The Green Bay Packers must cut their roster to 75 players by Aug. 30 and to the final 53 by Sept. 3.
Time is running out for those players on the bubble, with two preseason games and four full practices remaining.
Here’s how the roster is shaping up. Players are listed in order of the pecking order displayed at practice and during games. We have 43 “locks” and 57 “worthy” of a roster spot.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley, Joe Callahan, Marquise Williams. Locks (2): Rodgers and Hundley. Worthy (2): Rodgers and Hundley. The decision: There’s not much of one here. Callahan has outplayed Williams for a spot on the practice squad. The only intrigue is whether there’s a better option for the practice squad, like when the Packers signed Scott Tolzien in 2013.
Running backs: Eddie Lacy, James Starks, John Crockett, Brandon Burks, Brandon Ross. Locks (2): Lacy and Starks. Worthy (3): Plus Crockett. The decision: Crockett has gone a long way toward sewing up a roster spot as the No. 3 back. He’s been a consistent performer, while Burks has only flashed on occasion.
Fullbacks: Aaron Ripkowski, Alstevis Squirewell. Lock (1): Ripkowski. Worthy (1). The decision: No decision here. Ripkowski is the fullback and Squirewell, a defensive lineman at Division II Newberry, is worth a year of grooming on the practice squad.
Wide receivers: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis, Ed Williams, Jamel Johnson, Herb Waters, Harvey Binford. Locks (5): Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Abbrederis, Montgomery. Worthy (8): Plus Janis, Allison and Davis. The decisions: What do the Packers do with Janis? Will they keep him on the roster and wait for his broken hand to heal, or does he go on injured reserve to create a spot for someone else? Partially linked to that question, what’s the fate of Allison and Davis? Chances are, with teams so invested in their own players, the Packers might be able to stash the towering Allison and the speedy Davis on the practice squad. It would help if those two turned in a couple of mediocre performances in the final preseason games.
Tight ends: Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo, Kennard Backman, Mitchell Henry, Casey Pierce. Locks (3): Cook, Rodgers, Perillo. Worthy (3). The decision: All Perillo does is catch every pass that’s thrown his way. The same can’t be said for Backman, though he’s been better in that regard for the last week or two.
Offensive line: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, J.C. Tretter, Jason Spriggs, Lane Taylor, Don Barclay, Josh Walker, Kyle Murphy, Matt Rotheram, Lucas Patrick, Josh James, Jacob Flores, Kyle Steuck. Locks (7): Bakhtiari, Sitton, Linsley, Lang, Bulaga, Tretter and Spriggs. Worthy (11): Plus Taylor, Barclay, Walker and Murphy. The decision: Who and how many? The Packers kept nine last season. They have to keep at least that many because Bakhtiari, Sitton, Lang, Tretter and Barclay will be free agents. Taylor has been OK in camp but played well when thrust into duty last season. Barclay appears to have settled in at center, though once Linsley is healthy, the Packers will be set at that position. Walker impressed against Rams stud Aaron Donald during two-plus quarters last season. Back after a lengthy absence due to a concussion, Murphy flashed his potential vs. Oakland.
Defensive line: Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Dean Lowry, Kenny Clark, Mike Pennel (suspended), Christian Ringo, Brian Price, Tyler Kuder, Demetris Anderson. Locks (5): Daniels, Guion, Lowry, Clark and Pennel. Worthy (5). The decision: Pennel will not count on the roster during his four-game suspension, so the Packers will carry an additional defensive lineman to start the season. If the Packers are looking for strength, it’s Price. If the Packers are looking for an attacker, it’s Ringo.
Outside linebackers: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Jayrone Elliott, Datone Jones, Lerentee McCray, Kyler Fackrell, Reggie Gilbert. Locks (6): Matthews, Perry, Peppers, Elliott, Jones and Fackrell. Worthy (7): Plus McCray. The decision: McCray has outplayed Fackrell but Fackrell was a for-the-future third-round pick, anyway. He’s got plenty of quickness. He needs to add strength. His ticket to playing on Sundays will be special teams. Keeping six or seven might hinge on decisions at receiver and offensive line.
Inside linebackers: Sam Barrington, Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas, Carl Bradford, Beniquez Brown, Derrick Mathews. Locks (3): Barrington, Martinez and Ryan. Worthy (5): Plus Thomas and Bradford. The decision: This has become an incredibly intriguing position because of the depth that’s been developed. Ryan’s hamstring injury might have ended his bid to be a starter, but the play of Thomas and Bradford have been impressive. Thomas, who’s in his third training camp with the team, is playing with more pop than ever. Bradford finally seems to have figured out the happy medium between aggressiveness and patience that’s required at the position. And don’t rule out Brown making a charge.
Cornerbacks: Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter, Robertson Daniel, Demetri Goodson (suspended), Josh Hawkins, Randall Jette, Makinton Dorleant, Warren Gatewood. Locks (4): Shields, Randall, Rollins and Gunter. Worthy (6): Plus Daniel and Goodson. The decision: Daniel is closer to “lock” than “bubble.” He’s played well and has value on special teams. As is the case for Pennel, Goodson wouldn’t count against the 53-man roster while serving his suspension. His absence to start the season is a major blow to the special teams, which is without Janis. Goodson and Janis were the gunners for most of last season. Of the four undrafted rookies, Hawkins has been the best but probably hasn't been good enough to be on the right side of the bubble.
Safeties: Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde, Chris Banjo, Kentrell Brice, Jermaine Whitehead, Marwin Evans. Locks (4): Burnett, Clinton-Dix, Hyde and Banjo. Worthy (5): Plus Brice. The decision: The Packers don’t need a fifth safety, but only Allison has been more impressive than Brice among the undrafted rookies. Whitehead can play in the slot as well as safety, so he brings value. Evans isn’t a bad prospect, either.
Specialists: K Mason Crosby, P Tim Masthay, P Peter Mortell, LS Rick Lovato. Lock (1): Crosby. Worthy (1). The decision: While Mortell has had the upper hand over Masthay in the games, Masthay has been the clear winner in the practices. Masthay’s experience and history — he owns the top five net punting averages in franchise history — give him the edge. Lovato had a challenger for all of one day but the team hasn’t brought in another since Jesse Schmitt sustained a broken hand on his first snap. Still, the Packers don’t really need an in-house challenger. They need only scan the daily transactions.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.