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About That 53rd Roster Spot...

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About That 53rd Roster Spot...

On Monday, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy announced that safety Nick Collins would be placed on season ending injured reserve. In the "next man up" philosophy the Packers have come to know all too well, the 28-year-old Charlie Peprah now steps into Collins' sizable shoes in the defensive backfield.

Peprah proved his worth last season while filling in for an injured Morgan Burnett, and while Collins will be missed, Dom Capers' defense knows exactly what they will be working with in Charlie Peprah's humbly effective play.

Behind Peprah, however, is where the question marks begin. As the Packers roster currently stands, the depth chart lists undrafted rookie M.D. Jennings as the backup at both the strong and free safety positions.

In addition to safeties Morgan Burnett, Charlie Peprah, and M.D. Jennings, the Packers have special teams ace Jarrett Bush, who is officially listed as a "cornerback/safety." If circumstances forced Capers' hand, Charles Woodson could likely fill in at the safety position as well. (Is there anything Woodson can't do?)

With such little depth and experience at safety, any other team's general manager would dash out and sign the best available free agent. Not Ted Thompson. The Packers general manager has never been one to make a hurried decision based on a perceived need.

But with the Packers yet to officially place Collins on injured reserve, the questions of when and why remain.

Whenever asked about the possibility of bringing in new players, Thompson's stock response has consistently been that the team is always doing their "due diligence" on every available player, but Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel envisions two possibilities for the lack of an official roster move.

"My guess is #Packers are either 1) thinking about a trade, or 2) evaluating every safety on the street. Not a whole lot out there," McGinn wrote on his Twitter account late Thursday evening.

The idea of a swap with another team is intriguing, but now entering his seventh season as general manager, Ted Thompson has only pulled the trigger on one in-season trade; coincidentally, that exchange was for a safety, Anthony Smith.

While a trade could still conceivably happen, the more likely scenario is McGinn's latter prediction. Signing a free agent that most fans have never heard of would fit within Thompson's history and philosophy, and with his proven record of plucking gems off the street, why not stay consistent with what has worked so well in the past?

At the end of the day, we can speculate all we want about Thompson's next move, but he will likely do something that will surprise us all. Many pigskin pundits have attempted to gaze into the mind of Ted Thompson, but rarely have any been able to predict the man's methods.

But that certainly doesn't stop us from trying.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Dhoward's picture

Replacing guys on IR last didn't have cap consequences. This year it does. One more reason not to rush to fill a spot.

Comspidey's picture

How 'bout another possibility.

3. Collins is collecting another opinions on the management of his injury and it is not certain that it is season ending. This leaves open the possibility of a late season return. MM did NOT say during his press conference Monday he was going on IR, only that his season was over. Perhaps, they were a little hasty. Medicine is not static. Here's holding out that little slim piece of hope.

I do have one question...anyone know any info on Johnny Jolly? Last I heard he served 90 days in rehab which ended July 21st roughly. I know he blew it again, but that was before his plea deal. Will suspension continue for this whole season?

packeraaron's picture

I've asked the NFL repeatedly about Jolly - they will not say anything past the standard "there is no update to his status." He is suspended "until further notice." I'm starting to think that notice will never come.

lars's picture

Packer fans need to let Johnny Jolly go; he's not coming back. Next we'll be hearing the name Justin Harrell.

Thompson often waits until he needs to fill the roster spot before placing a player on IR.

Jay's picture

1. Didn't Ted trade for Anthony Smith last year?
2. For the life of me, I cannot see why people say move Woodson to safety, other than just assuming what nonsense you hear on ESPN forums. Not only would moving Woodson off the line take him out of the spot where he's most effective, but in his place is most likely Jarrett Bush, a guy who doesn't play the ball well at CB, but is at least adequate at safety. Bush to safety, Woodson stays in nickel. Done. Sorry for the flippant attitude but why is this even a debate?

MIKE47SMITH's picture

I agree with you. We cannot afford to have Bush running around at Corner all day. I could see us using CWood at safety in certain packages, though where Bush would not be a liability, but for good? NO WAY!

maxginsberg's picture

You're absolutely right about trading for Smith. Thanks for the heads up. Fixed.

MIKE47SMITH's picture

Not sure this has anything to do with this post other than DB depth, but whats the word on House's progression?

JoeMcDOnald's picture

I tried to gaze into the mind of Ted Thompson.... I ended up mentally deranged for about a week. There's some dark stuff in there folks!

CaLIPACKfAN's picture

LOL Ted is a dirty man thats why

Brooklyn81's picture

McCann is available and though he is not a safety i think he would be an upgrade over Bush

Tommyboy's picture

Honestly, would any of us be stunned if he signed a linebacker or another corner? It will look crazy to the rest of us that only Jennings and Bush are the backups, but he'll probably make us all look like fools again.

Oppy's picture

Why does anyone think that the available roster spot would be spent on a safety?

Peprah will fill in admirably for Collins, as he did last year for Burnett. Things should not be broken.

Jarret Bush, like it or not, is experienced in this Defense and should be a reliable option at S if Burnett or Pep go down, and MD Jennings made the team for a reason.

That's two back up Safeties to back up a guy who was already your back up safety.

This roster spot will be used on either a D-lineman, a corner, or maybe even a LB.. But I'm guessing a D-lineman.

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