Discussing cuts, the practice squad, the “final” 53 and much more from the past week in Title Town.
This is the final installment in my weekly series about the preseason happenings around Green Bay. I hope it’s been a quick, informal way to keep tabs on the team. The Packers open their 2012 season with a Sunday showdown against the San Francisco 49ers at 3:25 CST. Without further ado, here are the Week Six Quick Hits.
Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn)
-Former Packer defensive end Jarius Wynn cleared waivers last Tuesday, as he was the first of the Packers’ remaining cuts. The timing of the move contributed to the lack of interest: Almost all the teams still wanted to see “their guys” in the exhibition finales. As of Monday he was in Tennessee for an audition / potential signing.
-Sam Shields gave the coaching staff plenty to think about with smart and physical play in the Kansas City game. It was easily his best outing of the preseason.
-The sixth wideout to stick with the team was a bit of a surprise – undrafted free agent Jarrett Boykin of Virginia Tech, who outlasted Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley (both of whom had a year on the practice squad under their belts). The reason? Size. Borel was 6’0, 194 (too little), Gurley 6’4 232 (too bulky), and Boykin is 6’2 218 (just right).
*BTH Note: Borel is on the practice squad again, and Gurley caught on with the Minnesota Vikings (also with the practice squad). Boykin was a bit of a surprise, but apparently he runs great routes and is a very intelligent player. Both traits likely scored big points among coaches and the quarterback.
Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod)
-Ted Thompson said before the final preseason game that he prefers his practice squad to contain the 8 best players regardless of position, but obviously, a balance must be struck.
-Offensive lineman Don Barclay’s versatility along the line (he can play three of the five positions) contributed to him making the roster.
-Anthony Levine, at one time the reputed starter at safety, was among the Packers’ final cuts. He wound up signing with the Ravens’ practice squad.
-Two of Hodkiewicz’s favorites, defensive lineman Daniel Muir and receiver Currenski Gilleylen, were also among the cuts.
-The Packers kept three undrafted rookies on the roster in 2011 and four more in 2012: Sean Richardson, Don Barclay, Jarrett Boykin, and the legendary Dezman Moses.
-After an up-and-down camp (and preseason) performance, Graham Harrell’s passer rating in the Kansas City game was a perfect 158.3.
*BTH Note: That factoid doesn’t really change a thing – if you can show me a single NFL team going into the season with a more unproven backup, let me know. It sounds obvious, and it is obvious, but if #12 misses any period of time, the team goes from contender for the postseason to a contender for a top-5 draft choice in a hurry.
Tom Silverstein (@tomsilverstein)
-The team’s tight ends were so beaten up during the final week of camp that Erik Walden, Vic So’oto and other linebackers got to catch a few passes from Rodgers during drills.
-Despite the missed time by Jennings and Finley this preseason, Mike McCarthy is happy with their conditioning.
-Andrew Quarless was placed on reserve/PUP, meaning a decision will have to be made with him around the fifth/sixth week of the season. The glut of talent at tight ends will make that an interesting conundrum.
-Silverstein also missed on Muir, who he thought was a lock for the team, as well as defensive back Otis Merrill, who was among the final cuts.
-A total of ten rookies are on the Packers’ initial 53 man roster, including the four (mentioned above) undrafted first-year players.
-The Packers’ practice squad is set, and will include: QB B.J. Coleman, RB Marc Tyler, WR Diondre Borel, TE Brandon Bostick, T Andrew Datko, G Greg Van Roten, G/T Chris Scott, and DE Lawrence Guy.
*BTH Note: The split of the active roster (at least, of those who are uninjured) are 24 offense/ 26 defense/ 3 specialists. The practice squad discrepancy is much starker, with seven offensive players lining the reserve unit. It’s not surprising to see three offensive lineman among the bunch considering the team kept just 7 (SEVEN!) on the 53-man roster. It appears Thompson kept to his word: despite having a loaded offense, the team kept the 8 best players for the practice squad, and it didn’t matter which side of the ball they were on.
Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky)
-Jon Kuhn gave Aaron Rodgers a shaving cream pie to the face during a post-practice interview… and the quarterback didn’t seem thrilled with it.
-Former first-round pick Derrek Sherrod was not placed on the PUP list as many expected him to be. He could be poised for a return sooner rather than later.
-Just an FYI: Practice squad salaries DO count against the cap. Also, there are no “official” parameters in place for what a practice squad guy should make. Technically, you can pay them whatever they’ll agree to.
-No more live tweeting from the practice field. Beat writers can’t even relay who is starting with the 1st team in practice reps, meaning regular season mode has officially begun.
*BTH Note: Alleluia and Amen.
The Packers’ Roster:
QB – Aaron Rodgers, Graham Harrell.
RB – Cedric Benson, James Starks, Alex Green, Brandon Saine
FB – John Kuhn.
WR – Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin.
TE – Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams, Ryan Taylor.
T – Bryan Bulaga, Marshall Newhouse, Don Barclay.
G – Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang.
C – Jeff Saturday, Evan Dietrich-Smith.
DE – Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson, Jerel Worthy, Mike Daniels, Phillip Merling.
NT – B.J. Raji.
OLB – Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Dezman Moses, Brad Jones.
ILB – D.J. Smith, A.J. Hawk, Jamari Lattimore, Rob Francois, Terrell Manning.
CB – Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Jarrett Bush, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Brandian Ross, Davon House.
S – Morgan Burnett, Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings, Sean Richardson.
K – Mason Crosby.
P – Tim Masthay.
LS – Brett Goode.
OLB – Frank Zombo, TE – Andrew Quarless, T – Derek Sherrod, G – Jaymes Brooks.
Injured Reserve (6)
ILB – Desmond Bishop, OLB – Vic So’oto, TE – Eric Lair, T – Mike McCabe, RB – Du’ane Bennett, DE – Johnny Jones.
DE – Mike Neal (four games), Johnny Jolly, OLB – Erik Walden (one game).
Until next time…
BreakTheHuddle is a fan of the Twins, Timberwolves and the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers. Reach him at BreakTheHuddle@gmail.com, @BreakTheHuddle on Twitter or leave a comment below!