Few roster spots open as preseason finale looms

The final preseason game of the year usually is a showcase for players fighting to grab a roster spot. That's not the case for the Packers.

With most of last year's key players back, few roster spots were open when camp began. Little has changed: Few roster spots are open as camp closes and the final cutdown to 53 players looms on Sunday.

Packers coach Mike Sherman said as much Wednesday. Asked how many roster spots could be won Friday against Tennessee, Sherman said: "Oh, one, two, three, four ... maybe five."

Even the most causal observer can rattle off those possible job vacancies.

1. No. 3 quarterback: Tim Couch vs. Craig Nall vs. Scott McBrien.

2. Punter: Third-round pick B.J. Sander vs. 15-year-veteran Bryan Barker.

3. No. 5 wide receiver: Scottie Vines vs. Carl Ford vs., maybe, Kelvin Kight.

4. Defensive line: The Packers will keep 10 defensive linemen. Starters Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Cletidus Hunt, Grady Jackson and Aaron Kampman are locks. Same goes for reserves Kenny Peterson, Corey Williams and James Lee. That leaves Cullen Jenkins, Tyrone Rogers, Larry Smith, Kenny Holmes and Chukie Nwokorie fighting for three spots. Nwokorie has missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and Smith has a nagging quad injury that could linger into the season. Those injuries could allow Sherman to put off the decisions at this position by placing the duo on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which would shut them down for the first six weeks of the regular season.

The "maybe five" opening would be at:

5. No. 3 tight end: Steve Bush seems to have the upper hand over Tony Donald.

6. Offensive line: The Packers will keep nine offensive linemen. The team is extremely high on rookie center Scott Wells. A biceps injury slowed him at the midpoint of training camp, opening the door a bit for Jason Jimenez or Atlas Herrion.


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