GREEN BAY, Wis. — By the time the Green Bay Packers are set to begin their first preseason game Saturday night in Tennessee, training camp will already be nearly halfway over.
The four preseason games over the course of the next 20 days could change things a lot for the Packers. But, based on Green Bay’s first 10 training camp practices, here is FOXSportsWisconsin.com’s current predictions for the Packers’ 53-man active roster for the 2014 regular season.
Analysis: Five seasons have passed since the Packers last kept three quarterbacks on their active roster heading into Week 1. But after what happened last season with Aaron Rodgers’ injury and the way the backup quarterback position wasn’t ready behind him, this seems like the right time to keep Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn. Plus, Tolzien can no longer be a practice-squad player, so it’s active-roster-or-bust for him.
Analysis: This position is likely set. Eddie Lacy is coming off a Rookie of the Year season and has two very capable running backs in James Starks and DuJuan Harris waiting to get on the field. There doesn’t seem to be much reason for Green Bay to keep Michael Hill or the two undrafted rookies, Rajion Neal and Ladarius Perkins — though both have had their positive moments in camp.
Analysis: The season-ending torn ACL to fifth-round pick Jared Abbrederis, along with seventh-round pick Jeff Janis missing the first seven practices with shingles, opened the door wide open for one or two other wide receivers to make the team. If this position only keeps five, White is the likely choice. Myles White put on 12 pounds to his smaller frame this offseason and has been consistent in his routes and has been catching nearly every pass sent his way. Kevin Dorsey and Janis don’t make it in this prediction, but that could change. Dorsey’s involvement in a lot of first-team special teams groups helps him, while Janis’ spectacular touchdown catch in his first full-contact practice on Thursday opened a lot of eyes.
Analysis: The Packers have two high-upside, low-experience tight ends with Richard Rodgers — a third-round pick this year — and Brandon Bostick. Andrew Quarless is the steady veteran capable of playing extended snaps if Rodgers and Bostick aren’t quite ready yet. Ryan Taylor makes it mostly as a special teams player, but if Green Bay finds other quality players who can contribute on special teams and who do more at their position than Taylor, he could be out. Colt Lyerla’s knee injury eliminates him from contention, but keep an eye on the possibility of Jake Stoneburner making a jump in the next three weeks.
Analysis: Don Barclay’s season-ending torn ACL hurt the overall depth of the Packers’ offensive line, as he was the top backup at both guard spots and right tackle. Corey Linsley and Derek Sherrod would have made the roster anyway, but Lane Taylor now steps into the role of backing up both Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang. Aaron Adams would likely be the next tackle to make it, if Green Bay decided to keep another.
Analysis: The inability of Jerel Worthy and Letroy Guion to get on the practice field yet has significantly hurt both of their chances. It’s getting very close to the point when there just won’t be enough chances left for them to make up for all the lost time. Mike Pennel got a snap as the starting nose tackle in the most recent practice session, so if the Packers keep six, he’d likely be it. Keep in mind that with the "elephant position" being introduced into defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ scheme this season, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal and Nick Perry will also spend a bit of time on the defensive line.
Analysis: This is six outside linebackers and four inside linebackers. It should be noted that Carl Bradford is still being used as an outside linebacker, despite the idea from some that he’ll eventually move inside. Undrafted rookies Joe Thomas and Jayrone Elliott have been very good in training camp, and both have a shot to make the active roster. Andy Mulumba hasn’t flashed much in 10 practices and appears to be in danger of being this year’s Dezman Moses — an undrafted player who makes the team as a rookie but doesn’t make it in Year 2.
Analysis: Sixth-round pick Demitri Goodson has struggled through 10 practices. He’s been beat on multiple occasions by backup quarterbacks and wide receivers who don’t project to make the team. If the Packers’ cornerbacks stay healthy (which they have so far), there’s not really a need for Goodson. The way it is it could be difficult for Davon House to get snaps. Plus, with Micah Hyde able to move to slot cornerback, he somewhat counts in this group.
Analysis: Sean Richardson has done everything he could possibly do to make an impression. His spot on the active roster is moving close to being a guarantee. Chris Banjo is on the bubble, but he’s done well in practices and has a role on special teams, too.
Analysis: No competition in training camp for any of their three jobs makes this one easy.