Roster shaping up

I’m not going to go over the Packers’ roster with too much depth, I’ll let the paid experts do that. But here is my general feeling about the way the Packers’ roster will shape up this year.

A position I thought had the best and worst of both worlds might not be as bad as I thought. Aaron Rodgers is clearly an elite NFL QB but until recently I though Matt Flynn was a piece of dung. I’m coming around to Flynn a little (Caah-stanza), but that could all change Thursday night when Flynn will get a bulk of the playing time. I’d like to see Graham Harrell make it but odds are against it.

Running back looks like a two man crew with Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson. Because of injuries to the running  back position the Packers could indeed keep three fullbacks again this year with John Kuhn playing the role of third running back. If that is the case the Packers could end up keeping three fullbacks and four tight ends.

Obviously Jermichael Finley is the starter at tight end but it seems a crap shoot after that. Donald Lee is a reliable player but Andrew Quarless doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and Spencer Havner and Tom Crabtree are special teams aces, which considering the Packers’ struggles with that unit makes both much more valuable than Lee. I’m guessing that is the way the Packers go. No more D-Lee.

Offensive line has turned out to be a good position this year. Allen Barber’s days are over in the Green & Gold, same probably for Evan Dietrich-Smith. I would hope the Packers don’t trade Jason Spitz, and I don’t think they will despite the talk. I think Ted Thompson has finally learned his lesson about not having enough quality offensive lineman. Now that you have some depth, you better not trade it away. I do hope they can sneak Marshall Newhouse to the practice squad.

On d-line I love Mike Neal and I can see Justin Harrell making the team. The former first-round pick stayed healthy all camp and flashed enough to keep the coaches intrigued with his potential. The kid hasn’t played in two years so it will take some time to shake the rust off and be confident his back will hold up. Could be a risky move but I bet they keep him.

The secondary is definitely a concern but the only new starter in the base is safety Morgan Burnett in place of Atari Bigby. The nickel back is where the real concern is and it looks like rookie Sam Shields is going to be that guy. Shields has looked good but asking him to be the savior of the Packers’ bad pass defense is asking a lot.

I like all the linebackers except Desmond Bishop. I could see Frank Zombo replacing Bishop on the final roster. All Bishop does is make big hits and give up good plays and we haven’t seen any big hits this preseason. Zombo has looked pretty good in his opportunities and certainly has a better upside than a guy who hasn’t gotten better after four years. I think the linebackers may end up being a strength of this defense like originally predicted when they went to the 3-4.

All of this will be determined in the Scrub Bowl to be played Thursday night in Kansas City. My favorite of all the preseason games.

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  • I’m thinking Legat has it right on the first 6 games of the season, re last thread. Gives Harris and Bigby a chance to really rehab correctly. However, it could well be that they both come back as backups. Williams and Burnett could very well hold on to their starting roles because Harris’ bump style not really the usual with the 3-4 and Bigby (although I like the way he hits) was always the weak link back there. I love the last pre too, ’cause even those last cuts are fun to jaw about for a day or two. Bishop has not improved his coverage skills and has been given every opportunity……spell, GONE!

    • By the way Al, who is your long snapper?

  • ScottS

    WR: Swain or Cherri?

    • Rocky70

      Too early ……. Chery had trouble fielding punts at yesterdays practice ……… Make or break for him come Thursday night ……….

  • Monty

    Did anyone see the trade Baltimore made with Seattle for Josh Wilson, Seattle’s best CB, for a fifth round draft choice in 2011? Ted WAKE UP!!! This is the kind of trade we need to be making, especially since Schinder is in Seattle…..after Charles Woodson, none of our CB’s are that good, sorry but T Williams is a nickel back at best, he gives up too many big plays and the rest, well you said it, SShields is still learning the position and they want to make HIM the nickel back? Lee should be cut, as I stated earlier one of Ted’s 2nd round busts, Underwood is injured and needs more time. Without another veteran CB our secondary is gonna be burnt toast all season!! I totally agree about Zombo, while he is a feel good story, he really didnt show much in the Indy game besides the one play and its time to say good bye to Justin all the fans that booed that draft day when Ted came out on stage knew, B U S T

    Again, I rest my case about Ted Thompson (of course Ol’e Ted would say “We like our guys”)

    Thompson’s had a pretty good draft this year and last, but Ozzie and the Ravens getting Josh Wilson from the Seahawks for a 5th round pick would have been a very smart move. You can make a trade once in a while, Ted. And I’m not talking about trading something called Tony Moll for a little used special teams player.

    • Yeah, you’re right Monty, lousy team TT has put together. Started with the coaching staff, and think what a good QB we could have if only MM wasn’t his mentor. Oh, things could be so, so much better without the troika.

      • Rocky70

        Monty is still fighting the “BF Battle” ………… Doesn’t know when to throw in the towel.

  • Larry

    Hey LT- things could be so much better with another starting CB opposite Woodson. Monty’s right about Williams. This is basically the secondary we ended the season with…Harris out/Blackmon out/ Underwood and Lee as non-factors. Jarrett Bush our savior.

    I call Burnett and Bigby a push at this stage although Burnett will be better (if he’ll tackle). Don’t like the TT/MM slamming BUT 35 points against Pburgh and 45 against AR were LOSING efforts.

    • Of course Larry, but Monty’s cred goes to Canty, Haynesworth, Moss, Fanaca, and anyone else TT has not picked up in the last few years. The only exception I take with your post is that I think Burnett is way above Bigby. Bush may have a few supporters here, because he has something the coaches like(?), but I can’t find anyone who has really been pleased with Bigby even tho he starts. Hey, it took a half a season for the rest of the league to catch up with our D failings last year and we still went 7-1 out. My opinion is that we will have more push up front forcing the pocket out which makes for a slower ball coming out. Hence, a better take-away ratio than even the excellent ratio last year. You know, my undieing optimism! Besides, after PHI who matches up w/ us to start the season until, ugh, MIN. But even looking to that game, Harris may be rusty but so will Rice…..!

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Gotta ask…………………… why does a team trade away their starting CB for a 5th???

    • 5-9, 192 not our profile. Starts an average of 10 games a year and spends time on STs. Is 25 so combining all wouldn’t have much of a future with us. Don’t think he is Pro-Bowl caliber so where would the upside be over our guys if healthy?

      • Rick

        PA. That is a perfectly good question and I agree with LT. He (Wilson)is a 3 or 4th CB on most good to great teams. He has speed but slow hips, he does know how to position himself and run zone scheme defense well but he is small and is prone to much to laying hands on bigger recievers. Sounds like our Ahmad Carroll first round bust from Arkanas a couple of years ago. Not our kind of guy is correct.

        We like 6 footers with strong bump and jam skills to throw off timing routes and enable our D to put pressure on the QB. Bush’s issue is he sucks at the line and does not redirect WRs well. He winds up trailing to many times and allows a seam to open.

        But with the Ravens pressure defense and zone defensive scheeme; a solid zone DB is worth the trade. They did really well in getting him for a 5th.

  • Larry

    The issue isn’t Burnett over Bigby….the best player probably won although by default. The problem is a corner-just one corner opposite Woodson…that moves Williams to nickle where he belongs and given the injury history all I’m saying is that we should have addressed it.

    TT has made a great many “right moves” and the O line is fixed in my opinion and the LB’s weren’t terribly broken and Zombo helps. Burnett was a great choice to upgrade the safety spot. But there is one more piece of business to attend to I’m sure TT is working on it.

    This is a deep playoff team either way. Kudos to TT and MM….but we need a veteran corner more than ever to complete this team.

  • Maybe, but Wilson leaving SEA didn’t break any hearts nor is anybody in BAL jumping for joy.
    You’ve got to see what the personnel people see, starting with he is a UFA after the season and we would cut him anyway in favor of one of our own. Don’t see a 5-9er helping much even if he does runbacks.

    • Rocky70

      LT – what some of our ‘esteemed’ posters fail to consider is this ………. The Seahawks won 4 games in season 2008 & backed it up with a whopping 5-win season in 2009 ……….. A new regime has taken over in Seattle & are doing what all teams do when they are rebuilding ………. Cutting their losses by dumping the riff-raff & make-believe starters on the roster ………..

      I’d like to see another vet CB on the roster but a little closer examination by all the ‘esteemed’ posters here may lead to the reality that there just aren’t many to be had ……….. Besides, that vet CB is already on the roster ……….. He just can’t play until week 7 or so.

  • Rocky70

    A little more on “Josh Wilson” ……….

    Per Pete Carroll …………… “”This is an opportunity that came along for us because of our depth,” Carroll said. “We’re very happy with the cornerback position, with Kelly Jennings and Walter Thurmond … Josh is a great kid, and this is a team that really came after him. It happened very quickly.” ………….. BTW, Thurmond is a rookie.

    Another fact ……… “One additional factor is that while Wilson is 5-foot-9, Trufant, Jennings, and Thurmond are all 5-foot-11. Former Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell favored smaller cornerbacks, but Schneider comes from Green Bay, where larger defensive backs are the norm. ”

    New regime ……….. New approach ………. Good idea after winning only nine games in two years.

  • Mel E Mel

    Underwood, new and improved,Burnett range and coverage ability that Bigby could only dream of. Shields 4.3 speed and a U background. The only thing Wilson is guilty of is not being Charles Woodson. The S position was the issue all last year, and if the Pass Rush is not improved, then coverage is the symptom not the disease.

    • Not sure I understand your comment MEM, but if your saying the DBs look worse when there is no rush, I totally agree. Gets back to the theory of containment sacks and coverage sacks in reverse. With an O already having the advantage of knowing where the receivers are going its logical that the DBs cannot completely cover forever.
      I’m just going by memory but I seem to remember last year our getting more cut up by the quick short pass than the long ball. Not to say we weren’t beat by a long ball, we were, but not as often as the quick one over the middle – at least thats my recollection. With our beefed up D front this year I expect a lot of pocket collapeses(?) which does more to interupt the timing between QB and WR than good coverage. No better proof in point than our own situation with Rodgers and what he can do when the opposing D cannot penetrate as opposed to him being chased out of the pocket.
      In sum, I think our DBs will look a lot better this year simply by virtue of better pass rush which Capers has chosen not to show in the pre yet. I’m convinced its there and you’ll see it in PHI.

  • Larry

    LT, I think your spot on with the short stuff going long last year…the nickle back plays 65% or more of the defensive snaps and genarally gets the slot receiver. Hence the failings. Williams and Woodson are good slot CB’s but of course their generally outside…back to needing a CB.

    Look for KC to try to expose the middle with crossings and slants…let’s see who covers the slot. Cassel is xpatriot coached by x patriots which ran a 3-4. We’ll see whose vulnerable IF the QB gets time.

    Woodson isn’t going to play much (if any). So we’ll see who performs against this poor team.

    • Again, I think these pre games are invaluable to a team like ours with a pretty much set 22. Even bone-head plays by newbies are valuable as a teaching experience, hence don’t get upset with win-loss outcomes. Classifying needs vs wants very difficult. I would like 2 more veteran CBs because of Woodson and Harris’ age, but contrast the investment we already have in our so-called underachievers and bringing someone in who is foreign to both the locker room and coaching staff. I’m not so sure we are as bad at the position as most seem to think, time will tell.
      Its kind of like pain transfer. You know, how you can hurt like hell somewhere, and when that pain goes away up pops another (my age, maybe). Well, also like squeezing a balloon.
      Fact is, this is a damn good team and the worst phase of our game (you pick) always looks worse than it is simply because were so good in the other aspects. Hence, the complainers have a field picking, picking, picking, on some really insignificant part of the overall scheme.

  • Pierre

    If you can come back from a 17-0 deficit and almost win a game in overtime against a team like Arizona, when Warner is 28 for 31 in passing completions, you have an incredible offense and QB that can compete against any team. It would have been mind boggling if GB had won that game considering the passing success that Arizona had for the whole game. Just how good is A. Rodgers to get that kind of game to overtime with the non-existent pass defense the packers displayed that game.
    Every team has some weaknesses that can be exposed in a game however the Packers offense is outstanding and should be more than able to make every game this year a winning one. It’s the little things that will count from the players’ discipline, perseverance, and motivation to the ongoing coaching decisions that will determine many of the close games. No teams should be taken for granted in 2010 however as history shows teams can go from losing records to winning records from one year to the next.

  • Rocky70

    Out today …….. Per SI ……..

    GB 12-4
    Minn. 9-7
    Chi. 8-8
    Det. 6-10

    Looks good to me ………. Although 13-3 may be closer. (GB that is)

  • Rick

    I’d rather see
    GB 14-2
    Chi 7-9
    Det 6-10
    Minn. 5-7

    Farve done for season and retires after being injured throwing a pick in week 5. Thus keeping his streak of first pass in NFL and last pass in NFL as interception.

    I can dream….

    • Rick


      Minn. 5-11

      I guess it would have been fun if they gave up after 12 games 🙂

  • Mel E Mel

    I meant Williams not wilson. its gametime mm

  • monty

    Didnt like me plugging another packer site eh all?