Monday, September 07, 2015

Packers Beat Saints On Thursday and Set Their 53 Man Roster on Saturday

Few projected starters took the field for the Green Bay Packers last Thursday against the Saints, and those that did see the field like DE Mike Daniels weren't there for long. It was the QB Brett Hundley show again as the Packers have found a NFL starting QB in the 5th round but I'm not sure if anyone played well enough on Thursday to have changed the team's mind.
WR Ty Montgomery didn't take the field against the Saints which looked like a sign that he had the No. 3 job locked up, that was until the Giants released WR James Jones. He hasn't been gone for long and should step right back in. Plus he's been working this year with former Packer coach Ben McAdoo in New York. Though Janis catches a TD pass in almost every preseason game, he also vanishes for stretches and does drop a pass or two. White is a handy emergency receiver who's familiar with the system but he has either a drop or penalty in every game. I love Abbrederis's game, but he had a fumble in his only preseason game played (ball security in the preseason is huge) and he hasn't been healthy over the last two years.

They keep nine offensive lineman. OL Don Barclay and Josh Walker led everyone in snaps played this preseason, but neither of them was very good. At times, as many as four starting lineman were out with injuries, so this might have to do more with keeping depth than quality.

RB Alonzo Harris stays, RB Rajion Neal is released. I'm a little surprise that either of them were kept. It had to help Harris that he's a big guy, he out weighs Lacy, and McCarthy generally prefers size and power.

They keep five defensive lineman. This could become a seven man rotation after DE Datone Jones and DT Letroy Guion finish their suspensions but they won't have much depth for their first game. Despite being a 3rd round pick, Thornton never did show much (though he was never terrible either) and his release isn't a big surprise. I'm not sure how DT Josh Boyd has kept his job, the Saints shoved him all over the place in the 1st quarter, but he'll be part of the rotation in 2015. Hopefully Pennel and Gaston play bigger roles during the regular season than Boyd.

They keep nine linebackers. I'm a little surprised to see LB Nate Palmer survived the transition to inside backer while wearing a club on his broken hand, but his rivals (like Carl Bradford) never surpassed him. LB James Vaughters had a nice preseason and it would be good to see him back, and LB Joe Thomas (though he's too small) is another quality player, though neither brings something that they don't currently have on the roster from another player. I hope they find a role for rookie 4th round LB Jake Ryan during the regular season.

They'll have three rookie cornerbacks on the 53-man roster. CB Ladarius Gunter was the surprise of the preseason and it's not at all to see him make the roster in addition to their two top draft choices, who both struggled as the preseason wrapped up. They really needed someone like Gunter to emerge because they lost three veteran CBs this offseason (Williams, House, Bush) and they needed replacements. Who'll be that 3rd CB, someone who occasionally lines up outside in place of Shields or Hayward? Gunter deserves the job on merit but it's not clear he's actually moved ahead of either Russell or Rollins so far.

It's a pretty deep roster and while WR Jordy Nelson's loss casts a shadow over the preseason, he's the only player currently on the I.R. In recent years, the Packers have sometimes had several players on the I.R. to start the season, so Nelson's injury is huge but overall the roster is in good health. Compare that to their first opponent, the Bears, who have five players on I.R. right now. It does seem like Aaron Rodgers is correct and the preseason is too long, especially that fourth game that probably changed their roster little, but I don't see how that would have avoided Nelson's knee injury. Bring on the Bears!

No comments: