Ted Thompson, almost to a fault, likes to keep “his guys” around for as long as possible. And this year’s practice squad looks very different than those of years past.
The team’s 2013 practice squad features four players from outside the Packers’ final cuts, along with wide receiver Charles Johnson, cornerback James Nixon, tight end Jake Stoneburner and wide receiver Myles White. Perhaps Thompson wanted some of his cuts to return to the practice squad before they were ultimately claimed by other teams.
Last year, seven members of the team’s practice squad spent training camp in Green Bay. Offensive lineman Chris Scott, signed from the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the lone member of the practice squad who didn’t spend the summer in Green Bay.
By the numbers, the eight-man practice squad tilts heavily towards the offense. Seven of the eight practice-squad spots are held by offensive players, leaving Nixon as the lone defender. On the other hand, the defense holds 28 of the 53 active roster spots.
Half of the practice squad spent the summer (or longer) with the Packers. Here they are:
WR Charles Johnson #17
A seventh-round draft pick from Grand Valley State, Johnson struggled to stay on the field throughout the summer. Hampered by injuries, the 6-foot-2 215-pound receiver showed flashes of his potential but didn’t show enough to merit a spot on the 53-man roster. It will be interesting to see whether or not Johnson or undrafted rookie Myles White is called upon if the injury bug bites the receiving corps.
CB James Nixon #25
Nixon was signed to the practice squad Sept. 20, 2012. A college running back and wide receiver, Nixon certainly has enough athleticism to make it at the professional level. He began his college career at Temple before transferring to the University of California in Pennsylvania for his senior season. After Mason Crosby, Nixon was the story of this year’s Family Night Scrimmage, thanks to an interception and a 66-yard return for a touchdown.
TE Jake Stoneburner #45
The former Ohio State tight end found himself buried on the training-camp depth chart behind veterans Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor. Stoneburner is not as athletic as Finley or second-year prospect Brandon Bostick, but he had a steady camp, which played a role in the team letting Williams walk. Thanks to his name, there’s a perception that Stoneburner is a throwback, in-your-face-type player, but he clocked a 4.53 in the forty-yard dash at Ohio State’s Pro Day.