Roster set … for now

The Green Bay Packers have reached decisions on players that they do not want on their team at this time, but look for general manager Ted Thompson to make more moves in the next few days to fill at least two vacancies on the 53-man roster. PackerReport.com's Todd Korth explains Green Bay's moves today, including comments from Thompson.

Running back Najeh Davenport, defensive lineman Kenny Peterson and wide receiver Rod Gardner were among the 19 players that Green Bay released today in reaching the NFL-mandated limit of 53 players. The Packers also placed three players on injured reserve.

The roster moves by Thompson actually left the Packers with 51 players, including 11 rookies, two short of the limit, but in need of depth along the offensive line and at wide receiver.

Besides Gardner, Peterson and Davenport, the Packers also released wide receivers Corey Rodgers, Carlton Brewster and Chris Francies, tight end Zac Alcorn, safeties Atari Bigby, Tra Boger and Jeremy Modkins, fullback Ben Brown, kicker E.J. Cochrane, cornerbacks Patrick Dendy and Antonio Malone, linebackers Roy Manning and Tim Goodwell, guard Siitupe Peko, defensive end Dave Tollefson and center Pete Traynor.

Running back Arliss Beach , tackle Josh Bourke and cornerback Mike Hawkins were placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.

The final cuts left the Packers with four wide receivers, eight offensive linemen and three safeties. While Thompson said that he does not plan to make any more moves today, he will be keeping a close eye on the waiver wire to add at least two more players. Teams have until 11 a.m. (CT) Sunday to place a claim on a player. At the same time, teams can establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 45-player active list for less than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season.

It is very possible that the Packers will attempt to sign some of the players that they released today for their practice squad.

In the meantime, Thompson declined to comment on if he was interested in recently released Detroit wide receiver Charles Rogers, but the Packers are in need of play-makers on offense and they might want to take a flyer on the former No. 2 pick of the 2003 NFL draft.

"Rosters … at this point of the season, it's mandatory that you get down to a certain level," Thompson said. "Everybody else is doing the same thing, then rosters will get shuffled around a little bit over the course of the next few days."

Davenport rushed for 1,068 yards on 217 carries (4.9 avg.) with seven touchdowns in his four seasons with the Packers. Injuries, including a broken ankle that he sustained last season, kept him from playing on a consistent basis. "It was difficult," Thompson said. "He's been here, he's done a good job and has done everything we asked. He battled through some injuries. We had some teams inquire about him, but nothing came to fruition. We just felt like we wanted to keep a few other guys. This way, Najeh, I'm sure will be working somewhere tomorrow."

Peterson also dealt with injuries during his first two seasons. He barely made the roster last season, playing in all 16 games, but he sustained an ankle injury on Aug. 10 and missed a number of practices. He attempted to return this week and played in the first quarter of the final preseason game against the Titans, but re-injured his ankle and was carted to the locker room.

"Kenny is a great guy," Thompson said. "He's been a credit to the Green Bay Packers. It's just the way it worked out. He had the injury and a difficult time. We had a young kid that came along and played real well. That's just the way it worked out."

Rookie free agent Jason Hunter from Appalachian State is the young kid that unseated Peterson from the roster. Hunter displayed an ability to rush the quarterback this preseason, including Friday against the Tennessee Titans.

Rogers, the first of two fourth-round picks by the Packers this year, struggled catching punts in practices and during preseason games. He was drafted by the Packers to take over for the departed Antonio Chatman, but he totally lost his confidence, especially in Friday's game when he dropped a punt and failed to catch any passes. By releasing Rodgers, the Packers will eat the signing bonus of $465,000 that he received on the four-year deal that he signed this summer.

"It's difficult to cut anybody, but in terms of critiquing my job, which is to evaluate talent, I wish that would have worked out better," Thompson said. "It just didn't work out this time (with Rodgers)."

Gardner was signed for the final two games of last season. He is the big receiver that coach Mike McCarthy and his staff prefer, but he had a relatively quiet training camp.

The Packers are quite thin along the offensive line, so look for Thompson to add a lineman in the next day or two. As it stands, second-year pro Junius Coston will serve as the main backup at tackle and guard, and second-year pro Chris White at center and guard.

Thompson made note that the Indianapolis Colts have kept seven or eight on their roster over the course of the last three seasons.

While the Packers have fewer than the usual nine offensive linemen, the Packers also opted to keep four tight ends, one more than usual, in Bubba Franks, Donald Lee, David Martin and Tory Humphrey.

"We just felt like we were blessed to have tight ends, and felt like it didn't make sense not to keep them," Thompson said.

Green Bay's wide receiver corps also may get some help. Thompson opted to keep Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Robert Ferguson and Ruvell Martin. But it is quite likely that another receiver will be added to the mix. While Gardner played his way off the roster, Martin played his way onto it by participating in the team's off-season workout program, not missing a practice and showing an excellent ability to use his 6-foot-4, 217-pound frame to catch the ball and run after the catch.

Beach sustained a high ankle sprain during Green Bay's preseason game at Cincinnati, which is the reason he was placed on injured reserve. Hawkins, a second-year pro, injured his hip against the Titans, but it was minor, Thompson said. Hawkins also has been battling a knee injury. Bourke's calf injury has affected his back, Thompson said, so the Packers chose to place him on IR.


Packer Report Top Stories