It’s very clear that the Green Bay Packers roster this season is packed with talent. Even more so than last year. Coming up on the first preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday, the Packers coaching staff should be making cuts very soon. For the coaching staff, there could be some tough cuts coming.
Unfortunately for Packer fans, it could appear that the hometown hero and fan favorite Jared Abbrederis could be on his way out of Green Bay. Abbrederis would have had a decent chance of making the team had he stayed healthy. A torn anterior crucial ligament last year and a concussion this year have limited Abbrederis to just three and a half days of practice in the last two years.
With other rookies and undrafted free agents performing well in training camp, it may be redundant to keep a sixth receiver if he can’t stay healthy. The Packers have other positions they may want to keep more players at. Green Bay may be deciding on whether or not to keep rookie fullback Aaron Ripkowski on the roster and defensive backs like Demetri Goodson or Ladarius Gunter.
Entering the season, it appeared as if the Packers were preparing for a year with only seven offensive linemen on the active roster. David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Corey Linsley, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, J.C. Tretter, and Don Barclay were the expected linemen. The line is so solid that the Packers only really have to worry about is injury.
Tretter and Barclay are more than capable to be backups for all five positions. Tretter could play at the tackle and center positions if needed and Barclay can play inside. But we could see the Packers add an undrafted free agent to the roster as the eighth linemen if they don’t feel Lane Taylor or Garth Gerhart fit what they’re looking for already.
Undrafted free agents Fabbians Ebbele and Matt Rotheram have caught the attention of fans and the coaching staff so far this training camp. Ebbele has been noted for his towering size at 6-foot-8 and dominance in pass blocking. Clearly still in a stage of raw talent, we’ll get to see more of what he can do in the faster paced environment of the first preseason game on Thursday.
Rotheram has been battling an ankle injury since the first day of camp. He returned to action on August 7th and will also be participating in the first preseason game.
Both players are eligible for the practice squad if the Packers decide they’d rather go with seven linemen. Although they risk other teams being able to steal them off their practice squad. See Jumal Rolle from last season for a perfect example of that.
The spot reserved for Abbrederis is a valuable one. It could give the Packers the power to retain another key player at a different position. Or it could open up a possibility for another receiver. A possibility for a guy like Myles White.
White has been with the team on and off over the past three years and received a chance to play with the team in 2013 when Randall Cobb went down with an injured leg. So far in training camp, White has been one of the more impressive wide receivers.
Overall, Green Bay has some tough decisions heading their way in the coming weeks. If Abbrederis can’t show that he can stay healthy enough to stay on the field, its doubtful he’ll be around for the season opener. It’s a vicious cycle for some players. The exit of one player opens the door for another. While Abbrederis could be on his way out, someone else could already be ready to take his place in Green Bay.