Saturday, August 31, 2013

Packers 53-Man Roster: The Surprises

The Green Bay Packers have set (for the moment) their 53-man roster. Here are the players who were released and here are the players who made it. Some of the released players will be back once the Packers set-up their practice squad while some of the players who did make it might not stay for long, depending on what the waiver wire holds.

The Surprising Players Who Made It

WR Jeremy Ross and Jarrett Boykin. Both players got off to a slow start, but finished strong (as strong as anyone on a punchless offense). It also helped that none of the other receivers stepped up.

OL Greg Van Roten, Lane Taylor, and Marshall Newhouse. Van Roten improved his snapping at center and he brings the ability to play any position on the line. I don't know what the coaches see in Taylor, who probably wouldn't have made it without the injuries to Bulaga, Tretter and Sherrod. I'm not sure how much faith the coaches have in Newhouse, but he brings experience to a very inexperienced unit.

TE Ryan Taylor and Brandon Bostick. Nothing against each player, they both played well considering the overall weak offense, but I'm surprised they moved ahead of D.J. Williams.

RB Johnathan Franklin and James Starks. Franklin has a lot to learn and his blitz pickup is awful, I didn't expect him to be such a project when they drafted him, but 4th round picks aren't usually released after one preseason. Also, he helped himself out by making some plays on special teams. Starks ran hard against the Chiefs and finished the preseason strong.

NT Josh Boyd. Another recent draft choice, 5th round, who might have been saved by his draft selection because I didn't see him making any notable plays.

OLB Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer. Palmer had his status as a draft pick to help him after an up-and-down preseason. He made a couple plays but also looked overwhelmed at times. Mulumba was one of the stars in training camp, so despite a late preseason injury, he made the team ahead of last season's training camp star Dezman Moses.

ILB Jamari Lattimore. I thought he had a rough preseason, just a step behind too many plays, but Terrell Manning didn't do enough to move ahead of him.

FS Chris Banjo. He played very well but it's unusual to see a player signed so close to the start of training camp make the roster.

The Surprising Players Who Were Released

QB Vince Young. He didn't do anything on the field to keep a job, but it looked like he was the man after they released Graham Harrell. Now GM Ted Thompson will try Plan C at backup QB, assuming he's checking on backup QBs (hopefully not named Tim Tebow) who were just released.

RB Alex Green. I thought he was a lock after DuJuan Harris was lost for the season, but the Packers chose Starks over Green. Other than one big run, he didn't do much to earn a roster spot this preseason, and he didn't stand out on special teams either.

TE Matthew Mulligan and D.J. Williams. I thought Mulligan was a lock as the designated blocking TE but a preseason injury might have cost him. I'm not sure what Williams did to fall behind both Bostick and Taylor but Williams might be more of a glorified receiver while Taylor is a bigger help on special teams (backup long snapper) and Bostick has more size.

WR Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey. The Packers don't usually release their recent draft choices, even 7th round picks. Early training camp injuries cost them and the useless offense didn't give them any chance to shine. I bet both players will get another shot somewhere else.

WR Tyrone Walker and Myles White. Both undrafted free agents looked good at times but they both had some problems holding onto the ball. They both fumbled on their last drive against the Chiefs. It's almost impossible to keep a roster spot for a receiver if they fumble.

OL Patrick Lewis and Andrew Datko. I had high hopes for both players but they both were consistently overpowered against backup pass rushers.

DL Jordan Miller. He made some plays as a pass rusher but he didn't seem to hold up that well against the run. Also, he got caught in a bit of a numbers game as he wasn't better than any other lineman except Boyd (who holds up better against the run) and Datone Jones (who's struggling with an ankle injury).

OLB Dezman Moses. He had a turf toe injury and just didn't make plays like last preseason. I'm sure they'd have like to give him more time to bounce back but that wasn't possible.

ILB Terrell Manning. I really thought that their 2012 5th round pick would have a big preseason, and instead he had trouble shedding blocks and didn't make enough plays to move ahead of Lattimore. If he had more of an impact on special teams, the entire unit struggled against the Chiefs, maybe the Packers would have opened up a 10th linebacker spot for him.

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