The Green Bay Packers made seven transactions before the start of Tuesday’s practice to get down to the 75-man roster limit before the 3 p.m. Central deadline.
In the big move, they traded outside linebacker Lerentee McCray to Buffalo for an undisclosed 2018 draft pick. The Packers also released speedy receiver Harvey Binford and placed tight ends Kennard Backman (knee) and Mitchell Henry (hand), running back John Crockett (shoulder), center Jacob Flores (knee) and guard Josh Walker (knee) on injured reserve.
Without Crockett, undrafted rookie Brandon Burks is the front-runner to be the No. 3 running back. He scored a nifty 19-yard touchdown vs. the 49ers but will have to show he’s up to the task in pass protection. Otherwise, the Packers could be scanning the waiver wire for their new No. 3 runner.
“It’s just really important to get on the same page with those guys about how important protection is,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on Tuesday. “Once you understand your protection rules, how can you get to your route and run that most effectively? James (Starks), I think, is a prime example of a guy who has really improved in that area over the years of picking up blitzes, understanding his route and finding ways to get open. He’s excellent in the screen game. It’s something that takes times. I was impressed with Crock – he was doing a good job – and Burks has done a good job, as well.”
Walker was in contention for a roster spot on a deep offensive line. Now, with Walker on injured reserve and center Corey Linsley (hamstring) seemingly destined to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, the competition is less muddled. The starting five of David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, J.C. Tretter, T.J. Lang and Bryan Bulaga and second-round pick Jason Spriggs are the locks. That leaves guard Lane Taylor, utilityman Don Barclay and sixth-round pick Kyle Murphy in good shape to join those six in forming a nine-man platoon.
The Packers face Kansas City on Thursday night. The final cutdown to 53 must be made by 3 p.m. on Saturday.
“As I've said before, and any of us in this business will say, this is really a difficult time,” Thompson said. “So we try to do it with respect and take care of our guys.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.