The Packers 53 man roster:
As expected, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and their staff had some very difficult decisions to make on Saturday when finalizing the 53 man roster. Many players impressed during their offseason and preseason opportunities, which lead to many positional battles that were not settled until the Saturday roster deadline. The 3 pm CT deadline left the Packers roster with a few surprise decisions that have left some scratching their heads.
Three (of many) Roster spot debates:
The Rationale Behind Releasing Taysom Hill:
The legend of Taysom Hill grew from a 27-year-old rookie who turned some heads during his game action, to a player that the Packers must keep in order to provide depth at the Quarterback position. Throughout the last 48 hours, I have seen countless reporters and fans alike criticize the release of Hill. Although Hill has shown consistency and big play ability during his game action this preseason, it is important to remember that the majority of his snaps were against second and third string back ups, who like himself, were fighting for the final roster spots on their respective teams.
Releasing Hill and having him pass through waivers was a calculated risk that was worth taking. Hill would either make it through the waiver process and sign with the practice squad, or he would be claimed by another team. (The Saints) In the event that Hill was claimed, the Packers would still be able to sign former cult legend Joe Callahan to the practice squad in Hill’s place.
The Packers had more pressing needs to address on the roster than preserving an extra roster spot for a third string quarterback. The reality of the situation is that, if your third string quarterback, not named Aaron Rodgers, is taking meaningful snaps during the regular season, the Packers will not be a serious contender in the 2017-2018 season.
Keeping Seven Cornerbacks:
It would be fair to speculate that one of the final three roster spots went to cornerback Lenzy Pipkins who showed some promise during his preseason opportunities. After inconsistent play from the corner back position just one season ago, that many believe cost the Packers another opportunity at a super bowl appearance, Ted Thompson decided to fortify the position by adding depth and creating daily competition for playing time this season. By keeping seven cornerbacks, each player will be pushed to develop on a daily basis and be ready to step in and play should there be injuries or poor play and inconsistent play.
The highly contested wide receiver battle:
From the start of training camp it was understood that there would be nine wide receivers battling for three roster spots. Out of the three openings, two of them seemed to have a lead man at the gate, which essentially left the Packers with a seven man competition for one roster spot at the wide receiver position for week 1. However, despite the popular consensus that the Packers would take six wide receivers for week 1, they surprised many by keeping just five wide receivers for week 1 and will not have a sixth wide receiver until week 2 when Geronimo Allison is reinstated from his one game suspension.
After a very competitive wide receiver battle during the preseason, Jeff Janis and Trevor Davis secured the final two spots at wide receiver. Despite Davis’s struggles with ball security on punts, Aaron Rodgers’ trust in him coupled with his immense measurable talent, secured him a roster spot. Jeff Janis, who many believed had a chance to get cut this preseason, proved all of his critics wrong and had a superb preseason and earned his spot on the 53 man roster as both a receiver and valued special teams contributor.
The odd man out of the wide receiver battle was stand out, Max McCaffrey, who turned heads this offseason and lead the Packers in catches and receiving yards this preseason. His solid and consistent play did not go unnoticed as the New Orleans Saints have signed him to a deal.
More Roster Moves Looming:
The 53 man roster will be sure to continually change from week to week with injuries and roster moves. One of these roster moves could occur within the next 24 hours, as the Packers are having an official visit with former 49ers defensive tackle Quinton Dial today. Dial will provide the Packers with more depth up front as well as versatility with his play on special teams. Be sure to stay tuned to Packerstalk.com and Cheeseheadtv.com for breaking news and roster updates that could occur leading up to Sunday’s clash with the Seattle Seahawks.——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave