Category Archives: 2011 Preseason



Source: Packers Likey To Activate WR Tori Gurley Soon

According to a source, Gurley will be promoted to the Packers' active roster soon.

According to a source close to the situation, the Green Bay Packers are working on promoting rookie receiver Tori Gurley from the practice squad to the active roster in the coming days.

The source, speaking on terms of anonymity, said that the Packers are working on a deal to pay him money in the range of an active player. Combined with Greg Jennings’ injury that will keep him out 2-3 weeks, there’s a good chance that the Packers could activate Gurley sometime before Green Bay takes on the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.

Gurley had an extended talk with both quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coaching staff on Monday and came away from the meetings encouraged about the upcoming situation, the source said. That would help explain Gurley’s tweet about an hour before McCarthy’s press conference on Monday that said “God works in mysterious ways ;- ) Go Pack Go.”

The source also said that another team was in talks to claim Gurley off the Packers practice squad. The team wasn’t named, but that likely helped give Gurley even more leverage to get onto the active roster.

To make room for Gurley, it is possible that the Packers will put Vic So’oto, a rookie linebacker who has dealt with a recurring back issue throughout the season, on season-ending injured reserve. Chad Clifton is another option for IR, but McCarthy said on Monday that they still have hope for his return this season. Either way, the Packers will have to trim their current roster by one if they plan to make room for Gurley.

An undrafted free agent from South Carolina, Gurley has impressed coaches and fellow players throughout the season. When asked earlier in the year, many of the veteran players had nothing but glowing reviews for Gurley and his play-making ability. Gurley made a name for himself on the punt unit during the preseason, blocking several kicks.


Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on




Packers Promote RB Brandon Saine from Practice Squad

The Green Bay Packers signed rookie running back Brandon Saine from the practice squad to the 53-man roster after placing fellow rookie back Alex Green on IR, GM Ted Thompson announced Monday. The Packers also signed safety Anthony Levine and offensive lineman Paul Fenaroll to the practice squad and Cecil Newton was released.

The need for promoting Saine arose when Green tore his ACL in the first quarter of the Packers 33-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7. The injury occured when Randall Cobb tripped into the back of Green’s legs during a kick return. Mike McCarthy announced last Monday that Green would be lost for the season.

A third-round pick from Hawaii, Green had just three carries for 11 yards and one catch for six yards in limited snaps this season. Depending on when surgery for the injury occurs, Green should be a full-go for 2012.

Saine (5-11, 220) was signed as an undrafted free agent on July 28 and won himself a spot on the Packers practice squad by rushing for 51 yards during the preseason. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection at Ohio State his senior year. He will wear No. 33.

While Green saw limited playing time in the Packers offense, Saine will likely receive less. Green Bay needed an extra running back on the roster, mostly because John Kuhn, who can fill in as an emergency back, is the team’s lone fullback. Expect to see Saine on special teams duty only.

Levine (5-11, 200) returns to the Packers practice squad after being released on Sept. 3. He spent the first 18 games of 2010 on the practice squad but was released during final cut downs this season. He will wear No. 34. It’s safe to say that Levine is over a concussion issue that forced him to miss precious training camp and preseason time this August. He’ll provide emergency depth at safety, a position that has been stretched thin by Nick Collins’ injury.

Fenaroll (6-2, 300) was released by the Atlanta Falcons during final cut downs after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He was a three-year starter at Stony Brook and was named All-Big South in each of his final two seasons. He will wear No. 64. After releasing Newton—Cam’s older brother—the Packers needed another body on the offensive line. Fenaroll is that guy for the time being.



Packers Send Nick Collins to IR; Ray Dominguez Elevated to 53-Man Roster

The Green Bay Packers finally placed injured safety Nick Collins (neck) on IR Wednesday, as the Packers used his vacated roster spot to elevate G/T Ray Dominguez from the practice squad to bolster an offensive line that has been ravaged by injuries.

Collins, a three-time All-Pro, was hurt in Week 2 against the Panthers as he attempted to make a tackle on Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart. He had successful fusion surgery to repair the injury but his season was ruled over by team physicians.

The Packers waited to put Collins on IR until now, as GM Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy attempted to find a hole in the roster that needed filling. Chad Clifton’s hamstring injury last Sunday against the Falcons eventually forced the Packers hand. Coupled with an inactive Bryan Bulaga (knee), the Packers went through the rest of the Falcons game with only six healthy offensive lineman.

Instead of rolling the dice once more with that situation, the Packers promoted Dominguez, an undrafted rookie from Arkansas who can play both inside and at tackle. Dominguez (6-4, 334) had a shaky preseason and training camp but continued to show improvement, which prompted the Packers to retain him on the practice squad after the final cuts were made.

McCarthy said on Wednesday that Dominguez would “primarily play inside,” which doesn’t rule out the possibility of playing tackle but suggests that he’ll get most of his reps at guard. Either way, Dominguez is there for depth purposes.

Bulaga also returned to practice on Wednesday, which is an encouraging sign for his health this week and moving forward. With Clifton out, the Packers are welcoming his return, despite how well both Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod played in their respective roles in Atlanta. The Packers mixed and matched the three at various positions on Wednesday, making it unclear what the plan is for St. Louis. If Bulaga is healthy, however, I’d guess that he remains on the right side while Newhouse starts at left tackle. Sherrod would then be the backup at right tackle should either of those two go down.


Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.



Packers: Bryan Bulaga Misses Friday Practice, Marshall Newhouse Likely to Start at RT

Green Bay Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle, knee) was a no-show at Friday practice, which would seem to indicate that second-year player Marshall Newhouse will get his second career NFL start at right tackle on Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday that Bulaga’s playing status for Sunday was riding on whether or not he go during today’s practice.

This came from McCarthy’s post-practice press conference yesterday:

“If (Bulaga) doesn’t practice tomorrow he’s not going to play. That’s where we are with Bryan. He’ll see the doctor tomorrow morning, just like we always do.”

If we are to believe McCarthy at his word, and there’s no reason not to, then Bulaga will be inactive on Sunday night and Newhouse will start.

You would have considered an injury to one of the tackles as a catastrophic break heading into the season, but Newhouse has been better than expected in the two games he’s appeared. The Packers weren’t forced to deviate their offensive gameplan in Chicago after Bulaga left with ankle and knee injuries, and the two sacks that Von Miller created last week didn’t fall directly on Newhouse’s shoulders. Newhouse was beat on one, but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did him no favors by running into the sack. On the other, a blown screen play resulted in an easy take down of Rodgers after the Broncos diagnosed the screen.

Newhouse will get another tall task on Sunday, as the Falcons can throw veteran pass rushers John Abraham and Ray Edwards at him on the right side. When the Packers lineup in three- and four-wide sets, or obvious passing downs, it’s likely that Atlanta will want Abraham against Newhouse.

Needless to say, it’s a matchup worth watching this weekend. Rodgers was Houdini in the pocket in January against the Falcons when he threw for over 360 yards and had four total scores, and he might need to be that clever again Sunday night with Bulaga missing his second straight contest.

UPDATE: McCarthy ruled out Bulaga for Sunday during his Friday press conference.


Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on



Packing the Stats: 2011 Week 1 Pass Defense

After week 1, every fan has the right to be optimistic.  Fans of winning teams will instantly project the same success to the next 16 weeks, fans of losing teams will console themselves that its only one game and fans of teams that got blown out will delude themselves into thinking that their team is the next 2003 Patriots, who got skunked 31-0 by the Buffalo Bills only to finish 14-2 and win the Super Bowl.

Packers fans can count themselves lucky to be part of the 1st group after a thrilling win against the New Orleans Saints but amidst the victory, questions arose. The Packers game up an astounding 477 total yards with Drew Brees shredding the Packers secondary for 398 yards.  Will this be an issue in games to come or just a result of playing one of best quarterbacks along with one of the most powerful  passing offenses in the NFL?

In my opinion no. Take a look at the statistics

Date Points TY R/A RY RTD
2010 Avg Tm/G 22.00 336.00 27.20 114.50 0.80
2010 Week 1 Avg Team 18.25 311.25 26.31 105.72 0.66
2011 Week 1 Avg Team 23.50 350.30 25.60 105.30 0.70
Difference 5.25 39.05 0.71 0.42 0.04
2010 Week 1 League Total 584.00 9,960.00 842.00 3,383.00 21.00
2011 Week 1 League Total 752.00 11,211.00 818.00 3,369.00 21.00
Difference 168.00 1,251.00 24.00 14.00 0.00


2010 Avg Tm/G 20.50 33.70 221.60 1.50 1.00
2010 Week 1 Avg Team 21.06 34.28 219.94 1.22 0.84
2011 Week 1 Avg Team 21.40 34.90 245.10 1.70 0.80
Difference 0.34 0.62 25.16 0.48 0.04
2010 Week 1 League Total 674.00 1,097.00 7,038.00 39.00 27.00
2011 Week 1 League Total 685.00 1,116.00 7,842.00 54.00 24.00
Difference 11.00 19.00 804.00 15.00 3.00

Abbreviations: TY: total yards, R/A: rushing attempts, RY: rushing yards, RTD: rushing touchdowns, P/C: passes completed, P/A: passes attempted, PY: passing yards, PTD: passing TD, INT: interception



Despite Slow Start, James Jones Still a Weapon for Packers

Don't give up on James Jones just yet.

Packers WR James Jones didn’t see much action Thursday Night against the Saints.  Does this mean the Packers don’t need him or won’t use him?

It reminds me of a guy I know who has a basement full of weapons. Guns, ammo, knives, night-vision goggles, explosives, flares, etc., etc. If you hear of  something blowing up and creating a giant hole, it’s likely in his basement.

I always chuckle when I’m at his house. If you go downstairs to get a beer, chances are good that you’ll have to step over an AK-47 or a giant tub full of bullets the size of your arm to gain access to the fridge. People’s reactions to these weapons differ. Some are fascinated, some are frightened, some wonder why he has so many and some don’t know what to think.

It’s the same with the Packers WRs. There are so many weapons, that people get overwhelmed, probably even the WRs themselves.

James Jones is probably the one overwhelmed right now. He was only targeted once on Thursday night while everyone else seemed to get all kinds of opportunities, even if they weren’t open.

People are wondering why the Packers bothered to resign Jones in the offseason. They just drafted Randall Cobb. Jordy Nelson appears ready for a breakout season and Jermichael Finley was returning. Why did the Packers need to spend over $9 million on Jones, a player that causes just as much frustration as he does excitement?

I’ve always liked Jones and probably give him more love than he deserves, but I’m glad the Packers resigned him and I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

While the rest of the roster has dropped like flies, Packers WRs have been abnormally healthy. Jennings hasn’t missed a game since 2007. Nelson missed three games in 2009, but has otherwise stayed on the field; and Driver has only missed three games since becoming a full-time starter in 2002.

If the Packers luck on keeping their WRs healthy runs out, someone is going to have to fill in. Like Frank Zombo, Charlie Peprah and Jackson/Kuhn/Starks were at various positions last season, Jones is an ideal depth guy at WR and could adequately replace one of the other guys (speaking of health, Jones has only missed six games in his career).



Packers Transactions: The Graham Harrell Story

As a staff writer at, I did my own 53 man roster prediction and as I said at the beginning of that article, I am wondering what the hell I was thinking now.

I thought Chastin West and Tori Gurley had too good of a preseason and one of them would make it onto the team as the 6th wide receiver; neither made the team (but both were signed to the practice squad).  I thought Caleb Schlauderaff would make the team based on his draft status and the lack of depth of the interior offensive line; he was traded to the Jets, but not before being informed that he was going to get cut anyways. Finally I thought Graham Harrell would definitely make the team.

With West, Gurley, Schlauderaff, I wasn’t all that surprised that thing hadn’t turned out the way I predicted; but with Harrell it just didn’t make any sense.  Harrell was supposed to be the insurance policy for an Aaron Rodgers concussion and a Matt Flynn trade.  He had a memorable win against the Colts in week 3 of the preseason and had a good enough training camp that many (including myself) assumed he was good enough to be a backup with the majority of teams.

So when Graham Harrell was first cut by the Packers, then cleared waivers and then re-signed to their practice squad, I met each event with a little disbelief.  How could someone who looked so good at football’s toughest position in the preseason not only get cut, but also not even get claimed?  I would look at the San Francisco 49ers depth chart and wonder, how could Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick be so bad during the preseason and still be on the team, but why no love for Graham Harrell?  What had happened?

My only conclusion was that every other fan, the media and myself had got overzealous.  During the Ted Thompson era, we’ve come to expect a ridiculous amount of depth at all positions.  One prime example was that last year 5 players, an inordinate amount, were signed to 53 man rosters after getting cut by the Packers. (ironically this year no players were claimed by other teams after being cut by the Packers)  Fans and the media a like love to tell stories of how unheralded backups up stepped up and helped win Super Bowl XLV.  But really, in the free agency era, it simply isn’t possible to stockpile good players; there simply isn’t enough money.