Analyzing the roster cutdown

Manuel had to go; ultra young backfield is scary; dumping Miree unfortunate

When the Green Bay Packers announced their 53-man roster on Saturday, a few things immediately stood out.

Marquand Manuel had to go. His stay in Green Bay was nothing short of disastrous. The Packers would have been better off with Mark Roman there last season. Manuel's play was abysmal and even worse he seemed to have a negative impact on Nick Collins, who struggled last year after having such a promising rookie season. Packers general manager Ted Thompson should shoulder the blame for bringing Manuel in, but he also deserves credit for cutting the cord on something that clearly wasn't working.

The most unfortunate cut was fullback Brandon Miree. Miree appeared to have a great deal of potential last year, but he was never the same player after he was injured. I know the coaching staff is in love with Korey Hall, but the thought of the Packers starting two rookies in the backfield should scare the hell out of everyone.

Watching Hall knock the crap out of opposing players was one of the highlights of the preseason and there's no question that the guy is going to be a force on special teams, but let's keep in mind that first of all, he's a rookie and secondly, he is playing a position that is new to him after playing linebacker at Boise State.

This isn't a knock on Hall, Brandon Jackson or the Packers' offensive line, but the Packers will enter the season with probably the worst running back tandem in the NFL. If the Packers are able to manage even 1,000 yards on the ground this season it will be no small miracle. Remember that only Indianapolis' Joseph Addai was able to rush for more than 1,000 yards as a rookie.

With so many questions at running back, let's be prepared to see a lot of three-receiver sets with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones.

I have a sneaky feeling that between Jackson and the injuries to Vernand Morency and Noah Herron, the Packers may have a revolving door at running back, similar to the 2005 season when Ahman Green, Najeh Davenport, Tony Fisher, ReShard Lee and Samkon Gado all took turns as the starting running back. If that's the case, it will be a long season. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

The decision to keep rookie Mason Crosby over Dave Rayner was also the right one. While both hit the majority of their kicks, Crosby consistently seemed to have the stronger leg. Both kickers had excellent training camps and Rayner isn't likely to be unemployed for long.

Keeping two quarterbacks was a stroke of brilliance. If, God forbid, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers both go down in the same game, the Packers can use receiver Carlyle Holiday there and then the next day can have their pick of quarterbacks who are available. With one phone call they can have Ingle Martin back and there always seems to be someone like Todd Bouman available. Why waste the roster spot on a third quarterback who is going to do nothing but hold a clipboard?

Dylan Tomlinson

Dylan Tomlinson is a frequent contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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