20

September

Packers News: Team adds James Nixon to practice squad

Packers CB James Nixon

Packers CB James Nixon

On Wednesday, the Oakland Raiders signed cornerback Brandian Ross to their 53-man roster. And today, the Packers have filled Ross’s spot on the practice squad with another cornerback.

James Nixon, an undrafted rookie cornerback, joined the team and joins Lawrence Guys as the Packers’ only two defensive players on their eight-man practice squad. Nixon started out his collegiate career at Temple, before transferring to California University of Pennsylvania for his senior season.

However, Nixon only made two starts at cornerback his senior season, as the coaching staff shuffled him all over the field, playing defensive back, running back, wide receiver and special teams.

Nixon, listed at 6’1″ 190, has great size for the position. He played some running back and wide receiver at Temple, and he ran a blazing 4.31 forty-yard dash at his pro day. After spending a couple seasons at Temple as a running back/wide receiver hybrid, Nixon switched to defensive back for the Owls.

Ted Thompson chose to sign Nixon instead of adding wide receiver Tori Gurley, who was recently waived by the Minnesota Vikings. The addition of Nixon gives the Packers 11 defensive backs.

——————

Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

——————

19

September

Packers News: Raiders sign Brandian Ross from practice squad

Former Packers CB Brandian Ross

Former Packers CB Brandian Ross

When the Packers’ 53-man roster was released, one of the surprising “keeps” was cornerback Brandian Ross.

A second-year undrafted player out of Youngstown State, Ross put together a solid training camp and impressed the coaching staff enough to keep him on the roster as the 11th member of the secondary. However, he only lasted one week on the 53-man roster, as he was demoted to the practice squad once outside linebacker Erik Walden was reinstated by the league.

Following Walden’s reinstatement, Ross cleared waivers, which allowed the Packers to bring him back to the practice squad on Sept. 12.

Ross will join Reggie McKenzie and former Packer cornerback Pat Lee in a beat up Raiders’ secondary. Buried on the depth chart with the Packers, Ross will surely have a better opportunity at playing time in Oakland. With starters Ron Bartell and Shawtae Spencer both out with injuries, Lee and Joselio Hanson are slotted to start for the Raiders this week against the pass-happy Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Packers now have an opening on their practice squad, which currently features just one defensive player in lineman Lawrence Guy. No news has been released as to who the Packers will sign to fill Ross’s spot, but it’d be surprising if they left Guy as the only defensive player on their eight-man practice squad.

On the other hand, the Minnesota Vikings just waived wide receiver Tori Gurley from the practice squad to clear up space to sign offensive tackle Troy Kropog. But the Packers already have six wide receivers on the 53-man roster and Diondre Borel on the practice squad, so if they add gurley, Gurley would be No. 8 for the Packers.

Stay tuned for updates on Packers roster moves.

——————

Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

——————

10

September

Packers make room for LB Walden, cut CB Ross

Packers LB Erik Walden

Packers LB Erik Walden

As the Packers turn the page on Erik Walden’s one-game suspension, they’ve cut cornerback Brandian Ross to clear room for the 27 year-old linebacker.

Ross was inactive for Sunday’s game against the 49ers, but the Packers will likely try and keep him around to the practice squad. Teams have 24 hours to put in a claim for Ross before he’s eligible for the Packers to bring him back.

Walden will provide depth to the outside linebacker position behind starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Matthews was one of just a few bright spots on Sunday, racking up 2.5 sacks–nearly half of last season’s total of six.

Ross was a surprise inclusion on the 53-man roster, so it makes sense that he’s been released to free up a roster spot for Walden.

While it remains highly unlikely that Walden will solve all of the Packers problems defensively, his return will be a welcome addition to the team craving a win over the Chicago Bears on Thursday. The best game of Walden’s career came against the Bears in the regular season finale of the 2010 season, recording 12 total tackles and sacking Jay Cutler three times.

——————

Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

——————

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.

——————

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.

——————

4

September

Updated: Packers Practice Squad Includes QB Graham Harrell and 3 WRs

The Packers signed QB Graham Harrell to the practice squad on Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers signed eight players to their practice squad on Sunday, including QB Graham Harrell and three WRs.

Signed to the practice squad were WR Diondre Borel, T/G Ray Dominguez, C Sampson Genus, WR Tori Gurley, QB Graham Harrell, CB Brandian Ross, RB Brandon Saine and WR Chastin West.

All eight signees to the practice squad were with the Packers during training camp.

Harrell: In 18 series during the preseason, Harrell generated two touchdowns and three field goals and a passer rating of 75.7. Packers coach Mike McCarthy appeared to be high on Harrell early in the preseason, but the former Texas Tech standout never caught fire to solidify a permanent roster spot. Perhaps Harrell was doomed to be cut anyway. No. 2 QB Matt Flynn had a firm hold on the backup slot and McCarthy said he wasn’t going touse a spot on the active gameday roster for a third QB.

Gurley: I thought Gurley’s size and success on special teams would earn him a roster spot as a sixth WR, especially since Donald Driver has continued to show signs of aging. The Packers only kept five WRs, however, like they usually do. I didn’t think the Packers would be able to retain Gurley, but I’m sure glad they did. Even though the Packers seem to favor smaller WRs, I think it will be nice to have a bigger WR to bring up if Driver or someone else goes down.

West: He had five catches for 134 yards against the Cardinals, but only managed three catches for 18 yards in the other three preseason games. West flashed some potential at times during camp, but never stood out. In other words, he’s perfect for the practice squad.

Borel: Hey look, another WR on the practice squad! When you throw as much as McCarthy does and rely on receivers to make plays after the catch, I guess you can never hoard enough of them. Borel is very athletic and very raw. I’m guessing Gurley and West will be called up before Borel should an active WR get hurt.

Dominguez: The Packer only kept eight offensive linemen and Dominguez was one of the big guys left out. The Packers converted him from T to G and Dominguez played well enough to merit serious consideration for the active roster. He’ll benefit from the development time on the practice squad.

19

August

Packers vs. Cardinals: Things to Watch in Preseason Week 2

In the lead up to the Packers and Cardinals preseason matchup, consider this: in two of the last three games between these two clubs, there has been some serious offensive fireworks—to the tune of  177 total points and nearly 2,000 total offensive yards.

Most remember (or would rather forget) the 2009 Wildcard Card game in Arizona—a back-and-forth affair in which the Packers and Cardinals engaged in one of the wildest shootouts in playoff history.

A week after the Packers dismantled the Cardinals in Week 17 of the regular season, Arizona jumped out to leads of 17-0, 24-7 and 31-10 before Aaron Rodgers and the Packers mounted two impressive comebacks.

With the score 31-10, Rodgers lead the Packers on four straight touchdown drives—all ending on Rodgers’ touchdown passes—to tie the game at 38.

Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who threw for five touchdown passes and 379 yards, put Arizona back into the lead with 4:55 left when he hit Steve Breaston for a 17-yard score. Rodgers remained unfazed, however, as he led the Packers right down the field for another tying-touchdown. His 11-yard pass to Spencer Havner with 1:52 left helped send the game into overtime tied at 45 (of course, so did a Neil Rackers missed chip-shot 34-yard field goal on the Cardinals next drive).

Then, the game abruptly ended when Rodgers was stripped on a controversial play during the Packers first offensive series, giving the Cardinals a 51-45 win. The loss was certainly disappointing from a Packers perspective but the stat line was not: Rodgers threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another. The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards and 96 points, and to this day it remains the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history.

But before the Packers and Cardinals gave the 2009 NFL playoffs an aerial assault that hasn’t been seen since, they put together a high-scoring preseason affair that same year.

In the third week of exhibition play in ’09, the Packers were the ones who jumped out to a big lead in Arizona. In fact, with their No. 1 offense playing the entire first half, the Packers raced out to a 38-10 lead—only to see that advantage shrink to a final score of 44-37.

9

August

Will Any of the 2011 Undrafted Free Agents Make the Packers 53-Man Roster?

Green Bay Packers 2011 Undrafted Free Agents - UDFAs

It probably goes without saying that the 2011 Green Bay Packers should have a deep, talented roster.

That was likely the case before the last season begun, too, and it was proven time and time again during the course of the season when 15 players went to IR. Because of that talent and depth in the roster, the Packers were able to overcome the injuries and win the Super Bowl.

Heading into this season, the Packers only lost a handful of players from that run. The list of players from 2010 playing elsewhere this year: Cullen Jenkins (Eagles), Nick Barnett (Bills), Brandon Jackson (Browns), Daryn Colledge (Cardinals), Jason Spitz (Jaguars), Korey Hall (Saints) and Brady Poppinga (Rams). Brandon Chillar, Mark Tauscher, Anthony Smith, Atari Bigby, Matt Wilhelm, Justin Harrell and Derrick Martin are currently free agents without a team.

From those names, only Jenkins, Jackson, Colledge, Spitz and Hall were with the team the entire season. All the others were either mid-season pickups or went on IR at some point during the year. The point here is that the Packers found adequate replacements for the rest of the players listed, somewhat nullifying their impact on this year’s roster.

It’s a testament to GM Ted Thompson and his team of scouts, as they have done a terrific job of identifying talent, regardless of which avenue they’ve taken to acquire it.

However, the impressive depth of the Packers 2011 roster could mean that Thompson has to back off a strategy he’s used so well in recent years: keeping an undrafted free agent or two on the 53-man roster.

The lockout robbed many of them of valuable time during summer practices, but it’s also forcing both the UDFA’s and Thompson to make quick evaluations during training camp.

The players have had to learn an entire playbook quickly and still impress coaches with their play on the practice field. As if they were already behind, who do you think lost out the most from Saturday’s rainout at Family Night? These guys. Only the No.1 offense and No. 2 defense got any reps in team action. Typically, the scrimmage is just another critical evaluation period for the bottom of the roster. But that didn’t happen Saturday night, as storms called off the practice just 30 minutes or so in.