11

February

Packers Release Offensive Lineman

Greg Van Roten

The Packers released interior lineman Van Roten on Tuesday

The Green Bay Packers released offensive lineman Greg Van Roten on Tuesday.  This was reported by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Van Roten was signed as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2012 season.  He was added to the practice squad to start that year and then elevated to the 53-man roster mid-season.

Van Roten provided depth on the interior of the offensive line and also contributed on special teams in 2013 before he was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a foot injury.

Van Roten’s release leaves J.C. Tretter, Lane Taylor and current practice squad lineman Garth Gerhart as the remaining interior linemen behind starting guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang.  Center Evan Dietrich-Smith is currently set to be a free agent next month.  If he is not re-signed by the team, Tretter and Taylor would enter the mix to compete for the starting center spot.

Depending on what the Packers do in this year’s draft or in free agency, they could also look to move Lang to center.

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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3

December

Packers Release McMillian, Sign Antonio Dennard to Practice Squad

Packers Safety Jerron McMillian

McMillian was released on Tuesday after appearing in just 28 games for the Packers

On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers officially announced the signing of running back Kahlil Bell after his Twitter account spurred rumors that he had signed with the team.  In order to make room for Bell, the Packers released second-year safety Jerron McMillian.

McMillian appeared in just 28 games for the Packers after being drafted in the fourth round of last year’s draft.  M.D. Jennings has taken most of the reps at safety opposite Morgan Burnett this season and McMillian was not able to make his way onto the field.  Pass coverage was a weakness of McMillian’s and in a secondary that is already struggling, the Packers decided to cut ties with the young safety.

This could be a sign that the Packers are focused on improving the safety position, something many had expected Green Bay to address in this year’s draft.  It is unlikely that any major moves will be made this season, but I would expect the position to be of high importance during this upcoming offseason.

The Packers also signed cornerback Antonio Dennard to the practice squad.  Dennard was an undrafted free agent in 2012 and spent part of last season on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad before going on injured reserve.  Dennard also spent part of this past offseason with the New York Giants.

Whether Dennard sees the field this season or not will likely depend on the team’s injury situation.  He is Packers general manager Ted Thompson’s latest undrafted free agent find.  All but three of the team’s defensive backs are former undrafted free agents:  Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, M.D. Jennings, Jarrett Bush, James Nixon and Chris Banjo.

 

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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2

December

Packers Reportedly Sign Running Back Kahlil Bell

Kahlil Bell

Bell was reportedly signed to replace Johnathan Franklin

The Green Bay Packers have reportedly signed former Chicago Bears and New York Jets running back Kahlil Bell, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.  Bell hasn’t played a down this season, after spending time with the Bears and Jets over the past two seasons.

Bell had his best game as a pro against the Packers on Christmas Day, 2011 when he rushed for over 120 yards in a Bears loss to Green Bay.

Bell’s signing means the Packers will need to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Bell.  Neither Bell’s signing nor any indication of what the next move will be have been announced by the Packers.

One scenario would have the Packers sending a current injured player to injured-reserve.  Among the possibilities are center Evan Dietrich-Smith, receiver Randall Cobb, offensive lineman J.C. Tretter or quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The  move to sign Bell became necessary when the Packers placed rookie running back Johnathan Franklin on season-ending injured reserve after he suffered a neck injury against the Minnesota Vikings in week 12.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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6

November

Packers Add Tolzien to Active Roster

Scott Tolzien

Tolzien was added to the team’s active roster on Wednesday

The Green Bay Packers reportedly promoted quarterback Scott Tolzien from the team’s practice squad to the active roster today according to Bill Huber of PackerReport.com.

The move would fill the last roster spot that was open following some additional moves the Packers made yesterday.  Among those were placing tight end Jermichael Finley and linebacker Sam Barrington on season-ending injured reserve.

Tolzien was signed to Green Bay’s practice squad just prior to the Packers week one game against the San Francisco 49ers.  When the Cleveland Browns tried to sign him to their active roster, the Packers significantly increased his salary in order to keep him.

That effort has paid off for both Tolzien, who finally makes it to the 53-man roster, and the Packers who now have a backup quarterback to Seneca Wallace.

Prior to Tolzien’s promotion, and after Aaron Rodgers was ruled out for the remainder of the game against the Chicago Bears, the Packers’ emergency quarterback was said to be receiver Jordy Nelson.

Tolzien is thought to be a smart player and finished his three-year career with the Wisconsin Badgers in 2010 with 32 touchdown passes and a 68.1% completion percentage.  He has yet to take a single snap in an NFL game.  I wouldn’t expect to see Tolzien unless Wallace is unable to play for any reason.

It was also reported today that the timetable for Rodgers’ return has expanded and could be anywhere from four to six weeks.  Rodgers status is reportedly listed as “week to week” as his collarbone injury is being allowed to heal on its own versus having surgery.  When Rodgers is able to return, it is uncertain if the Packers would plan to keep Tolzien on the active roster or move him back to the practice squad.  It would seem that there is some interest around the league for the young quarterback’s services if he were to be demoted at some point.  There’s also the fact that, if released, Tolzien would have to clear waivers before the Packers could re-sign him to their practice squad.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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15

October

Myles White Promoted From Practice Squad, Van Roten Placed on Injured Reserve

Myles White

White was promoted from the practice squad after Cobb was placed on injured reserve

The Green Bay Packers continue to make roster moves today.  According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsy, the Packers placed wide receiver Randall Cobb on injured reserve-designated to return, placed offensive lineman Greg Van Roten on season-ending injured reserve and signed receiver Myles White from their practice squad.

With Cobb slated to be out until at least week 15, many questions have surfaced as to what the Packers would do to fill the void on offense.  While replacing a dynamic receiver like Cobb is difficult by itself, the team will also miss his play-making abilities all around.  In addition to his duties as a receiver, Cobb has also carried the ball out of the backfield and returned kicks this season.

The Packers appear content to look to some of their current players and options.  It has been speculated that tight end Jermichael Finley will see extensive time split out at receiver.  This was already a given but was further fueled by the news that the Packers signed another of their practice squad players in that of tight end Jake Stoneburner.

White was signed for depth purposes as without Cobb, the Packers were down to just three receivers on their roster in that of James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin.

With Van Roten’s placement on IR comes some speculation as to how well offensive linemen Derek Sherrod and J.C. Tretter are progressing in their rehab from injury.  Both are on the physically unable to perform list and are now officially eligible to begin practicing with the team.  The Packers have up to three weeks to allow each to begin practicing and up to another three weeks from their first practice to either activate them, put them on season-ending injured reserve, or release them outright.

Sherrod hasn’t seen any football action since December of 2011 while Tretter was injured early in training camp during a non-contact drill.  With Van Roten now out of the mix, the Packers have only rookie Lane Taylor and Marshall Newhouse behind the five offensive line starters.  If Sherrod or Tretter are unable to return this season, the Packers will likely look to add another lineman for added depth.

What the Packers do with Sherrod, Tretter and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, who is also on PUP, will lead to more roster moves in the coming weeks.

 

 

4

September

This year’s Packers Practice Squad Unusual for Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson looked outside of his own cuts to assemble this year's practice squad.

Ted Thompson looked outside of his own cuts to assemble this year’s practice squad.

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.

30

August

Packers News: Kickalicious works out for Green Bay

Havard Rugland was in Green Bay for a workout on Friday morning, according to his Twitter account.

Havard Rugland was in Green Bay for a workout on Friday morning, according to his Twitter account.

According to Havard Rugland’s official Twitter account, the Green Bay Packers worked out the YouTube sensation known as “Kickalicious” on Friday morning.

Rugland spent the summer as a member of the Detroit Lions, but he was cut after being beaten out by established veteran David Akers. Akers, 38, will fill in for 43-year-old Jason Hanson who recently retired after 21 seasons in the NFL.

The workout seems surprising, considering the team just restructured kicker Mason Crosby’s contract this week. After bringing in Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez to challenge Crosby for the job, the Packers turned to financial motivation for their placekicker.

The team bringing Rugland in for a workout could mean trouble for Crosby, especially if the Packers ever have an opportunity to punt the ball through the uprights from 90 yards away. Or kick a ball to a dude standing in a boat on the Fox River.

In all likelihood, the Packers are likely seeing what else is on the free-agent market in case Crosby struggles to start the 2013 season. It’s highly unlikely that the team would replace Crosby after restructuring to an incentive-based deal Thursday.

Through four preseason games, Crosby was a perfect 6-for-6, including a long of 48 yards. After a thoroughly unimpressive Family Night scrimmage, Crosby separated himself from Tavecchio and Ramirez late in training camp.

For now, it would be a surprise if anyone not named Crosby was the kicker to start the season. But again, the Packers appear to be preparing themselves for a backup plan should Crosby falter early in the season.

In three preseason games with the Lions, Kickalicious was three-for-three on field goals with a long of 50 yards. He also converted both of his extra point attempts.

One additional interesting fact: Every NFL team is allowed to add one international player to their practice squad, as a ninth member. However, that international player can not be signed to an NFL contract with any team while on a practice squad. here are the full rules:

Section 1. Practice Squads:

  • (a) The League may elect in any League Year in accordance with this Article to establish Practice Squads not to exceed eight (8) players per Club. The League’s election in any one season shall not determine or affect its election in any subsequent season.