From 1 to 89: Familiar Faces

This could be a key training camp for Alex Green, John Kuhn, Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams. Plus, it's time for B.J. Coleman to challenge Graham Harrell.

As we've done in past years, we're counting down the Green Bay Packers' roster, from No. 89 to No. 1.

These rankings are not simply based on skill. Players were ranked on their importance to the team. Skill, a player's position, the depth of his position group, the odds he contributes, salary and draft history all play a part in how a player is ranked. More than the ranking itself, hopefully you will learn a little something about each of the 89 players in the process.

No. 45: Forgotten third-rounder

Remember Alex Green?

The Packers used a third-round pick in 2011 on the powerful runner out of Hawaii. Coming from a spread offense, he seemed a good fit for Green Bay, which uses a heavy dose of one back and four receivers.

Instead, Green's rookie season ended after four games, three rushes and one reception due a torn ACL while blocking on a kickoff return. He failed to impress in 2012, losing the starting job to Cedric Benson early and DuJuan Harris late. Green led the team with 464 rushing yards — the lowest team-leading figure since Darick Holmes in 1998. His 3.4-yard average was horrible, and his 2.1 yards after contact per rushing attempt ranked 38th out of 48 running backs who received 25 percent of their teams' snaps, according to He caught only 18 of 28 passes thrown his way, and didn't make a single tackler miss on those receptions.

In fairness to Green, he never was 100 percent back from the injury — and he never complained about it.

Healthy and comfortable with the playbook, Green finally is poised to show his skills. Of course, he'll be fighting for playing time with rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin and returning players Harris and James Starks. There's no guarantee Green makes the team; then again, he could be a key cog of the offense.

"I think we've got flashes and glimpses from before the injury," running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said. "I'll tell you, that's a tough kid in room. The guys worked his butt off through all that stuff last year and came back and didn't play at 100 percent and never complained one time. I know I've got a hard worker. I'm excited to see him another year healthier and his explosion and everything he brought to the table before the injury."

No. 46: Coleman's opportunity

B.J. Coleman, a seventh-round pick last year, spent all of his rookie season having his mechanics retooled on the practice squad. He has a gung-ho attitude and a big-time arm. That's why a scout told Packer Report before last year's draft that Coleman has the potential to garner two first-round picks in a trade in a couple of years.

"B.J. has improved tremendously from last year," quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo said. "Fundamentally, he's come a long way and still has a ways to go. Because in the drill work, he's a lot better. When you carry it over to the team stuff, (only) some of that carries over. You have to carry everything over into the team drills. He's getting better at the system, how to protect himself and the reads and the footwork that go along with the pass game, but he still has some work cut out for him. At the same point in time, in training camp, when we go out there and are competing for jobs and not to improve, he's got a chance. It's an open competition."

Coleman felt fortunate to get a year to learn the craft so he can make a run at unseating Graham Harrell as the No. 2 quarterback.

"It's been good to sit there and watch how we attack a defense, how we attack a game week," Coleman said. "And then the physical stuff — quarterback school has been great. Going out, learning just the little minute details — whether it be in a drop, rolling left, rolling right, understanding how to keep your shoulders downfield before you take the throw, that stuff's important, and stuff I really hadn't heard before. It's good to be able to fine-tune that stuff because it really gets everything in sync."

No. 47: Popular vet on thin ice?

John Kuhn is practically a folk hero. Every time he gets the ball, 70,000-plus fans at Lambeau Field and a sizable portion of the crowd at road games yell, "Kuuuhn!" He's rewarded the fans — and coach Mike McCarthy's unwavering trust — with 19 regular-season touchdowns and six playoff touchdowns in six seasons. He's caught 15 passes in each of the last three seasons with a total of four drops.

Could Kuhn's time in Green Bay be coming to an end?

Kuhn has been the team's short-yardage rusher. Rookie Eddie Lacy presumably will take over that role. Kuhn has served as the third-down back since Brandon Jackson's free-agent departure. Rookie Johnathan Franklin has a good shot at taking over that role.

That leaves the traditional fullback lead-blocking role. Kuhn isn't a sledgehammer blocker but he takes good angles and gets the job done more often than not. According to's snap counts, Kuhn blocked on 130 running plays, or about eight snaps per game. Could undrafted rookie Jonathan Amosa be a better (and cheaper, given Kuhn's $2.54 million cap number) option? Could the blocking role be turned over to the tight ends?

No. 48: Quarless' return

One of the tight ends who could pick up some of the fullback slack could be Andrew Quarless. Quarless had emerged as the best blocker among the tight ends in 2011 before a devastating knee injury cost him the end of that season and all of 2012.

"He spends a lot of extra time here," McCarthy said. "He has done an excellent job in the area of strength and conditioning and nutrition, so I really look for him to make an impact and definitely give us that player that we all felt that he was coming on there at the end of his rookie year. He's the one guy that has shown the ability to play on the line and off the line, and we're challenging the other tight ends to do so. He can clearly play all four positions for us in the tight end playbook."

To stay involved last season, tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot enlisted Quarless to putting together the weekly game plan tests for his group. He'll need to be on top of his game — mentally and physically — to emerge from a talented group.

"My goal for this season is really just to prove to myself I can get back out there and do it," Quarless said. "I do want to be the best tight end to play the game but first I've got to take little steps and just get back out there. I don't want to rush it too much but I definitely have high expectations for myself. But again, I just need to get back out there and prove to myself I can really get out there and do it again."

No. 49: Time to step up

One of those talented tight ends is D.J. Williams. There were high hopes for Williams as a fifth-round pick in 2011 after catching 54 passes as a senior, 32 as a junior and 61 as a sophomore at Arkansas. Instead, he caught two passes as a rookie and seven in 2012, despite shining throughout training camp.

With Jermichael Finley, Quarless, Matthew Mulligan and Ryan Taylor bringing experience to the position, and some promising young talent in Brandon Bostick and Jake Stoneburner, the Packers are loaded at tight end. Williams could be a major asset — he's become a good blocker and could serve as a pinch-hitter at fullback — or he could be asked to turn in his playbook.

"He had the big play today down the middle of the field," McCarthy said during the final weeks of OTAs. "It's the kind of ability he has. He has big-play ability from the tight end position and has done a good job on special teams, continues to get better. I look for him to take a big step there once training camp hits. We can't have enough tight ends. D.J.'s very versatile and can play all the different positions. Very smart, distinctive, catches the ball very well."

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

Packer Report Top Stories