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Point of Veau: Packers' Message Is "Help Us Help You"

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Point of Veau: Packers' Message Is "Help Us Help You"

I was fairly proud of my 53-man roster prediction in which I correctly picked 51 out of the 53 players that would comprise the Green Bay Packers' 2011 roster to begin the season.

I'll gladly gloat, though my purpose is to point out where I was wrong.

I had the Packers keeping quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receiver Chastin West in favor of outside linebacker Jamari Lattimore and safety M.D. Jennings.

While Harrell and West both have long-term value and stand a good chance of returning to the NFL in the near future, their short-term value to the Packers doesn't compare to Lattimore and Jennings.

The message from general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy is loud and clear: Help us help you.

In other words, we need help winning games now in Week 1, not in 2012 and beyond.

The Packers rolled the dice in exposing Harrell to waivers, though the gamble paid off, and he returns to the practice squad. But the reality is, Harrell was only going to play this season if two injuries occurred ahead of him.

As for West, the chances of him making the roster increased exponentially when it appeared that Randall Cobb might not be able to perform his return specialist duties, let alone at wide receiver.

The Packers could have kept West, and he might become a good player in time, but he isn't a better option than any of the five wide receivers currently on the roster. Pretty much the only way he was going to be active is if Cobb couldn't go.

Compare them to Lattimore and Jennings. While still raw, both have proved to be healthy and durable during training camp and at the very least, could be core special teams players if their card is called on Thursday night.

They're not locks to be active in the season opening game, but as the old coach McCarthy maxim goes, they're "available and accountable."

Barring injury, Lattimore and Jennings would have a bigger impact on any given game in 2011 than Harrell or West. And that's what the Packers are looking for, especially given their weak-link special teams.

And it's a theme that permeates their roster. It's why they kept three fullbacks in the past and why they're keeping five tight ends this year.

While they can't use five tight ends on offense at any one time, guys like Andrew Quarless, Tom Crabtree and Ryan Taylor can and will play a role on special teams.

The Packers simply keep the 53 best players on the team and those that can help them win the next game.

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Jay's picture

Have you crunched the numbers to see which 53 prediction was closest amongst you, Aaron, and the jerseyal folks? Was it you?

Brian Carriveau's picture

I haven't crunched the numbers, but I know Aaron got 51 as well, and I'm told Kris Burke got 51.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I got 54 out of 53... you heard me right.

Chad Toporski's picture

I think it's Zach Kruse you're thinking of. He got 51 - missed Lattimore and Jennings, had Harrell and McDonald.

The runners-up were Al, Adam, and myself, who each got 50 of the players.

Nobody really expected them to keep 10 LBs, though many thought they'd keep 9 instead of 8.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Thanks, Chad.

MarkinMadison's picture

Call, me crazy, but a 3-TE set would drive defensive coordinators to the bottle. A 4-TE set with Quarless and Finley on the outsides and Crabtree and Ryan on the insides might just drive them to the crack pipe.

Jay's picture

That would set up for one heck of a play action set.

redlights's picture

I agree. This is the crux of why the GBP no-huddle will kill opponents. In short yardage, bring in 3-4 TE's; get the first down, then go no-huddle and the whole playbook is open! Of course, MM will "keep" a couple plays for key games; like Raji against Chicago (won't happen more than twice this year), or a fake punt. My juicy sirloin awaits!

PkrNboro's picture


Pete Dougherty talked about the youthful Packers in a "Notebook" article/column, and mentioned an ESPN reporter -- shamefully, he didn't include a link to the page.

For anyone interested...

...might be something for daily links.

jeremy's picture

Especially considering Finley and Quarless can both run like WR's. The idea of getting those guys on corners makes me giddy.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Coach and I have actually been working on a five tight end package since we trimmed down to 53 brian... Gonna call it the five blister sisters set.


Brian Carriveau's picture

Sounds good, Fitz.

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