The Green Bay Packers finished off the 2013 preseason poorly last night, as the Kansas City Chiefs blew out the Packers, 30-8. Despite the lopsided score, many Packer players made quite a case for why they should be one of 53 players on the Packers regular season roster. Earlier on Thursday, we here at Packers 101 listed the likely roster locks heading into the 2013 season:
|QB Aaron Rodgers||DE Datone Jones|
|RB Eddie Lacy||DE Mike Daniels|
|RB Johnathan Franklin||DE Mike Neal|
|FB John Kuhn||OLB Clay Matthews|
|WR James Jones||OLB Nick Perry|
|WR Jordy Nelson||OLB Dezman Moses|
|WR Randall Cobb||LB Brad Jones|
|WR Jarrett Boykin||LB A.J. Hawk|
|TE Jermichael Finley||LB Robert Francois|
|TE D.J. Williams||CB Tramon Williams|
|TE Andrew Quarless||CB Sam Shields|
|OL David Bakhtiari||CB Casey Hayward|
|OL Josh Sitton||CB Micah Hyde|
|OL Evan Dietrich-Smith||CB Jarrett Bush|
|OL T.J. Lang||S Morgan Burnett|
|OL Marshall Newhouse||S M.D. Jennings|
|OL Don Barclay||S Jerron McMillian|
|DL B.J. Raji||K Mason Crosby|
|DL Ryan Pickett||P Tim Masthay|
|DL C.J. Wilson||LS Brett Goode|
Which players should fulfill the final 13 spots on the roster? We here at Packers 101 bring you our picks for who should stay for the 2013 season, and who should be sent home on the defensive side of the football. NFL teams are required to trim their rosters from 75 to 53 players by 5 p.m. CST on Saturday.
Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, one of the more important players to watch in last night’s preseason finale, deflected a couple of passes, recorded two hits on the quarterback, and one sack. Despite committing a personal foul in the game, we here at Packers 101 believe Jolly played well enough to earn a regular season roster spot. Jolly has a great motor and great awareness at the line of scrimmage, and he is an important player in the growth of the Packers defensive unit.
Rookie Josh Boyd recorded four tackles and showed an excellent motor, hustling on every defensive snap, as Boyd chased Chiefs running back Cyrus Gray from the opposite end of the field to record a tackle late in last night’s game. Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said he liked Boyd’s motor coming out of college, and it is apparent that Boyd simply doesn’t take plays off.
Miller, who was signed by the Packers during the latter-part of the 2012 season, recorded one tackle for loss on Thursday. Miller’s name wasn’t called nearly as often as Jolly or Boyd’s, and unless Miller was correct on the majority of his defensive assignments, he will most likely be the odd-man out, and a tough cut to execute on Saturday.
FAVORITES TO MAKE ROSTER: Jolly, Boyd
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy called this year’s linebacker group the “deepest linebacker group since 2010”—a group which helped lead the Packers to their fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history. We here at Packers 101 agree with McCarthy, as the linebacker core could certainly become the toughest position group to trim come Saturday.
Jamari Lattimore stamped his spot on the team after recording six tackles and nearly intercepting a pass on Thursday. A former Conference-USA Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive end at Middle Tennessee State, Lattimore has proved he has the versatility, athleticism, and ability to play all four linebacker positions in the Packers defense, while being a key contributor on special teams.
Rookie outside linebacker Nate Palmer recorded two tackles and one sack on Chiefs quarterback Tyler Bray on Thursday. Palmer, who recorded 17 sacks in two seasons at Illinois State, has serious talent and a great knack for getting to opposing quarterbacks. Palmer’s numbers from Thursday may not seem like much, but this kid proved Thursday that if he can add a little more bulk, he can be a great pass rusher, period.
Rookie inside linebacker Sam Barrington recorded six tackles and one sack which resulted in a safety last night. Barrington played well defensively, but he seemed lost and often misplaced on special teams. Chiefs punt returner Frankie Hammond Jr. averaged 17.2 yards per punt return, and Barrington single-handedly looked to have missed some assignment on special teams. If the Packers believe Barrington will be used more often on special teams rather than on defense, this will potentially be a tough cut to swallow.
2nd-year linebacker Terrell Manning recorded four tackles last night, and he was quiet on defense. On special teams though, Manning is regarded as one of the Packers best kickoff and punt coverage players.
The Packers ultimatum is simple—keep a special teams ace like Manning, or stick with the more talented Barrington and hope he doesn’t screw up as often on special teams in 2013. A potential toss-up call between the two, we here at Packers 101 believe Green Bay will prefer the overall talent.
Undrafted rookie outside linebackers Donte Savage and Andy Mulumba combined to record one total tackle, and both are highly unlikely to make the Packers final 53-man roster.
FAVORITES TO MAKE ROSTER: Palmer, Lattimore, Barrington
Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House did not play last night, and it was maybe because House didn’t have to play—a sign that House will most likely return to Green Bay for his third season. In 2012, House was putting together a great training camp before injuring his shoulder in the first preseason game, and ended up missing half of the regular season.
In House’s place, wide receiver-turned-cornerback Brandon Smith recorded two tackles, one interception, and two quarterback hits. Smith shows he packs quite a punch at cornerback, but he also allowed two Kansas City touchdowns last night, as he lost focus and tripped in coverage on touchdown passes one and two, respectively. Despite the blown assignments, Smith possesses respectable cornerback size (6’1, 205), and good ball skills.
Cornerbacks James Nixon and Loyce Means combined to record one total tackle in the preseason finale. Nixon recorded four total tackles in the preseason, while Means recorded six total tackles.
Safety Chris Banjo was worth keeping an eye on last night, as McCarthy said he has been “very pleased” with Banjo since the Packers signed him at the start of training camp. Banjo cramped up during last night’s game but was able to return to action, recording two tackles, one sack, and two quarterback hits. Banjo showed off excellent athleticism on defense and special teams, and if the Packers feel they need a fourth safety, they may have found a guy who is perfect for them.
Safety Chaz Powell recorded eight total tackles and defended one pass, and safety David Fulton recorded three total tackles on Thursday night. Powell plays with attitude, which is what fans want to see from the Packers heading into the 2013 season. The problem though? Banjo has made more plays than both Powell and Fulton in the preseason, period.
FAVORITES TO MAKE ROSTER: House, Banjo
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