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Camp Battles at Receiver, Running Back Indicate Strong Depth

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Camp Battles at Receiver, Running Back Indicate Strong Depth

Green Bay’s influx of young skill position players seems so far an indicator that this year’s roster cutdown could be among the most competitive in recent memory. 
 
At wide receiver, the logjam presents itself deep in the depth chart, after starters Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. Jeff Janis won’t go away quietly, making a pair of splash plays this week while receiving a vote of confidence from head coach Mike McCarthy regarding his special teams value. Geronimo Allison has been an improved player in camp, which figures to help offset the tarnish of his ensuing one-game suspension. Trevor Davis is back with the same wheels that helped him get drafted, and he’s added a few pounds of bulk. Early on, Allison and Davis have been two of the best of Green Bay’s youngsters at receiver. 
 
Rookie’s Malachi Dupre and DeAngelo Yancey have both demonstrated downfield ability. Returning practice squad player Max McCaffrey might be battling long odds, but he’s making plays with the team’s reserve units and will have the opportunity to strut his stuff in preseason. 
 
However the pieces fall, the depth should be excellent behind the Packers’ potent tier 1 group of receivers. 
 
Tight end seems a settled position, the Packers likely going into the season led by Martellus Bennett, while veterans Richard Rodgers and free-agent acquisition Lance Kendricks battle it out for No. 2 reps. Kendricks has drawn praise early on from McCarthy and others, citing his versatility and work ethic. If Kendricks’ presence is an upgrade for the depth available to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, just imagine the kind of upgrade Kendricks gets playing for a quarterback of Rodgers’ magnitude. 
 
Running back isn’t as settled—the latest chapter of the position battle saga featuring fourth round rookie Jamaal Williams cutting into Ty Montgomery’s first-team reps—but here again, the numbers favor Green Bay. 
 
It’s been well publicized that Montgomery led the league in yards after contact in limited opportunities a season ago, and by another measure was among the most elusive backs. Montgomery was simply too effective (including from shotgun) to not earn significant playing time—but he’ll need to improve his pass protection. 
 
Williams is the more accomplished pass blocker, an attribute that weighs heavily in earned playing time in Green Bay’s backfield. He’s also himself an elusive, powerful runner with a north-south, one-cut style reminiscent of Ryan Grant. Decisiveness, physicality and the ability to protect the franchise are premium attributes. You’ll see Williams this season. 
 
This all points to a luxury of depth at a position where NFL experience is less important compared to others. Behind Montgomery and Williams are rookies Aaron Jones and Devante Mays, each who bring unique qualities into the mix. Jones is as comfortable catching the ball as he is running it and was a big-play machine at UTEP, while Mays brings uncommon foot speed for a back his size who can push would-be tacklers away. 
 
At receiver and running back, some talented players are going to find themselves on the practice squad or looking for a job elsewhere. It won’t be indicative that the Packers missed the mark on draft day or shortly thereafter. It will have indicated that this year’s roster, numbers wise, came in pretty stacked. 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

Strong depth>weak depth.

sonomaca's picture

Could they possibly cut Richard Rodgers or Cobb? Surprised us last year with Sitton.

Turophile's picture

Cutting Cobb would result in too big a cap hit in 2017, imo.

However, at the end of this season, with Cobb going into the last year of his contract and Aaron Rodgers getting closer to a new mega deal, cutting that salary ($12.75m - $9m saved if cut) is possible.

If Cobb has a poor year due to injury or decling play, the possibility of cutting him increases.

stockholder's picture

Cobb stays. You could say the same thing about ADAMS. If they have trouble keeping cobb , they'll have trouble keeping ADAMS. Adams gets them a Comp pick. If he shows his Cobbs equal. His agent will want that 12 mil. TT has two rookies. Cobb gets paid and won't decline. Bet it works out that, TT takes the comp pick for both.

MarkAlan's picture

I don't think the Packers can carry 3 receivers at the top of their payscale with a new contract foe Rodgers near

MarkinMadison's picture

I've read some positive things about Sandland. RR is in the last year of his deal. Cutting him saves $1.9M less $123K in dead cap. If RR is your #3 TE (and it looks like he is), then it does not make sense to keep him if you don't think you want to re-sign him (very, very possible) and you would like to see Sandland develop. If there is a veteran cut this year, I think RR is probably it.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I don't disagree with the gist of what you wrote. The net cap savings from cutting RR is $1.923M - dead money = $1.797M - minus rookie min of $465K = $1.332M assuming we still keep 3 TEs.

Sandland is playing with a huge brace on his knee. Says surgery isn't necessary, but it probably doesn't help. I am okay with RR as a 3rd TE. He has some uses.

RCPackerFan's picture

The 3 positions that I was and am most excited to see this year is the RB, WR and CB positions. The Depth and quality at RB and WR are very strong and a lot of young talented players.

RB the 3 rookies have all played well from what I have heard. Add in Montgomery who is a special weapon for the offense, and Ripkowski who can be a bruising physical runner and the RB position should be much better this year. Also I have heard really good things about Kerridge.
Out of the rookies Williams has the early lead, but there is 4 preseason games to decide that. I have heard really good things about both Jones and Mays as well.

WR is going to be really interesting when cutdowns come. I am going to assume they will keep 7 again. With Nelson, Adams and Cobb as locks, that leaves 4 spots. Allison technically won't count on the 53 for the first game, but I believe he will be on it come week 2. Davis adds value as a return man. Janis is a 'core special teams player' according to McCarthy. Dupre has looked good early, as has McCaffrey, Yancey has shown he can get deep and Michael Clark has really shown off his size and basketball background.

Its going to be a fun battle to watch this preseason and going to be interesting in seeing who gets let go.

stockholder's picture

I see no cuts. But I do see the possibility of trading someone for draft picks.

Bedrock's picture

I agree we have the talent to trade for picks, but that is a very rare occurrence.

TheVOR's picture

You guy's should do your homework, the WR the QB's are raving over is Max McCaffery, and the WR's are saying things like the only guy catching any balls is Max McCaffery!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree that Max McCaffrey is having a strong camp, that he is catching everything thrown his way, and that some beat writers like the way he comes out of his breaks (though I am not sure if that means he runs good routes or is always where he is supposed to be).

Unfortunately, you overstated your case. Max clearly isn't the ONLY guy catching any balls. For suggesting that we are all ignoramuses and overstating your case, you get a dislike.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

I like all these RBs tremendously. I am confident in any of them if they're our featured ball-carrier.
Health will clarify roles going forward but rest assured in all of them.

The WR's are solid too. The Triplets are as good as any 1-2-3 WR in the NFL.

Allison helped last year.
Janis, well QB1 ignores him, but when he has to go to him, well, see Arizona Jan 2016. He can make plays if you give him a chance (yes I remember the drop he had vs Indianapolis last year, horrible).

I'm not as high on Davis as some are. But I like the 2 rooks plus Mad Max a lot. I also like the tall guy Michael Clark. His size and rebound ability is a mismatch in close.

If only, as always, the defense could be or perform as well......

The TKstinator's picture

Nice about TC and the preseason: throw a bunch of guys in there, let them compete, and see the cream rise to the top.
PS wasn't it spelled Ivery?

cheesehead1's picture

Very encouraging to read about all the offensive possibilities. Looks very promising to say the least. Let's not forget that now it's time to see them in game action, not practice. IMO, unless the D is vastly improved, (which I believe can happen), we'll see a repeat of last year. Time for Coach Capers' D to step up big time.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Capers step up?... not likely. What worries is all the positives about the O but no where near the same excitement about the D. Rollins got some good press, Clark, Lowry... that's about it. We can be fairly certain this offense will be good, I doubt we'll know about the D til the live bullets start to fly.

BELIEVER's picture

Some of the defense is Capers fault, but he don't get blue chip players. The defense needs leaders who are pro bowlers, I see 1 in a safety. To put all the blame on Capers is wrong. Bye bye Peppers, Jones and Hyde, Packers need leaders. Will we see someone step up this year.

gr7070's picture

Are any of these WRs actually good depth though?

Just because there's competition doesn't mean they're good players. They can be closely skilled, but still bad.

Beyond Jordy, Cobb and Adams only Allison has actually performed well against other teams. I'm not confident in Cobb this year.

So everyone else has done nothing beyond our practice field against our OK CBs. Until we see something in preseason games this so called depth is just a bunch of names we are familiar with and little else.

I do not get the excitement over our WR corps. There might be a gem or two in there, but so far it's mostly wishful thinking.

# reality

The TKstinator's picture

A glass has a capacity of 12 ounces. It currently holds 6. How would you describe that?

Somedumbname's picture

Time to order another beer :)

The TKstinator's picture

WooHoo!

Nick Perry's picture

Who could even "Dislike" a comment like this?? HATERS!!!!!

gr7070's picture

"A glass has a capacity of 12 ounces. It currently holds 6. How would you describe that?"

I would describe it as exactly what it is: 6 oz. of water at 39* F. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's not about pessimism, not optimism; it's about realism.

The TKstinator's picture

39*F.
That's cold.

LayingTheLawe's picture

It depends on whether you are talking about a player contributing as your number 4 or 5 receiver this year like Allison did last year or whether there are potential number one starters in the future.

There are definitely some good pieces who could thrive in an offense like Green Bays as the number 4 receiver who gets the dime CB coverage. But are any of these guys potential future stars? That remains to be seen.

Nick Perry's picture

I think if Cobb stays healthy, Cobb produces. The problem the last few years is he can't stay healthy. I'm hoping his play in the playoffs last season is a sign of things to come if healthy. Cobb can do a lot of damage with his quickness working underneath with Bennett and Kendricks on the field. I'm not will to write off Cobb just yet though I do understand peoples lack of confidence in him.

stockholder's picture

I believe they are good. So good that Allison may not make the 53. He has been suspended, and that hurts. (Suspension may mean move on.) Janis: I believe they could trade him. He's done nothing to get cut. Somebody will get a great gunner if they do. Davis is ready and will be kept over Allison and the rookies. The two rookies may just make this club forcing them to take 7 Wrs. (Sounds like they have a future) McCafferey may also be in the mix. So that brings me to Adams. ///// Nelson ,Cobb get the bucks. How can they pay ADams too? So will TT Take a 3rd comp pick? Or trade either Cobb, or janis. I believe TT takes the Comp Pick. ( Because Adams won't get you a 2nd round pick. And neither will Cobb.) Nelson, Cobb, and Adams, start. I'm taking Janis, Davis ,Yancy and Dupre to make it. Clarke PS. Allison gets waived. McCafferey will be on this club if Davis screws up.

korbie33's picture

We still need one more pass rusher besides Perry and Mathews. Two isn't enough to protect our improved secondary.

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