Cutdown Saturday: Offense Analysis

We take a position-by-position look at the decisions that shaped the 23 players who survived the cut on offense. Among the big ones: Jeremy Ross vs. three rookies at receiver and James Starks vs. Alex Green.

It might not be a finished product, but here's a look at the offense and special teams following Cutdown Saturday.

WR (5): Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross

Reaction: In the end, it came down to Ross vs. Tyrone Walker, Myles White and Charles Johnson. Ross is more NFL-ready, especially on special teams, where he's a big-play threat as a returner, was a No. 1 on the kickoff team and has served as the personal protector on the punt team. As the fifth receiver, nothing matters more than special teams. Walker's fumble against the Chiefs did him no favors. His lack of size works against him on special teams. White, the offseason standout, didn't emerge in camp and has limited special-teams value, as well. Johnson simply missed too much time due to a hamstring injury, and he dropped two passes at practice last week.

OL (8): LT David Bakhtiari, LG Josh Sitton, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, RG T.J. Lang, RT Don Barclay; G Lane Taylor, C/G Greg Van Roten, T Marshall Newhouse

Reaction: Newhouse was the only lock among the backups. Not that the Packers want to go down this road, but if would be interesting to see if he's the first lineman off the bench should there be an injury to one of the starters, regardless of position. In other words, would Van Roten be better at guard than Barclay going to guard and Newhouse going to tackle? Taylor and Van Roten were better in pass protection than run blocking. Turning to the starters, the Packers will be starting three fourth-round picks and two undrafted free agents due to injuries to former top picks Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod.

TE (4): Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, Brandon Bostick

Reaction: Finley and Taylor were the locks. It probably wasn't quite this cut-and-dried but that left two major decisions: Quarless vs. Matthew Mulligan and Bostick vs. D.J. Williams. Mulligan was the unit's top blocker but offered little in the passing game, while Quarless is more well-rounded but carries a big injury risk. Bostick has enormous upside in the passing game but that's all it is — upside — while Williams has shown he can block and play special teams but not consistently catch the ball in game situations. In going with Bostick, it was vintage Ted Thompson in choosing a player who has potential and casting aside a player who hasn't lived up to his potential.

QB (2): Aaron Rodgers, B.J. Coleman

Reaction: The Packers have the worst backup quarterback situation in the league. Then again, had they kept Vince Young, that still might have been true. Coleman flashed his potential during the last two weeks of practice but the games are what matter. In two preseasons, he's completed 40.4 percent of his passes, and he hit on just 41.2 percent this summer. It certainly wouldn't be a surprise if the Packers weren't done at this position — even beyond adding Scott Tolzien to the practice squad.

RB (4): James Starks, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin; FB John Kuhn

Reaction: The Packers have gone to painstaking lengths to limit injuries, and yet they kept Quarless at tight end and Starks over Alex Green at running back. Based purely on running the football, it was an easy choice. Starks is a quality runner and a load to bring down in the open field. His career average is 4.0 yards per carry. The black eye, of course, is that he's played in 27 games and missed 28 games in his career. Green lacks Starks' running instincts and ability to set up blocks. He's 100 mph all the time, which is an asset when there's an opening, like against Seattle, but a problem when he's running into his blockers. His career average is 3.4 yards per carry. Green, a third-round pick in 2011, carries a cap hit of $257,500. At fullback, Kuhn went from on the bubble to slam dunk. Franklin, an excellent pass protector at UCLA, hasn't been nearly as good against NFL talent. Thus, Kuhn got the nod, even with a $1.8 million base salary.

SPECIAL TEAMS (3): K Mason Crosby, P Tim Masthay, LS Brett Goode

Reaction: No surprises here. Crosby won the job, plain and simple. The question is whether the Crosby, who made all six field-goal attempts in the preseason and got hot last week, will be the one who shows up every Sunday.

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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

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