when traded from the Seahawks to the Raiders), ever since Flynn left the Packers he's made a ton of money but his performance on the field has not been commensurate to his compensation.  I could see Flynn re-working his contract to drop his salary cap number in 2014 just to rejoin the Packers.  Since Reggie McKenzie, the general manger for the Raiders is not only a former member of the Packers front office but is also in the midst of a huge rebuilding project, every draft pick helps.  Given their professional relationship I am sure Thompson and McKenzie could come to some type of deal to trade Flynn back to the Packers.  I would presume the trade would be a 7th rounder that turns into a 6th rounder if certain performance conditions were met by Flynn.

#4) Sign running back Joe McKnight to a one-year, veteran minimum contract: At the end of training camp the Packers gave McKnight a tryout as a running back and kick returner but decided not to sign him to The 53.  Instead the Packers went with a backfield of Johnathan Franklin, John Kuhn, Eddie Lacy, and James Starks.  All four current members of the backfield are hampered by injury so hopefully all four will be healthy following the bye week. Sure the Packers could promote running back Michael Hill from the practice squad no matter the health of the backfield following the bye but I like the versatility that McKnight offers as a running back/kicker returner more than what Hill offers.

#5) Sign a veteran safety to a one-year, veteran minimum contract: Heading into 2013 there was a very good chance that safety Morgan Burnett was going to miss some time after playing every defensive snap last season but I never thought it was going to be this bad.  Burnett has not even been active this season due to (what else) a hamstring injury and there is no guarantee that he will be healthy following the bye week.  After three weeks it looks like M.D. Jennings has separated himself from Chris Banjo and Jerron McMillian as the best healthy safety on the roster but all three have been fairly underwhelming this season, which highlights the lack of depth the Packers have at safety.  Much like my discussion of pass rushers above, the Packers could really use a quality veteran safety instead of continuing with their youth movement at safety.  Keep in mind the Packers finished last year with a quality veteran safety opposite Burnett in Charles Woodson.  During the off-season the Packers cut Woodson presumably, in part, because of their faith in Jennings and McMillian.  Unfortunately for the Packers, Woodson has been the most effective of the safeties discussed so far this season but he is playing for the Raiders instead of the Packers.  There are a ton of veteran free agent safeties (Kenny Phillips, Kerry Rhodes, and James Sanders) worth signing and playing ahead of all the safeties on the roster besides Burnett.  I favor Phillips ahead of Rhodes and Sanders but I don't hold out much hope that the Packers actually add a veteran since they are obsessed with youth over experience.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Cheesehead Chick and I head to South America in a few days for two weeks so this might be my last post till the middle of October.  I will do my best to carve out some time from our vacation to post if something major happens in Cheesehead professional sports.  If I am not able to post I apologize in advance.  No matter how much I post while on vacation, I promise to post tons of advice for Cheesehead sports general managers when Cheesehead Chick and I get back from vacation.

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