Practice Squad Extends Roster

While disappointed they lost Tyrell Sutton to Carolina, keeping Brian Brohm and Jamon Meredith provides vital depth at positions where the regular roster is short-handed. Joining Brohm and Meredith are Jake Allen, Cyril Obiozor, Trevor Ford, Kregg Lumpkin, Ronald Talley and Anthony Toribio.

Of the three players the Packers reluctantly released on Saturday, they were able to sneak two onto the practice squad.

While Green Bay lost impressive undrafted rookie running back Tyrell Sutton to the Carolina Panthers' 53-man roster, the Packers were able to retain fifth-round left tackle Jamon Meredith and undrafted linebacker Cyril Obiozor on Sunday.

Illustrating the depth he believes he had on his team for training camp, general manager Ted Thompson's eight-man practice squad is made up entirely of Saturday's cuts. Joining Meredith and Obiozor are first-year wide receiver Jake Allen, second-year quarterback Brian Brohm, undrafted rookie cornerback Trevor Ford, second-year running back Kregg Lumpkin, undrafted rookie defensive end Ronald Talley and first-year nose tackle Anthony Toribio

Not only do the Packers feel these players are good developmental prospects, but they act as extensions of the regular roster.

Thompson said the Packers aren't shopping for a third quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn "right this second." So, if something happens to Rodgers or Flynn can't get past his sore throwing shoulder, Brohm is available to fill the void.

"One thing I'll say to start with is Brian is continuing to make progress. I think his most recent preseason game was his best outing," Thompson said during his Sunday afternoon press conference.

Meredith fortifies an offensive line that has only one true offensive tackle (Breno Giacomini) among four reserves on the 53-man roster.

"He's coming along. I thought he competed very well," Thompson said of Meredith. "Actually, this last game was his best game. He played guard in college (as a senior at South Carolina), and I think the move to the outside is something you've kind of got to experience. I think that is what he needs. I think he needs experience. Again, we feel very happy that we were able to get him on our practice squad."

Toribio provides a fallback should either of the nose tackles, starter Ryan Pickett and backup B.J. Raji, is injured. Talley provides a strong and talented option should there be an injury at defensive end or rookie sixth-round pick Jarius Wynn struggles.

While the Packers lost Sutton, they were able to retain Lumpkin, who had a solid preseason finale and showed some promise last year before his season ended with an injured hamstring. Still, considering the promise Sutton showed as a change-of-pace back, seeing him land in Carolina was a disappointment.

"Yeah, he is a very good player, just like he was at Northwestern," Thompson said. "It came down to where we felt like we had a number of good backs and keeping the three fullbacks was a factor in this. We're sorry to lose him. Gave him a big hug today and he'll do fine."

Of the eight, the one with perhaps the biggest upside is Obiozor. Obiozor, a big and athletic rookie who blossomed during training camp under outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, was a victim of the numbers at the Packers' deepest position. But with Aaron Kampman a free agent after this season, Obiozor is a solid developmental prospect.

"I do like Obiozor. If I didn't like him, I probably wouldn't say anything to him," said Greene recently of his penchant for yelling both praise and criticism at the rookie from Texas A&M. "Think about that. I like him. He's got a good heart, he's a good kid. I want to coach him with a firm hand to improve as a football player."

Quick hits

Here's what Thompson had to say about ...

— Releasing Ruvell Martin with Brett Swain: "There were some really painful moments over the weekend, and that was clearly one of the more painful ones. Ruvell was everything you asked of in a Packer. He's a good player, he's a great person, a great teammate, well-respected by his peers. At the same time we felt that Brett had earned a spot on the team. Quite frankly they both had, and it just came down to trying to decide what to do. Probably special teams was the deciding factor."

— Essentially replacing Anthony Smith with Derrick Martin: "It was just a thing, we had an opportunity to get a player from Baltimore that kind of fit what we were looking for. A little bit of a corner, a little bit of a safety, special teams. It just came down to that."

— What he saw in Martin: "He's a very active guy. He's got good feet. We studied him quite a bit out of Wyoming a couple of years, actually three or four years ago. We liked him then, and as we talk about a lot, a lot of our moves that we make on the pro side are based first and foremost of what we thought of him in college, and we thought he was a good player. He's a thicker lower body guy. We thought even then he would have the ability to play inside, and the fact that he does have that versatility and he's a good special teams player."

— Keeping three fullbacks: "I think it was a thing where we felt like they all three earned a spot on the team. It's a little bit unusual but we felt like there was value in all of those guys. Korey (Hall) and John (Kuhn), who have been with us, are excellent special-teams players, good fullbacks, and we think Quinn Johnson has the ability to be a special player. Again, that cost roster spots in other areas that wouldn't normally happen but we felt like it was worth it."


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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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