First Thoughts on the First 53

As the Pack was trimming down to its initial 53 man roster of the season, the Josh Sitton news blocked out everything else. Twitter gave us a hint that change was in the air, with reports that the Pack was looking to trade the durable Pro Bowl guard with the balky back.

When nothing materialized, the Packers released their 30 year old leader of the offensive line. If it happened at the end of the 2016, few of us would have been surprised. Releasing him now was a surprise to virtually everyone. Good GMs move on from players one year early rather than one year late. And while he's missed just two starts since 2009, his back has been an issue the past two years and he does free up more than six million in cap space. But as a Super Bowl contender, count me in the camp that would prefer to err the other way on this one. I'd have liked to see the line play together one more year.

The cohesion of the Pack's offensive line has been a strength and suddenly 40% will be different from a year ago. Whether Don Barclay takes over or Bryan Bulaga moves over and rookie Jason Spriggs plays RT, the line will take the field in Jacksonville having not played together yet in a game.

The other highlights of the first 53: let's start with the fact that there is not a long snapper on the roster. Sounds like Brett Goode has recovered from his ACL and will re-sign in the next day or two. That means that one of the 12 secondary players who made the team is likely headed for the practice squad. Six corners and six safeties? Ted really hit on some intriguing underrated guys this year. Five of them made the initial roster, most in the secondary.

I was a little surprised to see Joe Callahan make the team, figuring he was a prime practice squad candidate. He's likely still headed there, once Bret Hundley's ankle is completely healed. He looks like a legit prospect who, in a perfect world, will be elevated to the backup once Hundley is traded (in the next year or two).

We all wondered how may receivers would be kept and seven is the lucky number. All are drafted players--Geronimo Allison would have stuck in most years, but for now six of the seven guys are healthy. Rookie Trevor Davis could still be headed for IR if his shoulder injury keeps him out too long, especially if Allison winds up on the practice squad.

Ted only kept three inside linebackers--cutting Barrington and Bradford was unexpected. Bradford appeared to have turned a corner but the Packers are moving on. For Barrington, a year ago he was wearing the microphone as the defensive captain with a real opportunity to step in for AJ Hawk. An injury and a year later he's on the street.

The roster will be tweaked a bit in the coming days so we'll see how things shake out but the overriding news of the day is the end of the line for Sitton. Let's hope it's not the end of the line for the line.


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