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Observations at Each Position on the Packers Roster as Cutdown Time Looms

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Observations at Each Position on the Packers Roster as Cutdown Time Looms

The Packers are just about a week away from having to trim their roster from 90 to 75. The league mandated cutdown date is on Tuesday Aug. 27, but the Packers may not wait that long. Teams across the NFL will start to release players after their third preseason game.

Here's a few quick thoughts at each position on the roster in the wake of Saturday's win over the St. Louis Rams in Preseason Week 2...


Through two preseason games Graham Harrell is averaging 4.1 yards per pass attempt, and Vince Young is averaging only 2.8. Those numbers are beyond pitiful. No matter who the Packers keep, it's hard to see either Harrell or Young be the Packers' backup in 2014. Coleman is the best pure passer among all the backups on the team, but he's still raw. The Packers may have to go back to the drawing board in the offseason.

Running Back

There is no trade value for either James Starks or Alex Green. No NFL team is going to give up a draft choice when they know at least one of these two guys is going to be cut, and perhaps both of them will be released. Green doesn't appear to be the same player after his knee surgery two years ago. Starks is the better of the two, but the next season he stays fully healthy will be his first.

Wide Receiver

The top three receivers are set in stone, and it would appear Jarrett Boykin has solidified himself as No. 4. Jeremy Ross is the top option as number five if for no other reason than his special teams return ability, but he absolutely has to be consistent with his ball security. There can be no fumbles, no muffs and no drops with Ross. Tyrone Walker has had a nice training camp, but can the Packers afford to keep a sixth receiver on their roster that won't be active on regular season game days anyway? Walker has a better chance of making the team if Ross is cut.

Tight End

Beyond Jermichael Finley, the tight end position in Green Bay is a mess. It's difficult to see the Packers keep five once again, because it would be a waste to keep four fringe players. Injuries are definitely part of the issue. Matthew Mulligan would be a lock because of his blocking, but his injury Saturday night throws a monkey wrench into the team's roster makeup. Andrew Quarless might be the most complete tight end in the roster, but the Packers can't wait forever for him to get healthy. Ryan Taylor might be the best special teams player, but that alone shouldn't make him a lock to make the team. He too needs to get healthy and on the field. Brandon Bostick is a poor man's version of Finley. As long as the Packers have Finley, there's no need to have Bostick too. But he may stick on the practice squad. D.J. Williams just can't seem to put it all together.

Offensive Line

The seven players who will be active on regular season game days is all but set, barring injury. It would appear Don Barclay has the edge on Marshall Newhouse as the starting right tackle, but either way, Newhouse is the backup swing tackle. If either of the guards were to get hurt, Barclay would take over. And Greg Van Roten is the team's backup center, although the Packers have to be worried if Evan Dietrich-Smith were to ever miss any extended period of time.

Defensive Line

After Saturday's performance, it would be extremely difficult to part ways with Johnny Jolly. The bigger question might be, what does Jolly's emergence mean for rookie Josh Boyd? It's hard to see the Packers keeping both Jolly and Boyd. The Packers can try to stash Boyd on the practice squad, but once they cut him, they also risk another team signing him to their 53-man roster.

Outside Linebacker

Both Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer took a big step forward on Saturday night against the Rams, and they figure to be fighting for one roster spot between the two of them. This is a battle that may go down to the fourth and final preseason game.

Inside Linebacker

Based on his showing in the first two preseason games, Robert Francois looks to be the top backup at inside linebacker. He needs to be cross-trained at both positions should either Brad Jones or A.J. Hawk go down. The Packers may not have any elite players at the position, but they do have plenty of depth.


Davon House didn't do anything specular after coming back from what can only be described as a horrible performance in preseason Week 1, but he looked solid. Micah Hyde is fantastic playing in close quarters and being sent on the blitz, but he's still a work in progress playing  and covering in space.


Chris Banjo might hit like a ton of bricks, but at 5-10 he's eventually going to get exposed by taller receivers in coverage. It's still difficult to see the Packers keeping any more than three safeties currently on their roster. The waiver wire might be the best chance of finding an upgrade in the position.

Special Teams

The competition between Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio is coming down to its final week. They'll cut one of the two after the third preseason game. Crosby might have gotten the upper edge by going perfect on his field goal attempts in the Rams game, while Tavecchio missed one. Crosby also has the edge on kickoffs. But what happens if Crosby looks terrible next week against the Seahawks? No clue. Just hope that doesn't happen.

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 [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

just wait's picture

Vince Young has 9 days of practice with a new system and not play in 11 months.
His offense who could not keep the defense out his face and getting bad snap last night no real receiver too pass to.
Keeping this in mind hey I think he coming along. Would not yet put with Graham.
Did Graham have same Offense line VY had?

CowKiller's picture

Take an English class man.

The TKstinator's picture

Keep Banjo for now or PS. Hyde looks like a good player. Maybe he'll eventually be a safety too. With speed limitations he might be more of a zone corner and I'm not sure how much zone GB plays.

Stroh's picture

TE I would keep Finley, Mulligan, Quarless and Bostic. And given how much the Packer emphasize ST play for bottom of the roster players, probably Taylor too. Unless Mulligan or Quarless go on IR, which I doubt, they are good role players the Packers might find it difficult to part with. Bostic, even as a poor mans Finley, could stick if the Packers are looking forward beyond next year (he's become what the Packers wanted Williams to be). They would need a TE that can stretch the field and Quarless has not shown that ability.

On DL, IMO its not a matter of Jolly or Boyd, but a matter of Jolly or Wilson. Wilson is a pretty non-descript player and the Packers would likely keep Boyd over Wilson on potential. Might even be able to get Boyd on the PS, since to this point he hasn't shown much, tho that could change yet.

Not calling this, but is it hard to imagine both Mulumba and Palmer over Moses? So far it looks possible to me.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I think its a matter of Boyd vs. Wilson now. Before I thought Boyd vs. Jolly. But after that game I think it comes down to Boyd and Wilson. Boyd played really well I thought, and Thompson doesn't like to give up on rookies. I think if eligible Jordan Miller, will be on the PS. He looked good.

I agree with Mulumba and Palmer over Moses. They both really looked good to me, and Moses hasn't done anything that I have seen. I am not saying it will happen, just saying it could happen.

Mr.Bigg's picture

Why would Dezman Moses get a spot right now. Seems to have lost that edge that made him valuable.

PackRat's picture

Three thoughts

One, I can't believe the "pass" being given to Jethro Franklin. Solid guy, high draft choice, but where does he fit in and what has he done? Right know, I would feel better about Green, Starks and Harris if Lacy went down for the season. Let's see if we can get a third round pick.

Two, would much rather keep an xtra ILB, DL and OL if push comes to shove rather than our special teams "deamon" Jarrett Bush (who I watch weekly get toasted on punt coverage) or any of the dime-a-dozen safeties who I wouldn't trust covering Gregg Jennings while he was on the PUP list after suffering a tongue whiplash injury. Would MUCH rather hold onto Mulumba, Palmer and Boyd for the inevitable injuries and their potential growth.

Three, lack of emergence of TEs that can block have made Kuhn, once again, necessary. However, his value as a third down blocker/check-down will be reduced with the blocking/pass-catching ability of both Lacy and Alex Green. Would not be surprised if he gets cut. I would rather have a OL line up as the lead blocker in a Barry-like "heavy" package and save the roster space for the xtra OLineman needed for the grueling season.

hayward4president's picture

Getting rid of Franklin might be the dumbest idea I have ever read on here. Yea let's get rid of our 2nd or third best rb......brilliant.While we are at it let's get rid of our 3rd best at other positions too. Cya Shields.....later J.J.....its been real Perry. Franklin is a hell of a pass catcher and is a great change of pace back. If they didn't think he would be useful they wouldn't have drafted him.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

"Solid guy, high draft choice, but where does he fit in and what has he done?"

You accidentally listed Franklin to that statement, when you obviously described Green.

Stroh's picture

Have to say so far that it also fits Franklin. He's done little so far either.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

You've gotta be effing joking. The kid hasn't really even had a real opportunity to run/gel with the starting O-line, can we give him a full season maybe before we categorize him?

Green is going into year three and has done -channeling my inner Coach Mora - "diddly poo". I was rooting for the kid, really was, looked good coming out of Hawaii, but it's becoming clear that if he doesn't have a gaping hole, he's average at best. Just doesn't seem to know how to follow blocks, or create for himself. Green has ran with the ones, and done nothing... Give franklin a chance.

Apples to oranges, any rational person can see the difference.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Oh, and I don't want to hear about injuries... No matter how you slice it, there's just been no production.

Stroh's picture

I'm not blaming him or anything. Sheesh, take it down a few notches! Just saying that so far Franklin hasn't done much of anything. Are you saying I'm wrong? I read that Lacy has shown excellent patience when running the zone plays. He waits for the right time to cut upfield and always makes the right reads. If that's true then the other RB's aren't making as good of reads either, and that includes Franklin. I'm not making any excuses or saying anything that isn't true. Why the need to go off the deep end? It just happens to be true! Some RB aren't good fits and don't have the patience to make the right reads on the zone runs. And it Franklin never was exposed to the ZBS in college then its no wonder he has been having trouble assimilating to it. I read Franklin was given a lot of freedom to improvise at UCLA and that being the case, having to show a lot of patience wouldn't be a strength of Franklins. Its something that Lacy was exposed to and learned at Bama.

So far Franklin has been a little underwhelming and is struggling adapting to. I'm not advocating releasing him or calling him a bust, just that he hasn't performed very well so far! Take a chill dude.

Some of the same issues are true for Green and Starks to some degree too. And the OL certainly hasn't always blocked very well either. But if one RB can produce and others aren't, there is usually a reason. Patience is a requirement on zone run plays and from what I've read Lacy runs w/ excellent patience and makes the right reads every time. Franklin hasn't!

Cow42's picture

been sayin' it since they drafted him... the Franklin pick was a mistake. Harris is better. MUCH better.

Franklin will make the team because of where he was drafted but he'll always just be a roster-spot/#3 guy. no starting or difference making potential there. he's got no bounce. he has one speed. does not change directions well.

Stroh's picture

And now Cow isn't understanding! Franklin is NOT a wasted pick and I wouldn't say that Harris is better, certainly not MUCH better. Franklin will be a good RB and have a definite role. Franklin will become a good RB and will be worth the draft slot. Just so far he hasn't assimilated to the zone run game. Which is ALOT different than being a bust or waste. Not every pick has to become a starter to be successful. Franklin will have a role he just hasn't found it yet.

hayward4president's picture

Now Cow is in on it.....F. Look I work a lot. And I work until midnight a lot. My point? When I get off on Saturdays what games are on? The west coast games. I have seen a lot of Franklin and I am telling you the kid is legit. He's not fast? Are you kidding? Improvises a little ...yeah sure. But with this o line I am pretty sure you need to improvise....a lot. Let the kid have more than ten or 15 runs before you write him off.

PackRat's picture

Yes, I do know it's Johnathan...

Rich's picture

Harrell's performance is pitiful? If the printing folks don't get your pathethetic articles to press, does that make you a pitiful writer? When receivers drop balls, that doesn't make Harrell pitifully either. You're an idiot!

Evan's picture

Mr. Harrell - I'm sure Brian meant no disrespect. I'm sure little Graham is a wonderful son, but not everyone is cut out for the NFL. You should be proud he's made it this far and lasted this long. I'm sure he'll have a bright future in coaching or maybe th CFL.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture


Nononsense's picture

Wow, I hate to be the grammar police here but does anybody proofread their comments before posting? Jeez.

Just a couple of thoughts on your observations: "Brandon Bostick is a poor man’s version of Finley. As long as the Packers have Finley, there’s no need to have Bostick too."

Are you serious here, I can't believe I just read that? You do realize that Finley could get injured at any point this season right? Having a guy "like Finley" to step in for him if he ever gets injured is a good thing isn't it? Since when did having two similar good players at a position become a bad thing?

Right now I have Bostic on my 53 as the 3rd TE behind Finley and Mulligan, I'd be shocked if he doesn't make the team. The other 4 guys can duke it out for the last spot.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree with you on Bostick. I believe he has made the roster.

That's the one thing that irritates me is when someone says, 'we already have ___, we don't need ___.' Injury's are always a part of the game.
I have heard we don't need Franklin because we have Harris. What is wrong with having 2 speedier type of RB's on the roster?
I don't believe you can have to much talent.

aNEWpackersJERSEY's picture

I just proofread the shit out of your post. You've got some obvious grammatical mistakes, however I'm to lazy(cool) to point them out. Just be careful with those rocks, my man. The outside of your house could use a little "windex-ing" ;). Otherwise, its a sensible post; Bostick has potential.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Dude, did those tickets ever make it to you?

Frank Rizzo's picture

Our DL depth appears good.
But will the be able to corral the Niners RB and Kaepernick in week one?

I love Mulumba, like Nate Palmer. I also liked Dezman Moses and still do.

Where the hell is Terrell Manning?
Could we keep 8 LB's with 5 of them being primarily OLB's?

Jeremy Ross has mad skills as a returner, once he fields the ball. He's lethal still.

Johnathan Franklin is good. Remember, this OL sucks.

Stroh's picture

Having more and better athletes on the field vs Kaep and RG3 will make a difference. The Neal at OLB experiment is largely w/ the read option in mind, as has been pointed out.

Right now I would have Mulumba and Palmer ahead of Moses for the 4th OLB job. The Packers usually keep at least 9 and sometimes 10 LB's total. They are usually the best ST players.

I agree Manning is having a quiet camp so far. Maybe that's a product of playing w/in the system, but I've been waiting for him to show up too!

Ross can be a very good returner, maybe even as good as Cobb. If he doesn't have ball security issues on returns he'll be on the team.

Cow42's picture

just go ahead and say it, Stroh... you were wrong about Manning.

he's their 5th best ILB.

Stroh's picture

Not a chance! Why is it you assume every pick has to be a starter to be successful and every player that isn't a starter is a wasted pick? The reality is that most players are role players and take a year or longer to become starters! Hell Rodgers, Bishop, Cullen Jenkins, Al Harris, Ahman Green all took a few years to become starters!

Cow42's picture

i don't disagree that he'll be a role player.
problem is you've been touting him as "a more athletic Bishop".

Stroh's picture

He is more athletic. That doesn't necessarily make him better tho! And Bishop was on the bench for 3 years. I never said he would be better than Bishop THIS year, just that he could eventually be better. You need to start reading better and quite making inferences!

Cow42's picture

so we can expect him to contribute sometime in 2016?

hump's picture

josh boyd will never be cut period! watch the tape and its easy to see. but then again md jennigs and mcmillian are still on roster??? please somebody go back and watch jennings running away from contact like a little girl. OMG!! just ridiculous for him to get roster spot and mcmillian coverage is as bad as jennings tackling. get hyde back there and be done with this bullshit at safety!!!!

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