After making us wait roughly 90 minutes longer than they should have – the cuts should have been announced shortly after 5 p.m. Lambeau Time – the Green Bay Packers have finally released their 53-man roster.
First, we’ll list the guys who didn’t make it (should we do a moment of silence? Nah). Comments on the roster will follow:
- Punter Chris Bryan, tight end Spencer Havner, center/guard Evan Dietrich-Smith, quarterback Graham Harrell, defensive end Jarius Wynn, tackle Breno Giacomini, outside linebacker Cyril Obiozor, running back Kregg Lumpkin, linebacker Robert Francois, wide receiver Jason Cherry, wide receiver Charles Dillon, wide receiver Patrick Williams, wide receiver Chastin West, cornerback D.J. Clark, tackle Chris Campbell, linebacker Alex Joseph, safety Anthony Levine, linebacker Maurice Simpkins. defensive end Ronald Talley and nose tackle Anthony Toribio.
- In addition, tackle Allen Barbre and cornerback/safety Will Blackmon have been placed on Injured Reserve. Some reported earlier Saturday that both will be released after reaching injury settlements, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Okay, so here are my thoughts on all of this (in some rambling form of order):
- The biggest surprises, obviously, in the cuts are the releases of Havner and Dietrich-Smith.
- First, Havner. I’ve got to say I was stunned here. Havner played a key special teams role (doesn’t this team always talk up guys who do this?) and was developing as a receiver. Apparently, the Packers just liked Tom Crabtree’s upside. He’s been getting a lot of special teams work lately and will likely serve as the blocking tight end, with Andrew Quarless filling the No. 3 receiving tight end spot. When I looked at it that way, it made sense. Crabtree’s a better blocker and Quarless is – or will quickly become – a better receiver. If you’re going to keep four there anyways, the respective strengths of those two are better than what Havner could provide.
- As for Dietrich-Smith, I was certain the team would deal Jason Spitz at some point during the day. The Packers didn’t get a good enough offer, from the sounds of it, and if that’s the case, yeah, I can see why they kept Spitz. He’s the better player (when healthy). The team now has the most depth its had at the position in years.
- I really think this team should have kept Lumpkin. Remember, the Packers are now one injury away from John Kuhn seeing significant time at running back. That worry you at all? It does for me.
- Speaking of worries, the Packers are going to roll the dice on the defensive line with two rookies (Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson) and a massive injury risk (Justin Harrell) as the backups. They should have kept seven there.
- As for the Barbre/Blackmon moves, neither is a surprise. Barbre was gone after the team drafted Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse. That was clear. Blackmon’s knee is still not well yet and the team must have been wondering if he’d ever be able to really help the squad. My best guess: Brandon Jackson returns kicks and Tramon Williams returns punts.
- Not shocked about Giacomini. All sizzle, no steak. He may develop somewhere else, but after three training camps with the team, he just didn’t appear to have it. Green Bay couldn’t afford to waste any more time developing him.
- Sort of the same story with Obiozor and Wynn. This was their second camp with the team; neither had shown enough to warrant making it.
- We all loved Bryan at the start of camp, but he faded fast over the last couple of weeks. Tim Masthay’s a better option, although I’m not sure that’s saying much.
- Toribio and Cherry each had chances to crack the team Thursday night and flat out blew it.
- Harrell, Dillon and Joseph should return via the practice squad. Each showed enough at various times to warrant that.
- Three undrafted rookies – Frank Zombo, Nick McDonald and Sam Shields – made the roster. Shows how sharp Green Bay’s scouting department is.
- Not much to say about the rest. May they fare well in the future.
- Could the Packers make another move or two in the coming days? I wouldn’t be surprised, but the roster appears to be set more than it has in recent years.
- Finally, in case you’re wondering, here’s the roster breakdown: 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 3 FBs, 4 TEs, 5 WRs, 10 OL, 6 DL, 8 LBs, 6 CBs, 4 Ss and 3 specialists.
Thanks for being able to deal with my bullet-point insanity.