18

September

Packers’ Chastin West Signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Chastin West

According to his Twitter Feed,  wide receiver Chastin West has been signed off of the Packers Practice Squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Stats: Attended Fresno State, (6’1”, 216lbs) WR.  Combine Stats: 4.59 40yd time, 2.64 20yd.,  1.61 10yd time, 4.42 20yd shuttle, 7.12 3-cone,  33.5” vertical, 15 reps@225lbs, and a 9’1” broad jump. Ranked 64 out of 276  Wide receivers by NFLDraftScout.com.

West had five catches for 134 yards in the preseason game 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. West was then signed to the Packers practice squad for the second straight year.

 

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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10

September

Packers Transactions: The Graham Harrell Story

As a staff writer at AllGreenBayPackers.com, 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.

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.

3

September

Green Bay Packers Roster Cuts: Chastin West and Brandon Underwood Let Go

Cuts continue to trickle in as the Green Bay Packers attempt to trim their roster to the league-mandated number of 53 men by 5 p.m. Saturday.

Recevier Chastin West and defensive back Brandon Underwood are among the biggest names let go. Many thought West had an opportunity to crack the 53-man roster as the sixth receiver after an impressive camp and preseason. Underwood was attempting to play safety after being drafted as a cornerback in the sixth round in 2009.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, these players have been released so far:

CB Brandon Underwood: Underwood just never lived up to all the athletic potential. He wasn’t a mature guy off the field and injuries started to get the best of him. Not a good combination to have when trying to make a talented football team.

WR Chastin West: Many thought he’d stick as the sixth receiver, but West will get his chance in the NFL. He’ll be picked up in a hurry.

G Caleb Schlauderaff: He’s a practice squad possibility. The Packers are thin on the interior of their offensive line.

CB Brandian Ross: Made some plays to open camp but tailed off from there.

WR Diondre Borel: Never had much of a chance at a position full of talented players.

G Sampson Genus: May still be a practice squad guy.


WR Kerry Taylor: It was always going to be an uphill climb for Taylor at a stacked position. He’ll be a guy the Packers look at to bring back on the practice squad.

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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

31

August

Kris Burke: My Initial 53-man Packers Roster Prediction

Packers on the bubble will be seeing this face VERY soon

It’s the time of year every NFL general manager seems to dread.  Selecting your final 53 man roster to bein the regular season.

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson has arguably the toughest job in the league with perhaps the deepest team in the NFL. It’s tough to predict what is going through the mind of the mysterious Packers GM, but I’ll give it my best shot.

OFFENSE-27:

Quarterback -3: Rodgers, Flynn, Harrell

I think you have to keep Graham Harrell around.  The trade speculation around Flynn doesn’t want to go away and the more time he spends learning from McCarthy, the better. He showed promise against the Colts.  I’d be willing to bet this time next year Flynn is elsewhere and Harrell is the number two with a rookie on the practice squad.

Running Back -5: Grant, Starks, Green, Kuhn, Johnson

Pretty easy to see here.  The only question remaining is which order Ryan Grant and James Starks are in on the depth chart against the Saints.  It will start as a shared load but who knows what else will happen as the season unfolds.

Wide Receiver -6: Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Jones, Cobb, West

West locked in his spot after his display of talent against the Cardinals.  Tori Gurley will definitely get some looks from other teams.  After seeing both in practice personally, I knew it would be a tough call for Ted Thompson to make.  This remains the deepest position for the Packers and they go with six instead of five to enable McCarthy to use even more multiple packages.

Tight End -4: Finley, Crabtree, Quarless, Williams

Speaking of tough decisions, it was obvious the Packers were not going to hang onto five tight ends to start the season.  Finley was the only lock and the other spots were up for grabs.  Crabtree has proven his worth in blocking and on special teams and Quarless showed flashes in the passing game last year.  The final spot then comes down to DJ Williams and Ryan Taylor.  Much was said about Williams after the draft and Thompson sticks to his initial convictions and Taylor is gone.

Offensive Line -9: Wells, Sitton, Clifton, Bulaga, Lang, Newhouse, Sherrod, Smith, McDonald

25

August

Packers vs. Colts: Things to Watch in Preseason Week 3

There was some audible Super Bowl chatter before the Green Bay Packers took on the Indianapolis Colts last August, but once that nationally televised game was in the books, and the Packers had destroyed the Colts to the tune of 59-24, Green Bay was the talk of the NFL and one of the NFC favorites to play in Dallas that coming February.

Fast forward exactly one year to Aug. 26, 2011, and the Packers and Colts will do the same dance Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a venue where the Packers have never played but that also happens to be the home of Super Bowl XLVI.

The Packers will attempt to acquaint themselves with a building they hope to play in twice this season, but they also want their performance Friday night to be the kind of jumping off point that last season’s dismantling of the Colts was.

The Colts actually raced out to a 17-7 lead at Lambeau Field before quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense took control of the game, scoring three touchdowns in a ten minute span during the second quarter which gave Green Bay a 28-17 half time lead.

Matt Flynn and the backups took over from there, and that’s when the contest really got out of hand. Flynn led the Packers on four scoring drives, including two touchdown passes, and Jason Chery returned a punt 75 yards for the Packers final score. By the time the dust had settled, Green Bay had scored 59 points, a post-merger NFL record  for a preseason game.

Following that performance, the Packers’ Super Bowl bandwagon filled in a hurry. Part of that was due to what the Packers accomplished against the Colts on that August night.

Roughly six months later in Dallas, Rodgers and the Packers handsomely rewarded those who stayed on that bandwagon with a Super Bowl win.

Here are some things to watch in Friday’s game:

Getting a look at the running game

The play of the running backs will be and should be the main focus of most Friday night. The Packers have yet to get a good look at any of their four primary backs—Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green and Dimitri Nance—this preseason, mostly due to either injury or snap count, and the clock is ticking on opportunities.