A Sneak Peek at the Pack's Opening 53Posted:Aug 26th, 2013 7:27 pm
OK, I get it. A lot can happen between now and Saturday, when teams need to get down to their 53-man rosters. But here's an early look at how it could break out:
QB (2): Rodgers and Young. Vince is on a fast track to the backup job and if he performs competently in Kansas City on Thursday night, he will win the job. Look for BJ Coleman to land on the practice squad once again.
RB (5): Lacy, Franklin, Harris, Green and Kuhn. James Starks is the odd man out here, but we'll monitor the severity of Harris' knee injury. My hunch is, Starks is gone either way. It was a nice run and we'll always have Super Bowl XLV, but the Pack appears ready to move on. Revised: With Harris placed on IR on Tuesday, Starks keeps his spot on the roster.
WR (5): Jones, Cobb, Nelson, Boykin and Walker. I'm playing a hunch and leaning toward the team cutting Jeremy Ross, despite the fact that he's the best returner on the team. This position is thinner and the preseason injuries put a premium on good receivers waiting in the wings. Tyrone Walker will get a chance Thursday night to win the fifth spot and I have a feeling he'll grab it.
TE (5): Finley, Mulligan, Quarless, Taylor and Bostick. I think the team will move on from DJ Williams, a good guy, but a guy who hasn't taken a major step forward in three years. Bostick becomes one of the unlikeliest roster survivors, a pass catcher with upside to go along with Mulligan (blocker) and Taylor (special teams ace).
OL (8): Bakhtiari, Sitton, Dietrich-Smith, Lang, Barclay, Newhouse, Van Roten, Taylor. The undrafted Taylor may be a candidate for the practice squad, but I just can't believe the team would enter the season with seven offensive linemen--particularly with the youth and inexperience of this group. Ted Thompson may find a guy on waiver to take eighth spot.
DL (6): Jones, Pickett, Raji, Wilson, Daniels, Jolly. Yes, Johnny Jolly has earned a spot and may be on the field more than you think by the time the team returns from its early bye week. This could actually be a position of strength for the team this season.
LB (10): Matthews, Hawk, Jones, Perry, Francois, Lattimore, Manning, Barrington, Neal, Moses. Rookie free agent Andy Mulumba appeared ready to take Moses' spot, until a knee injury knocked him out last week. Look for the team to stash him on the practice squad if he's not hurt too badly. More depth inside than outside here. If Neal isn't ready to play in a two point stance the team may look for a guy off the street and kick Moses (who's dealing with a toe injury) to the curb.
CB (6): Williams, Shields, Hayward, Hyde, House, Bush. Very deep unit here and it needs to be, with preseason injuries to Williams and Hayward. Hyde has been the most pleasant surprise of the summer and may be on the field more than you think in the opener. Bush continues to be the cockroach of the roster. You can't kill him. He's still too valuable on special teams.
S (3): Burnett, Jennings, McMillain. Burnett's hamstring injury may alter the thinking here, but I think the Packers will start with these three and look to the waiver wire to add one if they need to. I expect a couple of guys (Banjo and Powell) to land on the practice squad, to be on call if there's an injury.
ST (3): Masthay, Goode and Ramirez. The remaining intrigue is at kicker. I'd been saying all summer I didn't think the Packers' kicker was currently on the roster. The late addition of rookie Zach Ramirez shows how up in the air things are. Tavecchio's release on Monday means Ramirez will get every opportunity this week to steal the job from Crosby. I have a sneaking suspicion he'll do it.
IR: Bulaga and Tretter
PUP: Sherrod and Worthy