(Note: The Stew will return later Tuesday. I promise.)
With 21 training camp practices, a “Family Night Scrimmage” and two preseason games under their collective belt, we’ve seen enough of a body of work to begin determining what the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster could look like come Sept. 12.
But what should it look like?
Obviously, this is just one man’s opinion, but if I were running the show in Titletown, here’s how my roster would look, as of now. I’ll provide comments after each position, as well.
(Also, please don’t sue me for ripping off your idea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Greg Bedard. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Right??)
Quarterbacks (2): Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn.
Comments: If I had done this 10 days ago, I might have included Graham Harrell on here. But Harrell is still far too raw to deserve a roster spot, especially with how deep the team is at other positions. He’s a practice squad guy, though, for sure.
Running backs (3): Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Quinn Porter.
Comments: As I’ve said before, if James Starks is healthy, this spot is set. His hamstring just isn’t healing, though, and I think he’s headed for injured reserve. Porter and Kregg Lumpkin are battling to a near deadlock, as of now, but Lumpkin’s injury and the fact that the team really seems to like Porter’s potential gives Porter the nod by a hair.
Fullbacks (2): John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson.
Comments: Kuhn has been getting some reps at running back recently, due to the team’s injury issues there. He hasn’t been terrible and is far too valuable in goalline spots to be let go. Johnson, while still raw, is very powerful and provides a change of pace as Kuhn and Korey Hall are, essentially, the same player. That earns him a spot.�
Wide receivers (5): Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Brett Swain.
Comments: I think Charles Dillon has some intrigue to him, but Swain’s been around a lot longer and provides some special teams value. That gives him the nod, though I expect Dillon to be a practice squad guy. Not much else to say about this group, right?
Tight ends (4): Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee, Andrew Quarless, Spencer Havner.
Comments: Truth be told, if I were in charge, I’d look to trade Lee. He’s had a bounce back camp and could bring help elsewhere. That won’t happen, though, so I’ve gone with these four. Tom Crabtree is tough and has some upside, but not enough to warrant a spot. Practice squad? You bet.
Offensive line (9): Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Scott Wells, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, Daryn Colledge, T.J. Lang, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Marshall Newhouse.
Comments: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein reported over the weekend that the Packers could very well be showcasing Jason Spitz for a potential trade. As of now, I’m guessing that happens (hopefully getting an outside linebacker or defensive lineman in return). In that case, Colledge – as much as he drives me insane – sticks. Dietrich-Smith then takes over Spitz’s spot for the backups. After Saturday night’s abysmal showing, I’m ready to pull the plug on Breno Giacomini. Boy, it’d sure be nice to have the emerging Jamon Meredith on this roster still, wouldn’t it?
Defensive line (7): Cullen Jenkins, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal, Justin Harrell, Anthony Torribo, Jarius Wynn.
Comments: This team has to keep seven here, in my mind, especially when you consider that everyone outside of the three starters are complete unknowns (even Neal, as much as we all like his potential). In that case, it’s best to take a “Safety in Numbers” approach, although this position could look different in the event of a Spitz trade. Torribo is quietly putting together a solid camp and Wynn earns the nod over C.J. Wilson strictly because he’s been in the system a year longer. Wilson’s a practice squad lock, however.
Linebackers (8): Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Brandon Chillar, Desmond Bishop, Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Brady Poppinga, Frank Zombo.
Comments: The first seven are pretty much expected, but the eighth name may come as a surprise. Zombo was battling some injuries early in camp, but has really come on strong in the past two weeks. He showed some flashes against Cleveland before being really good, for the most part, against Seattle. That gives him the nod over Cyril Obiozor, who hasn’t done much for me. This position is also subject to change in the event a player is added here in a Spitz trade.
Cornerbacks (6): Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Al Harris, Brandon Underwood, Pat Lee, Sam Shields.
Comments: Lock this up: No PUP list for Harris. He’ll be out there as the nickel against Philadelphia in week one. In that case, the team is set up pretty nicely at this position as Underwood and Lee will be the fourth and fifth corners, giving each time to learn things a bit slower. Shields is wretched as a returner, but has some real potential as a corner. That spells the end for Jarrett Bush (I’ll give you a minute to rejoice).
Safeties (4); Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, Derrick Martin, Will Blackmon.
Comments: Atari Bigby’s going to be placed on the PUP list any second now, but I still think the Packers can get by with four at this spot. While he’s still learning the position, Blackmon can make plays, when healthy, and should be okay as the all-purpose backup for Collins and Burnett. Martin is a horrible safety, but an ace special teamer, something this team needs badly. Charlie Peprah doesn’t make it; he does nothing for me.
Specialists (3): Mason Crosby, Chris Bryan, Brett Goode.
Comments: While no clear winner has emerged between Bryan and Tim Masthay, Bryan’s got more upside as he’s been able to do some things in camp, in terms of directional kicking. If he can develop that, he could become a nice weapon for the special teams unit. That gives him a spot over Masthay. Crosby’s getting better and Goode’s been, well, good (I wait every training camp to make that joke!).
Obviously, this thing could change quite a bit in some spots over the next couple of weeks, but for now, I feel good about how this looks.
What say you, OBOD readers? Comment, baby, comment!