Here’s a look at the Green Bay Packers’ roster, as it stood following Saturday’s cut to 53 players. This is not the final roster, a point driven home by the lack of a long snapper.
Two-time MVP Rodgers and promising second-year player Hundley form arguably the top tandem in the league. Did Callahan make it solely on merit? Did he make it for fear he wouldn’t get through waivers to place on the practice squad? (With that team being Minnesota, the Week 2 opponent.) And is he there only as insurance to make sure Hundley gets past a sprained ankle?
FB Aaron Ripkowski
Lacy had a great preseason and will be joined by Starks. They must drastically reduce their combined total of nine fumbles from last season. Burks, an undrafted free agent, had a solid training camp and preseason. But will he last until Monday after general manager Ted Thompson scans the waiver wire? He’s a solid prospect but his size makes him almost a nonfactor on special teams.
Seven is a huge number. Once Nelson (knee), Janis (broken hand) and Davis (shoulder) are healthy, will all seven stick around? Perhaps. It will be interesting to see if Nelson is ready for 20, 40 or 60 snaps at Jacksonville after not playing in the preseason. There’s a lot of special teams value with Montgomery, Janis and Davis. The big question is at No. 3 receiver. Will it be Adams? Abbrederis? Will they share the reps? And how does Montgomery, who struggled with drops, figure in the rotation?
Picking this three-man platoon was a no-brainer. After an excellent training camp, Cook figures to be the No. 1 tight end.
LT David Bakhtiari
C J.C. Tretter
RG T.J. Lang
RT Bryan Bulaga
G Lane Taylor
C/G/T Don Barclay
OT Jason Spriggs
OT Kyle Murphy
Who will start at left guard after the release of Josh Sitton? Taylor, who started twice last season, and Barclay, with 23 career starts, are the likely candidates. Playing mostly at center, Barclay had the better training camp but Taylor did well in his opportunities last year. The depth has been eroded with Corey Linsley going on PUP, Sitton’s release and Josh Walker’s injury. Murphy is a project after being overwhelmed by Dadi Nicolas’ speed on Thursday night.
Daniels and Guion form a fine tandem but the depth is almost nonexistent. Clark missed the last two preseason games with a sore back. Neither he nor Lowry lit the world on fire but they’ll be asked to play considerable snaps from the get-go. Ready or not. With Mike Pennel’s four-game suspension, Ringo won the job as the No. 5 — unless a better option is found on waivers.
The depth is outstanding behind Matthews and Perry. Peppers and Jones will provide depth at outside linebacker and be two of the key interior rushers on passing downs. Elliott faded after a hot start to training camp but is a stalwart on special teams. Fackrell had an up-and-down preseason but piled up six tackles for losses vs. Kansas City.
Where’s the depth? Is it Matthews? A safety? It’s a surprise that both Sam Barrington and Carl Bradford were released. Martinez and Ryan will start, and Martinez will be the dime inside linebacker. The Packers will have to be careful to not wear down Martinez, who will play all three downs and on special teams.
Shields and Randall will start, with Rollins entering in the nickel package and Gunter being the next man up. Hawkins and Dorleant, a pair of undrafted rookies, got the nod over Robertson Daniel for the final spot with Demetri Goodson's suspension. Daniel had the size at 6-foot-1 but Hawkins had the playmaking production with two interceptions. Dorleant played in only one preseason game due to hamstring injuries. Upside notwithstanding, he’s the oddest name on the not-yet-final 53.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Burnett and Clinton-Dix are one of the league’s top tandems. It’s hard to imagine any team has six safeties on their roster, with undrafted Brice and Evans making the cut and joining the returning foursome. Brice was dynamite throughout camp and the preseason. Unbelievably, Evans didn’t get drafted, wasn’t signed immediately after the draft and wasn’t signed after Seattle’s rookie camp. It’s hard to believe that the rest of the league missed so badly on his talent.
K Mason Crosby
P Jacob Schum
LS (Brett Goode)
The special teams shakeup continued. After punter Tim Masthay was released and replaced by Schum on Tuesday, the Packers cut snapper Rick Lovato on Saturday. Brett Goode, the former long snapper who tore his ACL at Oakland on Dec. 20, worked out on Friday. He will be the replacement, according to ESPN.com. The Packers will have to release one player to sign him.
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.