Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Building The 53 - Robinson & Dorsey In, Mulumba & Taylor Out

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson made some interesting moves in Building The 53 so far this season.  The most curious decision was keeping just 52 healthy guys on The 53 for almost two weeks.  This all started when outside linebacker Andy Mulumba suffered a season ending injury in the Packers/Jets game.  Thompson waited five days to place Mulumba on injured reserve, which opened a spot on The 53 just a few days before the Packers traveled to Detroit to face the Lions.  Despite having 10 guys on the practice squad, Thompson left an open spot not only for the Lions game but also for the next week on the road against the Chicago Bears.

Thompson finally filled every spot on The 53 when he promoted defensive lineman Luther Robinson from the practice squad to The 53 just hours before the Packers hosted the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football.  Thompson was essentially forced to promote Robinson to The 53 from the practice squad because he only had five true 3-4 defensive lineman on The 53 and defensive Josh Boyd was not healthy enough to play against the Vikings.  That meant that if Thompson didn't add Robinson to The 53, they would have faced the Vikings with just four healthy defensive lineman.

I've long advocated for a better short-term injured reserve set-up, for The 53 in the NFL because without it there is a negative waterfall effect on The 53.  A perfect illustration of that phenomenon is Thompson's most recent change to The 53.  Thompson cut tight end and former special teams standout Ryan Taylor in order to add wide receiver Kevin Dorsey to The 53.  With Taylor no longer on The 53 that leaves just three guys drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft still on The 53: offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, wide receiver Randall Cobb, and cornerback Davon House.  That also leaves the Packers with just three tight ends and six wide receivers.

Some might find that odd that Thompson would decrease the number of tight ends on The 53 but that is all due to wide receiver Jarrett Boykin's health.  With Boykin hobbled the last few games that left the Packers with just four healthy wide receivers.  There is chance that Boykin will be back next week but given that the tight end position has been marginalized this season without Jermichael Finley, clearly Thompson wanted to add a wide receiver to The 53 even if it came at the expense of a tight end.  Besides Dorsey, Thompson also had the option to add wide Myles White from the practice squad to The 53.  I am sure that White is bummed to lose out to Dorsey but I would have a hard time choosing between Dorsey and White too.  Back to my original point.  If the Packers could have put Boykin on a short-term injured list they would have promoted Dorsey to The 53 till Boykin was healthy and then tried to pass Dorsey through waivers to resign him to the practice squad again.  Instead Thompson was forced to cut Taylor, which hurt the depth that the Packers had at the tight end position The 53.

With the moves to The 53 out of the way, let's close with my thoughts on the practice squad.  The Packers lost cornerback Jumal Rolle off the practice squad when the Houston Texans added Rolle to their 53.  You could make the argument that Rolle deserved a spot on The 53 ahead of rookie cornerback Demetri Goodson.  Leaving that aside, even though Thompson signed cornerback Tay Glover-Wright to the practice squad to fill Rolle's spot, the Packers still only have eight of their ten practice squad spots filled.  I am not sure if Thompson is becoming a penny pincher but I would hope that he keeps The 53 and 10-man practice squad filled for the rest of the season.

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