Sunday, September 5, 2010

Final Roster Set

The final cuts were announced yesterday, trimming the Packers down to the required 53-man roster.  Frankly, there were some surprises on the chop list, particularly: RB Kregg Lumpkin, O-linemen Evan Dietrich-Smith, Breno Giacomini and Allen Barbre, TE Spencer Havner, and WR Jason Chery.  Let me elaborate.

With the cut of Lumpkin, the Packers now have two running backs on the entire roster, including the practice squad.  Unless Thompson intends to pick someone up off waivers from another club, this strikes me as a borderline reckless move.  Ryan Grant has had some injuries in the pre-season, and Brandon Jackson is no stranger to the treatment room.  To have no depth behind these guys scares me.  And Lumpkin actually looked serviceable in the pre-season game against the Chiefs.  Really would like to see them sign someone here.

Our offensive line woes are well-documented.  Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spitz and T.J. Lang are essentially our only three back-ups.  Nick McDonald and Marshall Newhouse are listed as well, but Dietrich-Smith and Giacomini seemed to be ahead of both those guys in the pre-season rotation.  The Vikings apparently made an immediate move for Giacomini, but it sounds like the Packers were able to retain him for the practice squad.  Dietrich-Smith was picked up by the Seahawks.  I would have expected the Packers to retain some depth and experience on the offensive line.  Right now, nobody is listed on the depth chart behind 33-year old Mark Tauscher.  Not sure what their plan is in the event he goes down -- probably moving Bulaga over to the right side of the line I imagine.

Losing Spencer Havner, who is now a Detroit Lion, was also a bummer.  I loved Havner's energy, and he was productive -- catching 4 TDs last season.  He also was versatile, contributing on special teams as well as some playing time at linebacker.  Presumably this was a cut of necessity.  The Packers are stacked at tight end and still have 4 remaining on their roster -- Finley and Lee, of course, as well as 5th-round pick Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree.  The decision to draft a TE in the 5th round this year not withstanding (I probably would have gone defensive back or end), Quarless I can kind of understand -- he looks like Finley at times and could be an upgrade from Lee when it's time for him to move on.  I know little about Crabtree other than the fact he was a second-year undrafted free agent originally signed by Kansas City.  Not the team I want to be taking cast-offs from.  I would have kept Havner for the spirit if nothing else.

Finally, Jason Chery was the only glimmer in an otherwise depressing kick/punt return team this pre-season.  One TD return does not a career make, but it seemed slightly surprising to see McCarthy elevate Chery to a role of returning all punts and kicks in the Kansas City game, only to see him cut two days later.  Did he need another return to pay dirt to save his job?  It looks like they'll be using Brandon Jackson for kick returns and Tramon Williams for punt returns.  Why would you put your second and only back-up running back in a position he's likely to get injured?  Wish the Packers had someone here like a Desmond Howard -- an impact player.  I'm not saying Chery was that guy, but at least he ran with something to prove.  These other guys will just be trying to avoid getting hurt.  Seems like we're settling on a position that can be one of the biggest X-factors in the game.

I hope Thompson is working the phones right now to try to get us another RB and a returner, possibly another offensive lineman.  But I'm not optimistic.  We made no notable free agency moves this off-season, and I don't expect any now.  Have to just trust they know what they're doing.

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