Roster Starting to Take Shape, But There Are Still a Few Battles to be WonPosted:Aug 25th, 2010 8:28 pm
As the Pack plays its final two preseason games, several starting jobs are still up for grabs. Not the ideal scenario for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, but when you're talking about guards and punters it doesn't seem so bad. Most teams have more significant lineup issues (like WR for the Vikings).
These final two preseason games will sort out whether Bryan Bulaga can grab the left guard spot from Darren Colledge--though a hip flexor injury suffered in practice might slow the rookie enough to allow Colledge to hold on to the job for now. At punter, Chris Bryan has proven to be a solid holder for Mason Crosby, but Tim Masthay has been a little better as a punter so that job will come down to these last couple of weeks.
Other than that, the most interesting roster decisions ahead will be at tight end, FB and OL on offense and at LB and CB on defense. The Packers like all three of their young tight ends a lot and that might mean the end of the road for veteran Donald Lee. The others are more valuable on special teams. Lee provides experience, if Finley gets injured, but I'm guessing the Pack would throw the youngsters into the fire if they need to.
Depsite the Swiss cheese like nature of the offensive line during the first half of '09, the unit is deep and pretty solid. The team may look to move Jason Spitz if he holds up in these preseason games and shows he's over the injuries that have cost him playing time the past two seasons. Should be the end of the line for veterans Barbre and Giacomini, the latter was brutal in Seattle.
Last year the Pack carried three fullbacks. I don't think they'll go that route this year, meaning '09 draft pick Quinn Johnson might be the odd one out. Kuhn and Hall are more versatile.
Defensively, the injuries at linebacker have thrown this unit into flux, but have also allowed undrafted Frank Zombo to shine and possibly earn a roster spot. I still think the Pack will scour the waiver wire for OLBs who get waived from 3-4 defenses. With Matthews and Jones sidelined, the team needs depth to protect the shaky secondary.
At corner, Brandon Underwood seemed a bit overwhelmed against the Seahwawks. The Pack can't count on Al Harris being ready to start the season, so either Underwood and Lee will be counted on to handle the nickel job. Their performances in the final two preseason games will shake out who gets it.