GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers started calling him "The Sackmaster" after his three-sack performance against the St. Louis Rams on Aug. 16.

The Green Bay Packers' trainers dubbed him "Shakespeare" because they said all he does is make plays.

And then in Friday night's preseason finale, Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy dubbed him "LeBron" after he had to come out of the game because he started to cramp up.

By Saturday, you could just call Jayrone Elliott an NFL player, and that would be just fine with him.

[+] EnlargeJayrone Elliott
AP Photo/Scott KaneGreen Bay Packers linebacker Jayrone Elliott finished the preseason with five sacks.
The outside linebacker from Toledo was one of two undrafted rookies to make the Packers’ roster. Defensive tackle Mike Pennel of Colorado State-Pueblo was the other.

When cut-down day came and went without a phone call from anyone in the Packers' personnel department, Elliott reported for the scheduled team meeting at 2 p.m., and it was all business. After three hours of meetings, Elliott had no plans to celebrate his new status as a bona fide NFL player.

"No, I've got a game Thursday, so tomorrow is our Wednesday," Elliott said Saturday evening. "We've got to get ready for Seattle."

Elliott likely solidified his spot on the Packers' roster with his fifth sack of the preseason on Friday against the Kansas City Chiefs. No one in the preseason recorded more sacks than the Packers' 6-foot-3, 255-pound rookie outside linebacker.

If he needed one last push, it came against the Chiefs.

Unlike his previous four sacks which came against backups who got released in the final cuts, Elliott had no trouble making plays against a starter. Working against the Chiefs' top right tackle Donald Stephenson, Elliott used a power move to sack Chase Daniel in the first quarter. One play earlier, Elliott showed his versatility by using a speed move to beat Stephenson to the inside. The third-year pro, who has 14 regular-season starts in his first two seasons, had no choice but to hold Elliott, and he was flagged for it.

There were times when Elliott wondered whether this day would come. He got only six snaps in the preseason opener and eight the next week.

"A couple of times it crossed my mind, because I thought I was doing everything I can to find some reps, and then some days you wouldn't get any reps," Elliott said. "Some days I got down on myself, but there were certain veterans that helped me pick my head up, guys like Jarrett Boykin, Andy Mulumba and Morgan Burnett. So I just had to stay around the vets as much as possible and keep my spirits up."

He tweeted that Saturday was like his draft day and posted a video on Instagram, but then it was back to business after briefly contemplating his journey and thinking back to earlier this offseason, when most veterans around the locker room did not even know his name and called him by his uniform number 91.

So what's next for Elliott?

"The same thing that got me here," he said. "Just go out every day and try to better myself and become a smarter football player. I know it seems like I made it, but you can still be cut at any time. You've still got to attack every day like it's your last, and you've still got to have that same chip."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers kept both backup quarterbacks after all.

Tolzien
 
Flynn
Flynn
 After initially leaning toward keeping only two quarterbacks, they opted to retain both Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien as insurance behind Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers began the day on Saturday thinking their needs at other positions would be too great to keep three quarterbacks, but they had more injured-reserve candidates at other positions than they initially thought -- they placed four players on IR -- and it opened up a spot for a third quarterback.

It would have been a significant risk to let either one of the backups get away, especially after the quarterback debacle of last season. It took them three tries -- Seneca Wallace, Tolzien and finally Flynn -- to find a quarterback who could win a game while Rodgers was sidelined for seven weeks because of his collarbone injury.

Keeping two backups -- something they had not done on their Week 1 roster since 2008 -- was the safe move for a team with realistic Super Bowl aspirations.

The Packers did not announce whether Flynn or Tolzien will serve as the primary backup, but Flynn started the first and fourth preseason games when Rodgers was held out.

The 29-year-old Flynn, who went 2-2 as a fill-in starter last season, has proven to be a good fit as a backup in Green Bay despite failing to win starting jobs in open competitions with the Seahawks (2012) and Raiders (2013).

In the long run, Tolzien, 26, may be the better prospect. He appeared in three games last season (including two starts) without the benefit of an offseason with the Packers, who first signed him to the practice squad last Sept. 2. A full year in coach Mike McCarthy's quarterback-friendly program led to a solid preseason; Tolzien actually had better numbers in the preseason than Flynn.

In four outings this summer, all in a backup role, Tolzien completed 38-of-56 passes (67.9 percent) for 477 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 112.0. Flynn, who started the first and last preseason games which Rodgers sat out, was 18-of-38 (47.4 percent) for 232 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 82.3.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings' roster is set at 53 players for now, although a NFL roster is always in some state of flux. That's important to remember with the Vikings' roster, particularly at a pair of positions where the team's depth suggests more roster moves could eventually be coming.

The Vikings kept just two tight ends on their roster, cutting Allen Reisner and Chase Ford (who'd missed all of training camp with a broken foot). They also purged their safety position after a open audition process for a starting spot opposite Harrison Smith, and now have just four safeties on the roster (Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo and rookie Antone Exum) after cutting Kurt Coleman and Chris Crocker and placing Jamarca Sanford on injured reserve.

While the Vikings didn't keep much depth at those positions, they stocked up at others, hang onto five running backs (Adrian Peterson, Matt Asiata, Jerick McKinnon, Jerome Felton and Zach Line) and keeping eight linebackers (Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Anthony Barr, Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, Audie Cole, Larry Dean and Brandon Watts). They'll also keep five receivers, though another roster move could come once Jerome Simpson finishes a three-week suspension. The team also retained nine of its 10 picks from this year's draft, only letting go of cornerback Kendall James.

What's important to remember is the Vikings' 53-man roster isn't a finished product. It could change by tomorrow if the team is interested in some of the veterans now on the open market, and will certainly change throughout the 2014 season. For now, though, here's how it looks:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
RUNNING BACKS (5)
WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
TIGHT ENDS (2)
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LINEBACKERS (8)
DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)
SPECIALISTS (3)
Most significant move: When coach Mike Zimmer brought safety Chris Crocker out of retirement for the third consecutive year and the Minnesota Vikings signed him to a one-year deal during training camp, it seemed likely the 34-year-old would make the roster and could possibly win the starting safety job next to Harrison Smith. Crocker, however, didn't even make the roster out of training camp, as the Vikings slashed a number of veteran safeties from their roster. Crocker was cut, along with free-agent addition Kurt Coleman, and the Vikings put safety Jamarca Sanford on injured reserve after he injured his quadriceps on a special-teams play against Kansas City. That means, after a long audition at safety, the Vikings will head into the season with just four: Smith, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo and rookie Antone Exum. Could another veteran pickup be on the way?

Show of faith in Joseph, Stephen: The Vikings' decision to release defensive tackle Fred Evans came as a bit of a surprise, considering the team re-signed Evans to a one-year, $1 million contract in March. But the move to let go of the veteran means the Vikings are confident in two things: that nose tackle Linval Joseph will be healthy for the start of the regular season after being hit in the leg by a stray bullet in a Minneapolis nightclub on Aug. 9, and that seventh-round pick Shamar Stephen can handle significant work at defensive tackle. Stephen saw plenty of playing time at both the three-technique and nose tackle positions during camp, and defensive line coach Andre Patterson remarked the Vikings got a steal in the draft. The decision to keep him means the Vikings stuck with nine of the 10 players they drafted in May (cornerback Kendall James was the only player cut).

What's next: The Vikings will be able to assemble their 10-man practice squad on Sunday; according to league sources, they're hoping to retain a number of the players they cut on Saturday, like wide receiver Kain Colter, tackle Mike Remmers and running back Joe Banyard. They'll begin practicing with their 53-man roster on Monday, as they prepare for the regular-season opener against the St. Louis Rams.

Vikings moves: G Jeff Baca, DT Chase Baker, RB Joe Banyard, WR Kain Colter, S Kurt Coleman, S Chris Crocker, DT Fred Evans, DT Isame Faciane, TE Chase Ford, WR Donte Foster, CB Kendall James, LB Justin Jackson, C Zac Kerin, CB Julian Posey, TE Allen Reisner, T Mike Remmers,, T Antonio Richardson (placed on injured reserve), S Jamarca Sanford (placed on injured reserve), DE Justin Trattou, RB Dominique Williams, LB Mike Zimmer
Most significant move: In the end, the Packers' decision to keep both backup quarterbacks -- Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien -- suggests they felt the third quarterback was more important than, say, an extra cornerback, safety or running back. Among the surprise cuts were cornerback Jumal Rolle, safety Chris Banjo and perhaps the fact that they did not keep a fourth halfback. In Flynn, they have a backup who has proven he can win games as a fill-in starter. In Tolzien, they have a possible long-term backup with a higher upside than Flynn, who has lost out in competitions for starting jobs in Seattle and Oakland. The Packers have not said who will be the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, although it's likely Flynn.

Light in the backfield: The Packers have three halfbacks -- Eddie Lacy, James Starks and DuJuan Harris -- that they feel good about. In fact, it might be their best halfback trio in a while, which is probably why they went light at this position. They also kept one fullback, John Kuhn, who can handle the ball-carrying duties in short-yardage and emergency situations. The previous three seasons, the Packers have kept at least five backs on their opening-day roster.

Undrafted rookies stick: As usual, the Packers found a couple of players worth keeping in the undrafted free-agent class. They kept two of them -- nose tackle Mike Pennel and outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott. Pennel, of Colorado State-Pueblo, could see some action at nose tackle after the loss of B.J. Raji to a season-ending torn biceps. Elliott, of Toledo, led the NFL in preseason sacks with five. By keeping Pennel and Elliott, the Packers have now had 15 undrafted rookies make their opening-day roster in the past five years.

What's next: The Packers have told many of the players they released on Saturday to stay in town while they make decisions on their practice squad. Look for them to sign a practice-squad running back, perhaps rookie LaDarius Perkins, and a couple of receivers after going light at both positions on the active roster. They also could still add players to their roster via waivers or free-agent signings. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, the Packers will work out guard Adam Gettis, who was released by the Redskins. Gettis was a fifth-round pick in 2012.

Packers moves: Four players were placed on injured reserve: T Aaron Adams, LB Nate Palmer, TE Jake Stoneburner and DT Khyri Thornton. Thornton was the highest draft pick (third round) not to end up on the roster. The following players were released: Banjo, Perkins, Rolle WR Kevin Dorsey, LB Jake Doughty, T John Fullington, C Garth Gerhart, WR Alex Gillett, DT Carlos Gray, RB Michael Hill, LB Adrian Hubbard, G Jordan McCray, S Tanner Miller, TE Justin Perillo, DE Luther Robinson, T Jeremy Vujnovich, WR Myles White and CB Ryan White.
Most significant move: After finishing last season on the injured because of a hamstring injury in training camp, veteran cornerback Kelvin Hayden made it through the preseason healthy and appeared to perform well throughout camp and the preseason to make the team. Perhaps Hayden became a victim of the numbers game, as the Chicago Bears decided to go into the regular season without him. The Bears drafted Kyle Fuller in the first round, and he turned heads throughout the preseason which likely gave the club enough confidence to use him opposite Charles Tillman on passing downs, while sliding Tim Jennings inside to the nickel. Hayden has proved to be a capable at both cornerback spots and at nickel. So by cutting Hayden the Bears lose solid veteran depth at corner.

Too little, too late: Eben Britton could be considered somewhat of a surprise cut. Britton played 13 games last season and started in four games, but pulled a hamstring early in camp which limited his availability throughout the preseason. Britton played in only the preseason finale at Cleveland because of the injury, and didn’t perform particularly well when called upon. Receiver Chris Williams entered training camp as one of the favorites to win the job as Chicago’s primary return man. But like Britton, Williams missed too much time because of a hamstring injury suffered Aug. 8 while catching a 73-yard touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles. Britton and Williams should catch on with other teams as both are capable of playing in the NFL. But hamstring injuries limited their opportunities to show what they could do for the Bears, and the team couldn’t give either the benefit of the doubt in making Sunday’s decisions.

Whacked again: Defensive end Austen Lane wrote this great account of what it’s like to get cut last year for The MMQB. At the time, Lane was getting ready to try again with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he’d eventually be cut again. Lane ended up appearing in two games with the Detroit Lions last season, only to be waived 22 days after the club signed him. The Bears signed Lane on Feb. 27, but the veteran failed to nab a roster spot in what seemed to be a logjam at the defensive end position despite performing solidly.

What’s next: With cuts now out of the way, the Bears will establish a 10-man practice squad by the end of the weekend before turning their attention to the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Team moves: WR Josh Bellamy, C Taylor Boggs, DT Brandon Dunn, LB Jerry Franklin, OG Ryan Groy, LB DeDe Lattimore, CB Al Louis-Jean, WR Dale Moss, DT Lee Pegues, DT Tracy Robertson, S Marcus Trice, WR Chris Williams, CB C.J. Wilson, OT Eben Britton, CB Kelvin Hayden, DE Austen Lane, S M.D. Jennings.
Most significant move: The biggest surprise among the Lions’ cuts came at the position with the toughest overall competition: wide receiver. Kris Durham was tabbed a starter last season when Nate Burleson was injured and a starter again during the preseason when Calvin Johnson sat out to rest. He also caught a touchdown in the preseason and showed sure hands as a tall wide receiver who could fill a role. Instead, Durham is on the waiver wire right now, the lone man out in a battle between Durham, Kevin Ogletree, Ryan Broyles and Corey Fuller.

Moore survives for one more: Lions coach Jim Caldwell spent most of the past two weeks deflecting questions on whether he would keep two or three quarterbacks on his roster. At least initially, he’s sticking with three as the Lions kept Kellen Moore for the third consecutive season. Moore outplayed No. 2 quarterback Dan Orlovsky throughout the preseason and clearly the Lions see enough from Moore right now to develop him.

What’s next: While the Detroit roster (depth charts will be updated shortly) is initially set, things could -- and almost certainly will -- change. Don’t be surprised if the Lions look at running backs, linebackers, cornerbacks, wide receivers and maybe offensive linemen on the waiver wire. It's also unclear what Detroit will do with injured linebacker Kyle Van Noy. If he needs to go to injured reserve/designated to return, that can’t happen until Tuesday, so one of the players cut (or someone else) could be coming back. Darryl Tapp might be a good candidate there.

Lions moves: Cut RB Mikel Leshoure; RB George Winn; FB Emil Igwenagu; WR Kris Durham; WR Patrick Edwards; WR Andrew Peacock; TE Jordan Thompson; TE Michael Egnew; OL Rodney Austin; OL Darren Keyton; OL Garrett Reynolds; OL Michael Williams; DE Darryl Tapp; DL Andre Fluellen; DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen; DT Xavier Proctor; LB Brandon Hepburn; LB Shamari Benton; LB Julian Stanford; CB Chris Greenwood; CB Mohammed Seisay; S Nate Ness. Waived/injured DeJon Gomes (was done Friday)
The Detroit Lions have had a very tight wide receiver competition -- and the one player who might have ended up cut is somewhat of a surprise.

Durham
The Detroit Free Press has reported the Lions are cutting WR Kris Durham, who started 13 games last season after an injury to Nate Burleson.

Durham had appeared to be safe initially, starting preseason games in place of Calvin Johnson, who the team was resting.

The Lions had signed Durham after Seattle waived him prior to the 2012 season. Durham told me he would spend Saturday watching college football, waiting to see if he would be playing in Detroit for another season. Durham had 49 catches for 645 yards and three touchdowns from 2011 to 2013.

"You never know what's going to happen," Durham said earlier this week. "As far as the emotions go, you're sitting there by your phone. You try to see if you get a phone call, sometimes it's a phone call that says 'Hey, congratulations.' I've been on the other side of that saying, 'Hey, bring your playbook.'

"It's one of those things where you know what you signed up for. Mentally, you kind of prepare yourself as much as possible for the worst and hope for the best."

Durham's release might mean good things for the other three players he was competing with for roster spots: Kevin Ogletree, Ryan Broyles and Corey Fuller.

Here's a list of players who have been reported as waived or released by various outlets as of 1:15 p.m. ET: RB George Winn, RB Mikel Leshoure; WR Kris Durham; OL Darren Keyton; OL Garrett Reynolds; OL Michael Williams; DE Darryl Tapp; LB Brandon Hepburn; LB Shamari Benton; CB Mohammed Seisay; S Nate Ness.

The Lions must be down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET.
Since the beginning of the 2013 season, Mikel Leshoure has just wanted a chance to play and prove himself.

Leshoure
It now appears he will be attempting to do that somewhere other than with the Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting the Lions will waive Leshoure, one of the team's two second-round picks in 2011, as part of their cuts down to a 53-man roster.

Leshoure lost his starting job to Joique Bell last season and appeared to be fighting for a roster spot since the beginning of offseason workouts in April. He never really established himself during the preseason and ended up having to contend with George Winn, a 2013 undrafted free agent brought in who ended up taking some carries from Leshoure.

Unlike Winn -- who is still not guaranteed a roster spot with Leshoure's release -- Leshoure was barely used on special teams, which is an issue for any depth running back.

Leshoure, who went to Illinois, had 217 carries for 807 yards and nine touchdowns for Detroit -- all but two of those carries and nine of those yards coming during the 2012 season.

Cutting Leshoure also means the Lions only have one player left from their 2011 draft class: defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who was taken in the first round. Leshoure is also one of a litany of second-round picks -- including fellow 2011 second-rounder Titus Young -- who didn't really work out for Detroit.
Sanford
MINNEAPOLIS -- Safety Jamarca Sanford, who missed most of the Minnesota Vikings' offsesason program and preseason with a spate of injuries, will spend the season on injured reserve, according to a league source.

Sanford's latest injury, a quadriceps strain he sustained while playing special teams in the Vikings' third preseason game against Kansas City, didn't seem likely to keep him out for the entire season, but the move allows the Vikings to retain his rights for the 2014 season. Sanford will be a free agent after the season, but the Vikings could re-sign him, instead of letting him leave for another team sometime this season.

The team has also released defensive tackle Fred Evans, according to a league source, which bodes well for both Linval Joseph's health and rookie Shamar Stephen's chances of making the team.

Joseph, who was struck in the left calf by a stray bullet in a nightclub shooting on Aug. 9, said last week he will be ready for the Vikings' regular-season debut on Sept. 7. Vikings coaches had also spoken highly of Stephen, a seventh-round pick from Connecticut who had played both the nose and three-technique tackle positions during the preseason, and it seems unlikely the team would release Evans if it didn't expect Joseph to be ready and Stephen to be ready for significant playing time as a rookie.

The Vikings have to reduce their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers are leaning heavily toward keeping just two quarterbacks, according to a source familiar with their thinking.

Tolzien
Flynn
Flynn
That means general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy will have to decide between Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien as Aaron Rodgers' backup.

Despite much better preseason numbers by Tolzien, the decision is not that clear-cut.

In fact, the Packers could be leaning toward Flynn because he has proven he can win games in the regular season as a backup.

Tolzien was winless in three games last season, including two starts. He was pulled in the Nov. 24 game against the Vikings, and Flynn rallied the Packers from behind to a tie. Flynn then went 2-2 as a fill-in starter before Rodgers returned from his collarbone injury.

However, with a full offseason to develop, Tolzien made huge gains. For the preseason, he completed 38 of 56 passes (67.9 percent) for 477 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, which equates to a passer rating of 112.0. Flynn was 18-of-38 (47.4 percent) for 232 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 82.3.

The Packers need three quarterbacks to run practice so if they keep just two on the 53-man roster, they will need to sign one to the practice squad. Tolzien still has practice-squad eligibility but would have to clear waivers first. It's a chance the Packers might be willing to take.

The Packers have begun making cuts. The following players have been released already, according to their agents, other league sources and media reports (this will be updated throughout the day):
  • T Aaron Adams (to injured reserve, knee).
  • T John Fullington
  • CB Ryan White
  • LB Jake Doughty
  • RB Michael Hill
  • RB LaDarius Perkins
  • S Tanner Miller
  • WR Alex Gillett
  • C/G Jordan McCray
  • S Jumal Rolle
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers could be in the market for another offensive lineman, whether it is through a trade, waiver claim or free agency.

If they were going to keep a fourth offensive tackle, it likely would have been first-year pro Aaron Adams, who spent all of last season on their practice squad. But the knee injury Adams sustained on the Packers' second play from scrimmage in Thursday's preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs turned out to be season-ending.

Adams tore both his ACL and MCL on the play, according to a league source. When the Packers make their final cuts on Saturday, Adams will be placed on injured reserve.

The Packers have eight offensive linemen who are locks to make the final cut. One of those eight, projected starting center JC Tretter, won't be able to play for at least the first month of the season because of the knee injury he sustained last week.

That would leave the Packers with only two healthy backups, tackle Derek Sherrod and guard Lane Taylor.

The Packers have at least two other injuries from the preseason finale to consider before Saturday's cuts. Rookie defensive end Khyri Thornton sustained a hamstring injury that his agent, Rodney Edwards, said on Friday could keep the third-round pick out for a few weeks. Also, second-year linebacker Nate Palmer sustained a knee injury, but the severity was not known.
The preseason is over and on Thursday night, many Detroit Lions starters did not play a snap against Buffalo.

But many players battling for roster spots did.

Here’s a peek and some analysis on the defensive snap counts:

DEFENSIVE ENDS:

Tapp
Larry Webster 29 snaps (48 percent); Darryl Tapp 25 snaps (42 percent); George Johnson 23 snaps (38 percent); Devin Taylor 23 snaps (38 percent); Ezekiel Ansah 15 snaps (25 percent).

Analysis: The Lions are still trying to get Webster as much experience as possible to try and work him into a rotation player as soon as possible. Nothing else to really read into here.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES:

Xavier Proctor 29 snaps (48 percent); Jimmy Saddler-McQueen 29 snaps (48 percent); C.J. Mosley 21 snaps (35 percent); Andre Fluellen 20 snaps (33 percent); Nick Fairley 13 snaps (22 percent); Caraun Reid 13 snaps (22 percent).

Analysis: This went about as expected other than Reid, who appeared to have some sort of injury in the game. But Proctor and Saddler-McQueen are players Detroit wanted to get one last look at, perhaps for practice squad decisions.

LINEBACKERS

Tahir Whitehead 28 snaps (47 percent); Travis Lewis 26 snaps (43 percent); Julian Stanford 25 snaps (42 percent); Brandon Hepburn 23 snaps (38 percent); DeAndre Levy 7 snaps (12 percent); Stephen Tulloch 7 snaps (12 percent); Shamari Benton 2 snaps (3 percent).

Analysis: With Kyle Van Noy out, the Lions played Whitehead probably more than they would have liked. Lewis needed to continue to show linebacker skills. That Benton played fewer snaps than the starters is not a good sign for his roster chances.

CORNERBACKS

Chris Greenwood 40 snaps (67 percent); Nevin Lawson 31 snaps (52 percent); Cassius Vaughn 29 snaps (48 percent); Mohammed Seisay 25 snaps (42 percent); Bill Bentley 21 snaps (35 percent); Darius Slay 15 snaps (25 percent).

Analysis: Rashean Mathis didn’t play and Slay didn’t need to do much, especially once Sammy Watkins left the game. The Lions needed to play Greenwood a lot since he is on the roster bubble and likely wanted to give Lawson as many snaps as possible. Seisay’s 25 snaps feel like an attempt to hide a good player for practice squad purposes.

SAFETIES

Jerome Couplin 45 snaps (75 percent); Isa Abdul-Quddus 40 snaps (67 percent); Nate Ness 25 snaps (42 percent); Glover Quin 10 snaps (17 percent).

Analysis: With Don Carey and James Ihedigbo not traveling, there were a lot of snaps for Couplin, Abdul-Quddus and Ness to have one last chance to impress. Couplin again showed up a lot of places and seems to be close to a roster spot. Abdul-Quddus intercepted another pass. With Carey and Ihedigbo’s status unknown, he’s almost a lock for the roster at this point.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers fell from atop the ESPN #NFLRank list.

But he's still the highest-ranked quarterback.

The Green Bay Packers star slipped to No. 2 in the second annual offensive player list, flip-flopping spots with Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, but Rodgers remained on top of the quarterback class. He edged out Denver's Peyton Manning (No. 3 overall).

Other quarterbacks in the top 10 were New Orleans' Drew Brees (No. 6) and New England's Tom Brady (No. 7).

According to ESPN Stats & Information, since Rodgers became the Packers' starting QB in 2008, his 3.67 touchdown-to-interception ratio is the best in the NFL. His Total QBR of 74 during that span is second only to Peyton Manning (80).

The Packers finished with nine players in the top 100 combined on offense and defense. Only four teams – San Francisco (15 players), Seattle (13), New England (10) and Denver (10) – placed more players on the lists.

Here are the Packers in the rankings:

Defense
No. 95: CB Sam Shields
No. 81: DT B.J. Raji
No. 50: OLB Julius Peppers
No. 14: Clay Matthews

Offense
No. 77: G Josh Sitton
No. 66: WR Randall Cobb
No. 60: RB Eddie Lacy
No. 34: WR Jordy Nelson
No. 2: QB Aaron Rodgers
The preseason is over and on Thursday night, many Detroit Lions starters did not play a snap against Buffalo.

But many players battling for roster spots did.

Here’s a peek and some analysis on the offensive snap counts:

QUARTERBACKS:

Moore
Kellen Moore 56 snaps (77 percent); Dan Orlovsky 17 snaps (23 percent)

Analysis: Moore was going to get the majority of snaps in Buffalo. Orlovsky remains the No. 2 quarterback as Moore waits to find out if he has a roster spot or has to go through waivers. Moore had a strong preseason, though, and will give coaches something to think about.

RUNNING BACKS:

George Winn 31 snaps (42 percent); Mikel Leshoure 26 snaps (36 percent); Theo Riddick 18 snaps (25 percent).

Analysis: Reggie Bush and Joique Bell didn’t play. Riddick didn’t see much time as the third back. This was a final audition for both Winn and Leshoure, and neither one stood out. Winn had the most carries for the second straight game and should be ahead of Leshoure on a roster spot fight if the team keeps either one.

FULLBACKS:

Emil Igwenagu 22 snaps (30 percent); Jed Collins 5 snaps (7 percent)

Analysis: Montell Owens didn’t play, probably meaning he’s on the roster. Jim Caldwell said he wanted to take a long look at Igwenagu and he got it, although not sure how much he really saw.

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Ryan Broyles 36 snaps (49 percent); Jeremy Ross 26 snaps (36 percent); Andrew Peacock 23 snaps (32 percent); Kris Durham 23 snaps (32 percent); Kevin Ogletree 23 snaps (32 percent); Patrick Edwards 23 snaps (32 percent); Corey Fuller 20 snaps (27 percent).

Analysis: No need for Calvin Johnson or Golden Tate to play. That Broyles was in the game so late was somewhat curious -- and leads to some question about his potential roster spot. That said, I have Broyles on my final projection. Fuller receiving the least amount of snaps again leads me to think the team might be trying to hide him for the practice squad.

TIGHT ENDS:

Jordan Thompson 27 snaps (37 percent); Joseph Fauria 22 snaps (30 percent); Eric Ebron 21 snaps (29 percent); Michael Egnew 20 snaps (27 percent).

Analysis: Nothing to read into here, although the team took a look at Egnew. Still don’t think he fits anywhere on the roster.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE:

Cornelius Lucas 56 snaps (77 percent); Michael Williams 56 snaps (77 percent); LaAdrian Waddle 17 snaps (23 percent); Corey Hilliard 10 snaps (14 percent); Riley Reiff 7 snaps (10 percent).

Analysis: Waddle received the start and it is still unclear who wins that right tackle between him and Hilliard. That Lucas and Williams received the same number of snaps, to me, means that’s still a really tight competition for the fourth tackle spot. Could be close to a 50-50 decision there.

INTERIOR LINEMEN:

Rodney Austin 66 snaps (90 percent); Travis Swanson 57 snaps (78 percent); Darren Keyton 55 snaps (75 percent); Garrett Reynolds 33 snaps (45 percent); Larry Warford 7 snaps (10 percent).

Analysis: Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims sat with no real reason to play. Warford played sparingly as the Lions needed to get some work for reserves. Reynolds getting the start was curious to me. That Austin played so much Thursday night makes me wonder if he is more on the roster bubble than previously thought, with both Keyton and Reynolds pushing him.

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