12

November

Packers News: Bulaga to I.R., So’oto to 53-man roster

Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga

Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga

The Green Bay Packers announced Monday that left tackle Bryan Bulaga had been placed on the season-ending injured reserve with a hip injury.

Bulaga suffered the injury against the Arizona Cardinals when he landed awkwardly. The early diagnosis wasn’t optimistic, and some had speculated immediately that Bulaga’s season may be over.

Losing Bulaga leaves the Packers shorthanded on the offensive line. T.J. Lang will shift over to right tackle, while Evan Dietrich-Smith will take Lang’s normal spot at left guard. For the rest of the season, the Packers’ offensive line–at full strength–will consist of Marshall Newhouse, Dietrich-Smith, Jeff Saturday, Josh Sitton and Lang.

Through ten weeks of the NFL season, the Packers have allowed 29 sacks–tied for second-most in the NFL.

To fill Bulaga’s roster spot, the Packers have signed outside linebacker Vic S’oto. The move gives Packers some depth at outside linebacker, as Frank Zombo was the team’s only available backup prior to So’oto’s signing.

So’oto played in seven games for the Packers last season and was in training camp with the team this summer. After appearing in four games with the Oakland Raiders this season, he was let go. So’oto, again, will wear No. 97 with the team.

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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.

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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.

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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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25

July

Packers Sign Utah WR/KR Shaky Smithson

The Green Bay Packers have signed Utah wide receiver and returner Shaky Smithson to a deal Monday night, kicking off the undrafted free agent signing period that followed today’s agreement on a new CBA.

Smithson was scouted throughly by the Packers pre-draft, as he was one of 12 players who made an official visit with the Green Bay before April’s NFL draft. At his pro day in Utah, Smithson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, the 20-yard dash in 2.71 and the 10 in 1.65. He also put up 10 reps at 225 pounds and had a vertical leap of 30.5 inches.

Shaky Smithson College summary

Smithson is listed as a receiver but he made his name at Utah as one of the more dynamic returners in the NCAA. While he started just four games on offense and caught only 25 passes for 383 yards his senior year, Smithson’s 19.1 yards per punt return and four 100-yard punt return games led the nation.

He also returned two punts for touchdowns and was 24th in the nation in kick return average (24.1 yards). His 2010 totals on punt returns broke the Mountain West record for a season. For his efforts, Smithson was named second team All-Mountain West in 2010.

Commentary

Smithson is an electrifying return man, but the Packers drafted Randall Cobb in the second round and it’s widely believed that he’ll be the main returner on both punts and kicks. If Cobb has a larger role in the offense than previously expected, Smithson could be asked to be the primary returner. The Packers have been desperate to help their return game for the better part of a decade.

But like any undrafted free agent, Smithson has to be considered a long shot to make the team. He won’t contribute much as a slot receiver, and the Packers haven’t generally kept players who are one dimensional on the roster. Unless Smithson has developed some kind of offensive game, that’d be exactly what he is.

In all likeliness, Smithson will need a terrific camp and some errors from Cobb in the return game to warrant a roster spot.

Video highlights

 

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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.