Instant Analysis: The Final Roster

Packer Report weighs in after the moves left the Packers with two quarterbacks, three fullbacks, one backup offensive tackle, a new No. 5 receiver and a shaken-up defensive backfield.

Packer Report provides instant analysis of the 53-man roster — which may or may not be set in stone ahead of next week's season opener vs. Chicago.

Quarterbacks (2)

Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn.

— Surprise: That Brian Brohm was released. Clearly, general manager Ted Thompson and the coaches weren't impressed with his simplistic 20-of-28 performance against Tennessee.

— Instant analysis: Is another move on the horizon? Minnesota released John David Booty, Oakland released Jeff Garcia, Philadelphia likely will deal A.J. Feeley and Tampa Bay likely will deal Luke McCown.

Halfbacks (3)

Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, DeShawn Wynn.

— Surprise: That Tyrell Sutton was released. Sutton was the team's most productive back in the preseason.

— Instant analysis: Why did they get rid of Sutton? If Grant goes down, who is most capable of being in the game for 45 snaps? Jackson. It it's third-and-10, who do you want protecting Aaron Rodgers? Wynn. Sutton can play in this league and the Packers will be sorely disappointed if they can't put him on the practice squad.

Fullbacks (3)

Korey Hall, John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson.

— Surprise: That they kept three.

— Verdict: This is called keeping your best players. Neither Hall nor Kuhn nor Johnson played well enough to be released, so they kept all three. Last year, the Packers used a fullback (or two) on 28.7 percent of their offensive snaps. In that light, three fullbacks seem like overkill. This would seem like a place to make a trade, but not many teams use a fullback.

Wide receivers (5)

Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Brett Swain.

— Surprise: That Swain beat out Ruvell Martin.

— Verdict: To be certain, Martin is not a game-changing player. But it's shocking that the Packers went with Swain. With Driver, Jennings, Jones and Nelson, the Packers don't need a playmaker as a fifth receiver. They need a role player who is a tall target, isn't afraid to block and gets along well with the others. The 6-foot-4 Martin was all of that, and then some. And it's not like the 6-foot Swain was some sort of force in the preseason with three catches for 25 yards, compared to six for 47 for Martin.

Tight ends (3)

Donald Lee, Jermichael Finley, Spencer Havner.

— Surprise: None.

— Verdict: This is a huge strength. Lee is a proven, solid starter, while Finley looks like he's primed to be a fantasy football player's best friend. Maybe Finley's development as the tall, athletic pass-catcher is why Martin was deemed expendable. Havner played his way onto the team because he can actually play the position, not because he can play defense and is a special-teams standout.

Offensive line (9)


Scott Wells
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Chad Clifton, Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, Josh Sitton, Allen Barbre, T.J. Lang, Breno Giacomini, Scott Wells, Evan Dietrich-Smith.

— Surprise: That they're so short at offensive tackle with the release of Jamon Meredith and the trade of Tony Moll.

— Verdict: This is a surprising-looking group, with only Giacomini as a pure tackle among the backups. Meanwhile, they've got fourth-round Lang (guard, though he's taken a few snaps at right tackle), the veteran Wells (center) and undrafted rookie Dietrich-Smith (guard-center) for the interior spots. Maybe a move is looming here, too. If something happens to Clifton, strike up the band, because musical chairs will begin with Colledge moving to left tackle, Spitz probably moving to left guard and Wells stepping in at center.

Defensive line (6)

Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, B.J. Raji, Jarius Wynn, Michael Montgomery.

— Surprise: None.

— Verdict: With the decision to put perpetually injured Justin Harrell on injured reserve, picking this six was easy. Wynn and Montgomery aren't the requisite 300 pounds to play at end, so that's a concern if one of the top four gets injured. Wynn, the sixth-round pick out of Georgia, has been a real surprise.

Linebackers (9)

Aaron Kampman, Brady Poppinga, Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews III, Jeremy Thompson, Brad Jones, Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop.

— Surprise: None.

— Verdict: No surprises here, but outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene no doubt is hoping undrafted Cyril Obiozor makes it to the practice squad, though he was so impressive in the preseason that there's a good chance he'll be claimed on waivers. This is the unquestioned strength of the team, and while there might not be one dominant all-around force, defensive coordinator Dom Capers has a lot of toys at his disposal.

Secondary (10)

Charles Woodson, Al Harris, Nick Collins, Atari Bigby, Tramon Williams, Will Blackmon, Brandon Underwood, Derrick Martin, Jarrett Bush, Aaron Rouse.

— Surprise: That Anthony Smith was released.

— Verdict: The decision to cut Smith came out of left field. Last week, defensive coordinator Dom Capers hinted that Smith and Bigby were competing for the starting job at safety. One game later, Smith was released despite his deep knowledge of the scheme and his making a few big plays in the first three preseason games. With Blackmon a question mark for Week 1 with a bruised thigh, with Underwood a rookie who took his lumps in the preseason and with Pat Lee banished to injured reserve, the Packers were desperate for a corner and decided to trade Moll to Baltimore for fourth-year pro Martin, who can play corner and safety and has proven special-teams production.

Special teams (3)

Mason Crosby, Jeremy Kapinos, Brett Goode.

— Surprise: None.

— Verdict: Crosby and Kapinos need to get off to good starts; Crosby hit only 5-of-10 field goals in the preseason and the specter of Derrick Frost still looms over the punting situation.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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