Running for a job

Logjam of players in offensive backfield get final chance to make impression tonight

Tonight's final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans is a very important game for those vying for jobs in the Green Bay Packers offensive backfield.

It appears that the Packers will carry five running backs on their roster, and it also appears that four of the five jobs are set. Head coach Mike McCarthy named Korey Hall as the starting fullback on Tuesday and it also appears that three of the halfback jobs will go to Vernand Morency, Brandon Jackson and Noah Herron.

That means Brandon Miree, DeShawn Wynn and Corey White might be fighting for one job. Miree is strictly a fullback, while Wynn and White are primarily halfbacks, but can play fullback. If Wynn or White don't make the final roster, they both have a chance to make the practice squad.

Morency has been sidelined with a knee injury since the first day of practice, July 28, but will hopefully be ready for the opener against the Eagles. Jackson has been the starter all pre-season, but will sit out the Titans game due to a concussion. But McCarthy is very satisfied with the rookie from Nebraska. "I'm very comfortable with Brandon Jackson", McCarthy said. "With his attempts and the way he is showing progress."

Herron looks to be the third down back, as he catches the ball well and is more assignment sure than the rest of the halfbacks. Blocking is critical in blitz pickups, and Herron right now is a much better blocker than Jackson. Jackson does have good ability catching the football, so his blocking will be a key factor in staying on the field on third down.

Miree needs a good game Thursday night to make the team and be the second fullback. Miree lost time in training camp due to a stinger injury Aug. 4. Ironically, the injury didn't occur while he was playing fullback.

"Believe it or not, it happened on special teams," Miree said. "I was running downfield and busted up a wedge."

Miree said the stinger is getting better. "There aren't any reoccurring symptoms or anything like that, just some stiffness, by other that that, it feels great."

Wynn needs to show what he can do on Thursday night after missing the first three pre-season games. McCarthy does like what he sees when Wynn is healthy. "He is a talented young man, who has very quick feet," McCarthy said. "He is a full load."

Wynn can't wait to show something as well. "That's (one game) is all I got. I'll have to roll with that. Practice is definitely helping out to make me feel more confidant. But I have to make some big plays in the game and show the coaches something."

White may be the most consistent back thus far in pre-season. McCarthy likes what he sees, and he likes the versatility.

"Corey is a young man that we wanted to play at both positions (HB and FB)," McCarthy said. "We were playing Corey at the fullback position today. It's important to this offense because a lot of the responsibilities as to what you are reading are very similar at the HB and FB positions. You are always looking for a guy who has durability and the ability to play both positions."

White knows that is important to be able to play both positions.

"Some people can't play both, so I feel that I have a real advantage." White hopes that he can make the squad and impress the coaches enough. "The coaches told me that the more I can do, the better your chances of staying around," White said. "So I try to show that I got the heart and guts to do either one to the best of my ability. I don't think there is much to it. You just have to practice hard and give it all you got."

So how will all of this play out? I think Miree may have the toughest road to make this squad again. He did start three games last year at fullback, but had injury issues last year as well. Look for either Wynn or White to make the roster and the other one will be placed on the practice squad.

If I had to lean one way or the other, I would say that White will make the team based on not missing practice, his versatility and his performance in games. But the REAL test will come tonight. Time will tell. That and performance.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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