The regular season is almost upon us, but there is still one more game for players who are on the fringe of making the Packers roster to make one last impression.
Here are the players and the positions battles to keep an eye on when the Chiefs visit the Packers.
The most interesting and most intently watched battle will undoubtedly be between quarterbacks Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn. It has been pretty obvious to anyone who has watched the Packers during preseason that Tolzien has outplayed Flynn through the first 3 games. However, Flynn’s game experience and knowledge of the Packer offense might be enough to keep him locked in as the Packers backup quarterback, at least for this season.
No matter what happens Thursday, with Flynn signed to just a 1 year contract I can’t see the Packers letting Tolzien go and leaving them vulnerable at the backup quarterback spot again next season. However, if Tolzien looks good again and Flynn continues to struggle, the Packers could opt to keep Tolzien and waive Flynn, but I still think the most likely scenario is that the Packers keep 3 quarterbacks on their roster this season.
The Packers secondary is loaded with talent at both at corner, and somewhat surprisingly, safety.
No player on the Packers defense has played more snaps during the preseason than Jumal Rolle. Rolle, who was on the practice squad last year before being promoted to the active roster in December, has impressed the Packers coaching staff in practice and with his play in the preseason. Battling Rolle for a roster spot is 6th round pick Demetri Goodson, who has the talent to play in the NFL, but is still learning the position after spending much of his college career playing basketball at Gonzaga.
Rolle is the more polished, game ready player, and Goodson has a lot of upside, but the Packers just don’t have the roster room to keep both, and it’s possible neither one makes the Packers final roster. Complicating matters at cornerback is the impeding free agency of Tramon Williams, Davon House and Jarrett Bush. Will the Packers be willing to expose talented young players like Rolle and Goodson to waivers knowing that they could be without the 3 aforementioned cornerbacks next season?
Although safety was the Packers weakest link on defense last season, the addition of Haha Clinton-Dix and the move of Micah Hyde from corner to safety has solidified the position. That leaves Chris Banjo and Sean Richardson to fight for what will likely be one roster spot. Richardson’s size and ability to be an enforcer in the secondary should give him a slight advantage over Banjo, but if Banjo can show his special teams value he could make this a very tough decision for the Packers.
When you run a 3-4 defense like the Packers do it’s good to have options at outside linebacker, and the Packers have never had more options that they do this season. With Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers locked in as starters, and Mike Neal and Nick Perry first off the bench, it leaves Carl Bradford, Jayrone Elliott, Nate Palmer, and Andy Mulumba to vie for a couple of roster spots.
The idea of letting go of a 4th round pick like Bradford may be difficult for Ted Thompson, but if the Packers are grading purely from a performance standpoint, it would be hard to argue that Crawford deserves a roster spot. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Elliott, who despite being undrafted, has made quite an impression during practice and the preseason, racking up 4 sacks in just 36 snaps.
Palmer and Mulumba have had quiet training camps, but both started games for the Packers last season and both can contribute on special teams, an important quality for a bottom of the roster linebacker.
There’s no doubt that Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, and Davante Adams are the Packers top 4 receivers, and it is highly likely that rookie Jeff Janis will be the 5th receiver on the roster. What might be decided during the final preseason game is whether or not the Packers keep a 6th receiver this year.
With the release of Chris Harper,it leaves Kevin Dorsey, Alex Gillett, and Myles White to prove that they are worthy of the Packers keeping a 6th receiver this season. All 3 receivers have shown flashes during the preseason, but they have also been inconsistent. If there isn’t a standout performance from any one of the 3 during the final preseason game, the Packers could choose to stick with 5 receivers and try to stash one or two of them on the practice squad.——————