31

August

A Running List of Green Bay Packers Final Cuts

The Green Bay Packers have made their first moves to cut down their roster to the 53 man mark to open the regular season.

The following players have been released so far according to various reports and sources.  Any reported cuts will not show up here, however, if not reported by a verified member of the media following the Green Bay Packers:

S Anthony Levine

C Sampson Genus

WR Tori Gurley

WR Diondre Borel

TE Brandon Bostick

FB Nic Cooper

C/G Tommie Draheim

G Reggie Wells

WR Curenski Gilleylen

T Andrew Datko

OL Shea Allard

WR Dale Moss

WR Shaky Smithson (injury settlement)

DE Lawrence Guy

CB Otis Merrill

OL Greg Van Roten

RB Marc Tyler

DE Daniel Muir

QB BJ Coleman

OT Derek Sherrod (PUP)

LB Vic So ‘oto (IR)

Currently these represent 18 of the 22 cuts Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers have to make by 9PM EST today to trim their roster down to 53. As soon as the other cuts are knowm you can be sure we’ll have them here. So be sure to stay on AllGreenBayPackers.com to keep updated as the Packers make their final roster moves before the regular season begins.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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20

January

Packers Sign AFL QB Nick Hill, All 8 from Practice Squad

The Packers signed star AFL quarterback Nick Hill Friday.

Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers announced the signings of nine different players, including all eight on the practice squad and former Arena Football League quarterback Nick Hill.

Thompson brought back the eight players that ended the season on the practice squad, which includes T Chris Campbell, FB Jon Hoese, C Sampson Genus, WR Diondre Borel, WR Tori Gurley, DL Johnny Jones, S Anthony Levine and CB Brandian Ross.

The first move from outside the organization was the signing of Hill, who last season played for the Orlando Predators and tossed 97 touchdowns in 16 games. He made his entrance into the NFL in the summer of 2008, when the Chicago Bears signed the undrafted quarterback from Southern Illinois in May. Chicago released Hill (6-3, 215) in July of that year. At Southern Illinois, Hill set school records for passing yards, touchdowns and completions during his senior year.

Hill throws left-handed and will wear No. 17.

While looking into roster moves made in January doesn’t mean much for down the road, bringing in Hill is just the latest sign on a long list that says free agent quarterback Matt Flynn is leaving Green Bay this offseason. Most expect Flynn to receive offers from several teams this summer to be their starting quarterback. I wouldn’t guess that Hill is the last quarterback that the Packers bring in to compete for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.

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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 AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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31

October

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.

3

September

Green Bay Packers Roster Cuts: QB Graham Harrell and G Nick McDonald Released

The Green Bay Packers continue to make cuts in a day-long effort to get their roster to the league-mandated 53-man limit.

Quarterback Graham Harrell and guard/center Nick McDonald headline the most recent cuts the Packers have made.

Harrell was holding down the Packers third quarterback job, but it looks like the team will keep just two on the active roster again in 2011. The Packers will likely attempt to bring Harrell back for a second stint on the practice squad, but he could be claimed by another franchise. Harrell showed flashes this preseason and many thought he had the potential of sticking on the Packers roster. If he is claimed, the Packers will have no alternatives for a No. 3 quarterback, and backup Matt Flynn could leave after 2011 in free agency.

McDonald was an undrafted free agent in 2010 who impressed coaches during his first professional season. A year later, however, it was clear McDonald hadn’t made the necessary improvements and was struggling to grasp the center position. His play Thursday against the Chiefs, in which he airmailed a snap that resulted in a safety and had a false start penalty, was likely his last straw. McDonald still has practice squad eligibility, despite sticking on the Packers 53-man roster for the entire 2010 season. He wasn’t active for a single game and the limit is nine. He could still stick.

Here are more recent cuts:

S Anthony Levine: He had a good shot at making the team but suffered a freak accident that forced him out of action with a concussion. It’s just a guess, but I think Levine makes the team with a full camp and preseason.

WR/KR Shaky Smithson: Expectations were too high for Smithson, who just never possessed the kind of speed to be an impact returner. His botched punt against the Chiefs sealed his fate.

 

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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 AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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1

September

Packers vs Chiefs: Things to Watch In Green Bay’s Preseason Finale

The Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs will close out their preseason schedules Thursday, with the Chiefs traveling to Lambeau Field in a rematch of each team’s 2010 preseason finale. The Chiefs won that game at Arrowhead Stadium, 17-14.

As was the case when these two met last August, the Chiefs come in to the game 0-3 in preseason play. The Packers were also 2-1 heading into their finale in 2010.

These two teams play in Week 15 of the regular season in Kansas City.

Here are some things to watch between the Packers and Chiefs Thursday:

Secondary Blues

Backups in the Packers secondary haven’t played well in three preseason games. Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush have been picked on at times, culminating with the touchdown pass Bush gave up against Curtis Painter in Indianapolis. Both Bush and Lee have struggled finding the football in man coverage, and Lee gets lost sometimes in zone.

The two got a chance to face a starting NFL quarterback in Colt McCoy in Week 1 of the preseason, and he roasted the pair to the tune of 135 yards, one touchdown and just one incompletion in 10 attempts. In the finale, they should get another chance with Matt Cassel. It’s important these two, and especially Lee, start making strides. Another tough outing could spell the end to Lee’s career with the Packers.

Ones vs. Twos

Packers coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t announced anything yet, but it’s widely assumed most of the Packers starters will get the night off Thursday as the team prepares to face the Saints just a week after their preseason finale. McCarthy sat the starters last year at Arrowhead and the Packers weren’t playing the league’s first game of the season.

That’s not the case in Kansas City, where coach Todd Haley said he’ll get most of his starters a good chunk of playing time. How much exactly wasn’t announced by Haley either. Regardless, Haley’s decision should get some of the Packers backup players valuable experience against a starting team that won the AFC West last season. You really can’t beat that from an evaluation standpoint. It’ll help both McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson get a gauge on where some of the second-stringers are and which should make the Packers final 53-man roster.

In the Trenches

26

July

Packers Sign Delaware Safety Anthony Bratton

The Green Bay Packers signed Delaware safety Anthony Bratton Monday night, their fourth confirmed undrafted free agent pickup of the 2011 offseason.

Bratton visited the Packers before April’s NFL draft, along with fellow Delaware safety Anthony Walters. He signed with the Chicago Bears.

At Delaware’s pro day, Bratton ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 and 4.50 seconds, and bench-pressed 225 pounds 15 times. He had a vertical leap of 37 inches and a 20-yard shuffle time of 4.09 seconds. Bratton stands 6-1 and weighs 215 pounds.

College summary

Bratton saw the field in all four of his years at Delaware, as he took over one of the starting safety positions in just his sophomore year. That season (’07), Bratton delivered a team-high 73 solo tackles and was second on the team with 103 total stops.

His ’08 season was lost to a torn ACL after just one game, but Bratton came back in ’09 with a second-team All-CAA performance where he led the team with four interceptions. Bratton then turned in a first team All-CAA season last year, helping the Blue Hens possess the best pass defense and total defense in the conference and the best scoring defense in the nation. He also had two interceptions and 66 tackles his senior season.

Commentary

I was high on Anthony Walters, his safety running mate at Delaware, but both Bratton and Walters are underrated players moving forward.

The Packers are likely losing much of their depth at the safety position, so a guy like Bratton stands a decent shot at making the roster or landing on the practice squad. Anthony Levine is a candidate to move from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, which would leave a theoretical opening for Bratton to grab in camp. But he could make the 53-man roster too, as the Packers already let go of Derrick Martin and may not re-sign free agents such as Atari Bigby or Anthony Smith.

And even though Bratton comes from a smaller school, I like his physical traits and experience in a secondary. It appears he can run and isn’t afraid to play near the line of scrimmage, but his three years of starting experience at Delaware might make him an interesting guy to watch in Packers camp.

18

July

Bringing in the Cavalry: A Look at the Packers Injured Reserve

Ryan Grant Injury - Packers injured reserved

Ryan Grant's injury against the Philadelphia Eagles was one of the biggest blows to the offense last season.

With the NFL lockout well into its fourth month now, there has been ample talk of which teams will fare better with a limited offseason. One of those teams, of course, is the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. But it’s not their championship status that has people convinced they’ll be ready. No, most people point to the (now cliché) fact that they have “16 players returning from injured reserve.”

While this is certainly the case, I started thinking about this claim a little more in depth. I wondered: Will all sixteen of those players really be making a difference?

Sure, guys like Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant will have a HUGE impact upon their return. But what about a guy like Spencer Havner or even Brady Poppinga? What are they really going to be bringing back to the table?

Here’s a quick look at each player that ended up injured reserve last year and what their potential impact will be upon their return. They are ordered by the date of their injuries:

Josh Bell, CB

Type of Injury: Foot Sprain
When Injured:
Training Camp (August 10, 2010)
Impact for 2011:
None – The Packers offered Bell an injury settlement during camp, which he refused. After the Super Bowl ring controversy in June, it’s clear the team plans to go on without him next season.

#91 Justin Harrell, DE

Type of Injury: Knee (ACL)
When Injured:
Week 1 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Impact for 2011:
Questionable – Harrell could actually be a big influence on the 2011 season; however, one still has to be cautious with his downright unlucky injury history. If Harrell can manage to stay active for more than a game, then he might be able to do some damage along the line. We all know how big of an “if” that is, though.

#25 Ryan Grant, RB

Type of Injury: Ankle
When Injured:
Week 1 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Impact for 2011:
High – There’s no question that the Packers severely missed their primary running back for most of last season. Brandon Jackson just couldn’t get the job done, and James Starks, while showing a lot of promise, is still young and relatively inexperienced. Grant will provide some much-needed consistency to the ground game, even if he is splitting carries with Starks.