The Green Bay Packers made their first round of cuts this week, releasing receiver Brett Swain, tight end Spencer Havner and tackle Theo Sherman on Monday then sending receiver Antonio Robinson, linebacker K.C. Asiodu and guard Adrian Battles packing Tuesday. That trimmed the Packers roster to 80 men before Tuesday’s league-mandated deadline.
Those were the easy cuts.
On Saturday, Packers GM Ted Thompson will have to decide which 53 players he starts the 2011 with and the 27 he doesn’t. It’s one of the most difficult days for his profession. Thompson has to cut some good football players. I, for one, certainly don’t envy the job he has to do over the course of this week.
Here’s my predictions for the Packers 53-man roster, which come before the team’s preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. Following that game on Thursday, I’ll make my final choices for who I think should be on the final 53.
Quarterbacks (3): Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Graham Harrell
Harrell hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, but the Packers understand his worth. You have to like the way he rebounded against the Colts and led them back. Right now, he is too risky to send to the practice squad again. In a year’s time, Harrell could be Rodgers’ backup.
Running Backs (5): Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green, John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson
Grant guaranteed his roster spot by restructuring his contract, but there might have been pressure on him had that not happened. He’s been hesitant in the preseason with limited carries…Starks and Green are clearly the future at the position…Keeping two fullbacks was a tough call, but I don’t see how the Packers go from keeping three in back-to-back seasons to just one this year. Packers coach Mike McCarthy runs as many offensive sub-packages as any play caller in the NFL, and they need Johnson to block when the Packers go big.
Receivers (5): Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb
One of the hardest decisions was keeping just five receivers on this team. Both Chastin West and Tori Gurley have shown enough to make most NFL teams, but not this one. I don’t think the Packers can sacrifice another roster position for a sixth receiver unless they really feel Cobb’s knee isn’t ready to go for a few weeks into the regular season.