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Final Decisions on the Packers 53-Man Roster Come Down to This...

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Final Decisions on the Packers 53-Man Roster Come Down to This...

In the nine seasons I've been covering the Green Bay Packers, this year is tough as any to predict the team's final 53-man roster.

The last spot at almost every position group is up for grabs, and it literally could come down to how the players further down the depth chart perform in the preseason finale on Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs and who stays healthy.

Here's a look at the jobs still up for grabs at each position in Titletown...

Running Back

Before it was learned that DuJuan Harris would be lost for the season, I thought there was a chance that neither James Starks nor Alex Green make the Packers' roster. Now it appears all but certain that at least one and perhaps both make the team, although I'm still not sold on both of them making the  team.

The Packers seem set with Eddie Lacy as their starter and will at least carry Johnathan Franklin on the roster even if he's not ready to contribute right away. As much as some people would like to see the organization part ways with John Kuhn, his job is safe. The Packers, for example, could get by with just Lacy, Green and Kuhn active on game days if need be.

Wide Receiver

The top four receivers are pretty much set in stone with Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin. Jeremy Ross seems like a good bet as the fifth wide receiver because he may also take over return duties.

Some people may have penciled in Tyrone Walker for a sixth wide receiver, but he's not a lock. The Packers aren't likely to keep six wideouts active on game days, and if they're going to carry a wide receiver just to be inactive, it could be seventh round draft choice Charles Johnson, who might have a higher ceiling. Walker could always be invited to the practice squad.

Tight End

The tight end position is harder to handicap than any other position on the roster, further complicated by reports that the Packers are trying to trade a tight end. Finley's job, of course, is safe. And if you ask me, Matthew Mulligan is a lock as player who will be a key piece in trying to get the run game kick started.

Beyond those two, anything is possible. Andrew Quarless might be on the outside looking in if he's not the same player coming off of injury. Ryan Taylor might have the inside track on a job because of his special teams experience. And Brandon Bostick may have a loads of potential, but he also might be the target of another team looking for tight end help.

Offensive Line

Six jobs are safe: the five presumptive starters plus Marshall Newhouse as the swing tackle. For a second consecutive year, the Packers may carry only seven offensive linemen on their roster coming out of training camp with an emergency eighth on the practice squad.

Greg Van Roten has the inside track on the seventh job, but he can't be a liability if forced into action. He'll receive competition from Patrick Lewis as a backup interior lineman. Perhaps the Packers could even look for a center who's cut from another team, which is probably the only way they would possibly keep eight linemen on their roster. Lane Taylor seems like a nice developmental prospect, but is a better bet on the practice squad for now.

Defensive Line

With Johnny Jolly looking like he's earned a roster spot, it appears as if the Packers will keep six defensive linemen on their roster, seven if you count Mike Neal who will be both a defensive lineman and an outside linebacker.

The only question is, can the Packers afford to keep rookie Josh Boyd at an already crowded position? He looks like the odd man out at this point, but could be an injury away from making his way onto the roster. The Packers would probably keep him on the practice squad if he's not claimed on waivers.

Outside Linebacker

Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Mike Neal are three guys who aren't going anywhere. Beyond them, there's probably two roster spots available between three players––Dezman Moses, Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer.

The case can be made for any of the three, and once again, it really could come down to who plays the best on Thursday night and who stays healthy. Moses has the experience, Palmer is making a late push and Mulumba must show he can be available after missing last week's game against the Seahawks.

Safety

There was a chance the Packers kept only three true safeties on the roster, but that was before Morgan Burnett got injured. If there's any chance Burnett misses the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers will absolutely have to keep four.

Chris Banjo's chances of making the team increased ten-fold when Burnett pulled his hamstring last week. At the very least, Banjo should be a special teams demon, but finding a safety cut from another team can't be ruled out.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (101) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

Totally agree on the WR position - I think Johnson sticks as the #6 due his potential and not wanting to risk losing him.

TommyG's picture

I know that they won't want to lose Johnson but I prefer Walker. I think either is a good choice and it will pain me to see either leave.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree. I think if they keep a 6th it will be Johnson. I don't think they will keep Walker as the 6th.

Lars's picture

The correct answer is they keep five and put both Walker and Johnson on the PS. Not impressed w/Ross but he does have the return ability.

Evan's picture

As for TE, the rumors I've read are the Raiders are interested. Maybe a DJ Williams or Bostick trade for Matt Flynn? (Though, as has been pointed out, Flynn's contract is a big obstacle - I'm not sure how a restructuring would work).

TommyG's picture

Maybe Woodson could come back and help us out at safety too!

Lars's picture

Are you kidding? The Raiders aren't trading Flynn, and even if they did he's not coming back to GB before that fat contract runs out. They restructured Flynn to put all the cap $$$ in 2013.

I doubt any trade is made, but Bostick is the most likely. Williams, Quarless (who should be cut) and Taylor get you nothing in a trade.

packeraaron's picture

"Quarless (who should be cut)"

Why? That's silly.

packsmack25's picture

Quarless is a lock as TE #2. Everything below Finley and Quarless is a crapshoot.

Evan's picture

Gotta disagree. Mulligan is a lock at #2. But I do think Quarless makes it, along with Bostick.

packsmack25's picture
Evan's picture

I think that list is far from official, seeing as it also shows Newhouse as the starting RT, Coleman as the #2 QB and Green and Starks both ahead of Lacy.

packsmack25's picture

Eh, the Newhouse thing is probably because he's not that far behind Barclay, and the Lacy thing has more to do with his being a rookie. There's no way Quarless is cut, and Mulligan offers zero in the passing game. Don't forget Quarless can block pretty well, too, so he's a guy they can use on all 3 downs.

Evan's picture

So, as I said, that list is far from official.

I like Quarless and hope he's finally fully healthy, but I don't think there has been anything in games or practice to suggest he's locked in at the #2 TE.

packsmack25's picture

Actually, it's the only official list.

Evan's picture

ha...with the wrong starting RT and RB listed...

What counts more, this list or who is actually lining up with the starters in games and practices?

packsmack25's picture

Lacy is yet to start at RB and Newhouse has started more in the preseason. I'd say it's actually pretty accurate throughout.

Evan's picture

Lacy was the #2 RB against Seattle behind Harris (and Starks got, what, 1 carry at the end). But now with Harris out, Lacy falls to #3 behind Starks? Sure.

And Barclay has started the last two pre-season games.

This is stupid. You believe your list. I'll believe what McCarthy does in games and practices.

Evan's picture

The official list also doesn't have Neal among any of the nine OLBs...someone should tell McCarthy and Capers that - they might want to stop playing him there pretty much exclusively.

packsmack25's picture

Oh, then you must have missed where Quarless was in with Finley and the 1s for the second series the other night:

https://twitter.com/jasonjwilde/status/371071103814631425

Brian Carriveau's picture

I just can't see many opportunities to have Quarless on the field in the regular season. If the Packers are going to run, Mulligan is the better blocker. And if the Packers are going to pass, Finley, Nelson, Cobb, Jones and a running back will probably be in the game.

packsmack25's picture

I don't think Mulligan is far enough ahead of Quarless as a blocker, if at all, to justify him as the #2, considering that his presence on the field would immediately signify a running play because of his poor receiving ability. Quarless is TE #2 until any evidence whatsoever says otherwise.

MarkinMadison's picture

I just wonder if there is a point at which the Packers give up on Quarless due to availability issues. Same thing with Starks. I would not be shocked to see either of those two not make the final 53.

Jamie's picture

In an ideal world where each player (Finley and Mulligan in this case) can play all required snaps, never need a breather, never get nicked, never get injured...this may be logical.

Since that world doesn't exist, I would assume the Packers see in Quarless a guy that can step in for either throughout any game. He's likely the only other TE we have that has shown he can.

Now Quarless's ability to stay healthy may override all, but the point is you can't go into a season only counting on one TE to be a passing threat and one to be a blocker.

I personally think both Mulligan and Quarless make it...with injury concern being the potential downfall of either.

Evan's picture

I did not miss that...but it has nothing to do with what I'm arguing.

packsmack25's picture

Your argument is that what you've seen in games outweighs what is on the depth chart. But the most recent game evidence and the official depth chart both show Quarless as the second tight end. What is there to argue?

Evan's picture

My argument is that a) Quarless is not a lock to make this roster and b) that depth chart you cite as infallible is too riddled with inaccuracies to be taken as gospel.

Quarless getting snaps in the 2nd series last week neither proves nor disproves either of those points. It's a great, welcome first step of what hopefully turns into a healthy and productive season.

packsmack25's picture

So your argument is that you have zero evidence that Quarless isn't the number two TE, but you'll gladly ignore the overwhelming evidence that he is. Got it.

Evan's picture

Again, no. All I've said and am saying is that Quarless isn't a lock.

packsmack25's picture

You may be right, Evan. I just don't see anything that points in that direction. MM gushed about Quarless at this year's combine. Clearly he likes the guy.

Evan's picture

I like him a lot, too - I thought he was very much turning a corner right before he got hurt. I just think his injuries have put him behind - working in his favor is the fact that guys like Williams and Taylor continue to not impress. Like I said, I think he'll make it.

packsmack25's picture

I don't think McCarthy feels the same way you do. Read his comments at the combine:

http://www.pennlive.com/pennstatefootball/index.ssf/2013/02/green_bays_m...

Then at OTAs:

http://jsonline.com/more/sports/blogs/209235211.html

Neither of those sound like he had any intention of putting Quarless on the bubble. Rather, he sounds confident in a known quantity that he believes can contribute a lot to the team. Try and find quotes on any other tight ends other than Finley. You might find something about disappointment in Williams, but other than that, nada.

Sir Cheese's picture

The first line on that page says the depth chart is UNOFFICIAL! Sorry to burst your bubble.

Evan's picture

Shit...where were you 10 hours ago...ha

packeraaron's picture

Um, yeah. McCarthy admitted a few years ago that one of the admins on his staff fills out the depth chart for the website. He doesn't even look at it.

packsmack25's picture

I realize MM doesn't fill it out. My point is that it's the only thing we have and it's still put together by an employee, which has to count for something.

THEMichaelRose's picture

I like Quarless, I thought he looked pretty decent last week.
One thing that I think matters, we're paying Quarless $1.3m this year (not guaranteed), and he'll be a UFA next year.
Whereas Bostick has 3 years left for a total of about $1.5m. That matters I think. (Or at least it should)

packsmack25's picture

Bostick has never played a meaningful NFL game, whereas Quarless has started in a Super Bowl. I think that outweighs the salary difference.

TommyG's picture

In all fairness, that start was due to finley being sidelined. Other than that I think Quarless has the job as he offers a receiving threat, if he is healthy.

packsmack25's picture

Oh I realize he wouldn't have stayed if Finley were healthy. But he still has that experience.

THEMichaelRose's picture

My point was not only dollars but years. You may not have either in 12 months if you let Bostick go because Quarless is a skosh better right now.

Regardless, they might keep both.

Lars's picture

Nope. Quarless is a shell of his former self. He'll be lucky to make the team. Mulligan, Taylor and Williams are the likely TE's behind Finley.

packsmack25's picture

Based on?

packeraaron's picture

Seriously Lars. You keep bagging on Quarless who, to my eyes, looks fine.

MVLC1's picture

Mulligan was signed as a FA from the Rams for his run blocking abilities.

packsmack25's picture

As a hedge in case Quarless wasn't ready.

Cow42's picture

Boys, boys...
I'll settle all of this TE banter...

Finley will be excruciatingly inconsistent.
The rest suck.

Evan's picture

Cow is making a prediction: Quick, everyone bet on the opposite.

Sir Cheese's picture

Cow42 you're so Emo

jim's picture

or, maybe, as an h back blocking for the running game.... no fullback?

Lars's picture

No, it wasn't a hedge against Quarless and AQ isn't reaqdy. He's not blocked well at all this summer.

packsmack25's picture

Again, based on?

packeraaron's picture

I can tell you that Mulligan was a straight up replacement for Crabtree. Nothing to do with Quarless. And that is from pretty high up the Packers' personnel tree.

packsmack25's picture

Exactly, he was even paid exactly what they offered Crabtree.

hayward4president's picture

Nate Palmer please.....seems to have some potential.

Evan's picture

packsmack : Quarless :: Rich : Graham Harrell

packsmack25's picture

Not quite. I'm not defending a terrible player. Just recognizing that Quarless isn't in danger at all.

MarkinMadison's picture

"Your most importanat ability is your availability." Or something like that.

packsmack25's picture

Which Quarless is. He had one freak injury that kept him out for a year, and then missed 2 weeks with a quad pull. He's been there otherwise. He's not Justin Harrell or anything.

Lars's picture

ACL's aren't "freak injuries" they are very common and Quarless's was an especially bad one. Then, the quad. He's injury prone and not the back-up you remember from 2011.

packsmack25's picture

ACL's aren't, no. But when your leg gets turned sideways, that's a freak injury.

Idiot Fan's picture

None of us knows who is a lock outside of the superstars. But I think the odds are very good that Quarless makes it. The only unfortunate thing is that all the praise we heard of him in minicamps hasn't carried over to training camp. I hope he sticks and I hope he continues to improve.

packsmack25's picture

By the way, Mulligan is 28 and has been cut 6 times. Why are we acting like he's not just a cheap blocking tight end who may or may not make the roster? He isn't a difference maker. Did I miss something?

fish and crane's picture

+1 A good blocker? Use a lineman

RC Packer Fan's picture

Your right Brian. This is one of the hardest years to predict.

I think right now they keep 4 RB's, 4 TE's, and either 5 or 6 WR.

I think there is a 3 man competition for 1 or 2 spots for WR (Ross, Walker, Johnson). It all depends on who performs tomorrow night. If Ross shows anything special as a returner he makes the roster. If Johnson shows something he makes the roster. If neither does anything special, I think Walker makes the roster as the 5th WR.

TE, I say Finley and Muligan are locks. I think Bostick made the roster and it comes down to Taylor, Williams, and Quarless. I think this game will decide who stays, and special teams will be a major decision maker.
I can see 1 possibly getting traded. Either Williams or Quarless.

jake (State Farm)'s picture

I just don't get how the Packers would put themselves in a bind by putting two guys on the IR who I'm not sure would have made the team and boxing themselves in to not being able to grad some other teams players.
A very good kicker was let go today by the Lions and for the Pack to take a look, they have to let someone from the team go. They left no spot open to acquire new talent.

RC Packer Fan's picture

if they want to pick someone up, they will release someone and get him.

Evan's picture

Can we pump the brakes on calling Kickilicious "great." He was 3/3 in the pre-season. Unless the NFL institutes a new 5 point FG for eyes-closed bicycle-kick FGs, he's still very much a question mark.

Evan's picture

Can we also pump the brakes on me..."very good"...not "great."

Phatgzus's picture

A very good kicker with no actual NFL game experience, that's some good logic right there.

Al Fresco's picture

Keep in mind the coaches have this mindset they can train people to be football players, thus the late rounders, undrafteds on this team. Not to mention wasting 3 years on a guy named Harrell to develop.

There is something to be said about trying to make pigs ears into silk purses. 31 other teams say no can do.

Idiot Fan's picture

And yet Harrell was signed the day after he was cut. It was the Jets, but still...

Lars's picture

He was only signed by the Jets because their starter and a back-up are out injured. Harrell is awful. Don't kid yourself.

Idiot Fan's picture

Oh I agree. I'm just saying, we don't appear to be the only team that believes/believed that he might someday be somewhat acceptable. There's no reason for the Jets to sign him, regardless of their injuries, if they think he's a lost cause.

Phatgzus's picture

Errr, isnt that kinda largely what coaches do, train football players?

Al Fresco's picture

Keep in mind the coaches have this mindset they can train people to be football players, thus the late rounders, un-drafteds on this team. Not to mention wasting 3 years on a guy named Harrell to develop.

There is something to be said about trying to make pigs ears into silk purses. 31 other teams say no can do. Thus, like last year and the year before, we still have a lot of deadwood who will make the team this year.

packsmack25's picture

Yeah, this terrible front office has no idea how to field a playoff or Super Bowl team. Such idiots.

ben's picture

QB: Rodgers, Young
RB: Lacey, Green, Franklin, Starks, Kuhn
WR: Cobb, Nelson, Jones, Boykins, walker, ross
TE: Finley, Mulligan, Quarless, Bostick, Stoneburner
T: Bakhtiari, Barclay, Newhouse, Datko
G: Sitton, Lang
C: EDS, Von Roten
S: Burnett, Hyde, McMillian, banjo, bush
CB: House, Shields, Heyward, Tramon
OLB: Matthews, Perry, mulumba, palmer
ILB Hawk, Brad, francois, barrington, manning
DL: Datone, Jolly, Neal, Danials, Raji, Wilson, Boyd
ST: goode, masthay (kicker&Punter)

PUP: Sharrod & Richardson
Practice squad: coleman, taylor, lewis, miller, white, johnson, savage, amosa, dorsey, pease,

DJ williams traded

mmozer's picture

Do they let Pickett go?

Idiot Fan's picture

I don't think Taylor can go on the PS, and I would be shocked if Stoneburner made it ahead of him.

ben's picture

pickett a surprise cut with Wilson and boyd both playing well for a lot less money. The lineman taylor to the practice squad, TE taylor cut despite his special teams

Phatgzus's picture

Yeah Teddy's gonna cut Picks and eat 6 million to open up a spot for a 5th round pick. Here's a bit of advice for ya, eat something other than the mushrooms growing in the forest.

L's picture

2-QBs: Rodgers, Young
5-RBs: Lacey, Green, Franklin, - Starks?, Kuhn?, Amosa?
5-WRs: J.Jones, Cobb, Nelson, Boykins, - Ross?, Johnson?, Walker?, White?
4-TEs: Finley, - Quarless?, Mulligan?, DJ.Williams?, Bostick?, R.Taylor?, Stoneburner?
9-OL: Bakhtiari, Barclay, Newhouse, Sitton, Lang, EDS, - GVR?, L.Taylor?, Datko?, Lewis?, Hughes?, Gerhart?
7-DL: Pickett, Raji, D.Jones, Jolly, Neal, Danials, - Wilson?, Boyd?, Miller?
9-LBs: Matthews, Perry, Hawk, B.Jones, Lattimore, Francois, Manning, - Moses?, Mulumba?, Palmer?, Barrington?, Savage?
9-DBs: T.Williams, Shields, Heyward, Burnett, House, Hyde, McMillian, Jennings, - Bush?, Banjo?, Means?, Fulton?, Powell?, Nixon?, Smith?
3-STs: Crosby, Masthay, Goode
IR: Bulaga, Worthy, Tretter, Harris, Dorsey, - Reed?, Cunningham?
PUP: Sherrod, - Richardson?
8-PS: Coleman, - Boyd?, Mulumba?, Palmer?, Johnson?, Bostick?, L.Taylor?, Barrington?, Walker?, White?, Datko?, Banjo?, Means?, Miller?, Stoneburner?...(or of course other team's players)

Phatgzus's picture

Why is Bush a "?"? He's making 7 figures a season and is our second beat special teamer, he's going nowhere.

Evan's picture

At least you've added Banjo to your group of cornerbacks playing out of position.

aberamsey's picture

Looks good if we don't kick any field goals this year:)

Phatgzus's picture

As long as Crosby's the kicker that's always possibility. Plus it's not like we need a punter or long snapper either, jut trot out Rodgers to get thumped on 4th and long from the 30 yard line.

Lars's picture

Pickett's not getting cut this year. Is TT really going to cut Boyd, Palmer, Barrington and maybe another draft pick? Remember, they don't automatically go on PUP, players have to clear waivers. Moses and/or Mulumba will get cut before Palmer and they'll find a way to keep Boyd on the 53, IMO.

packsmack25's picture

He already cut Dorsey

ben's picture

md Jennings, the most overrated packer since Atari bigby and AJ Hawk. Has he ever made a play? What is he still doing here? with the 1's no less. Unbelievable

Phatgzus's picture

Oh ya know, just a game-saving pick and an INT for a TD that swung the momentum in a pivotal game, but sure no need to actually watch the games in order to ask such questions.

treg's picture

Packsmack what you refer to as an official depth chart states top left corner UNofficial depth chart!

packsmack25's picture

Only unofficial because it includes players that won't be on the team in a week.

Evan's picture

That and the other myriad inaccuracies.

Nononsense's picture

2 QB: Rodgers, Young
5 RB: Lacy, Green(KR), Franklin, Starks, Kuhn
6 WR: Cobb, Nelson, Jones, Boykins, Ross(PR/KR), Johnson
4 TE: Finley, Mulligan, Quarless, Bostick
3 T: Bakhtiari, Barclay, Newhouse
2 G: Sitton, Lang
2 C: EDS, Lewis C/G

4 S: Burnett, Jennings, McMillian, Banjo
5 CB: House, Shields, Heyward, Williams, Hyde
5 OLB: Matthews, Perry, Moses, Neal, Palmer
5 ILB Hawk, Jones, Francois, Barrington, Manning
7 DL: Datone, Jolly, Pickett, Daniels, Raji, Wilson, Boyd
3 ST: Goode, Masthay, Crosby

PUP: Sherrod, Richardson, Worthy,
Practice squad: Coleman, Lane Taylor, Walker, Miller, Mulumba, Amosa, Pease, Means

This my list, who I would keep not necessarily a prediction of the final 53.

Key cuts, DJ Williams(possible trade), Jarrett Bush, Ryan Taylor, Jamari Lattimore, Greg Van Roten.

Some key STs guys cut in Bush and Taylor but additions of Banjo, Barrington, Bositc, and Hyde help negate the losses.

Evan's picture

Agree 100%.

I also think short of Bush being cut (Hyde and Banjo and replace him more than adequately), it's what I think will happen too.

I've been of the thought that Boyd can go to the PS no problem. But with the Pats grabbing Pena so quickly, now I'm not so sure.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree for the most part.
I just don't see them cutting Bush. Every year people say they are going to cut him, then they don't. Maybe they do, but until someone unseats him, he is still their best special teams player.

The only other thing that I'm thinking is that Mulumba stays and the final OLB spot is between Moses and Palmer. I know Moses has been hurt, but he hasn't shown much, and I think Mulumba is ahead of Palmer.

I agree with you Evan that Boyd might not make it to the PS if they are hoping.

Nononsense's picture

Forgot PUP JC Tretter.

Phatgzus's picture

Mostly agree except Bush and GVR at the expense of Johnson and Lewis. Pease, Lane Taylor, and Means cut; Datko, Lattimore, and Johnson/Lewis on PS.

steven's picture

Hey guys you should read this, if your not rooting for banjo now you definitely will be. http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/chris-banjos-promise-to-his-mothe...

Jamie's picture

My thoughts...

• Boyd makes the roster based on the fact they liked him enough to take him in the 5th, and he's a thick, physical, athletic dude. With some coaching he could be a nice plugger that will make plays on occasion with his hustle.

• Mulumba will make the 53, assuming he stays healthy tonight. He's flashed more than Palmer...though Palmer could make the 53 as well. Moses finally made some plays last week, and if he builds on that could also make the 53.

• Think we go with four TEs...Finley, Mulligan, Quarless, Bostick. Adding Mulumba and possibly Palmer at OLB offsets 'loss' of Taylor and Williams on STs.

• Van Roten is a lost cause...just looks awful any time I've keyed in on him. Patrick Lewis may make the initial 53 by default (pending a pickup from another team's cuts) based purely on his experience at C and not looking awful as much as Van Roten.

• I'd like to see Brandon Smith, Palmer*, Lane Taylor*, Lewis*, Tyrone Walker*, Miles White, Charles Johnson and Jake Stoneburner make PS.

*could make 53

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