Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis

September, 1, 2012
9/01/12
12:23
AM ET
Most significant move: For weeks, outsiders have called for the Packers to make a trade or look outside of the organization for a backup quarterback. General manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy put all of their faith in Graham Harrell as the backup to Aaron Rodgers. They even raised the stakes by cutting seventh-round choice B.J. Coleman, leaving the Packers with only two quarterbacks on the roster. Harrell doesn’t have a strong arm, but he has been in the system. He finished the preseason with a strong showing. Rodgers has been able to stay healthy, only relying on former backup Matt Flynn to fill in for him for two starts. Many felt the Packers needed to make a move for a Colt McCoy or another veteran who would fit in the West Coast offense. It’s a gamble, but one the Packers were willing to make

Onward and upward: You have to figure the Packers go for offensive line help. They only kept two backups, veteran Evan Dietrich-Smith and Don Barclay. Derek Sherrod went on the physically unable to perform list so he’s unavailable until mid-season. The Packers are solid for starters with Marshall Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga at tackle, T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton at guard and Jeff Saturday at center. It’s not surprising the Packers cut most of the backups they brought to camp. Many were undrafted players from the past couple of years. It was a little surprising they released Andrew Datko, but they could be trying to get the seventh-round choice on the practice squad. The Packers figure to bring some of the released linemen to the practice squad.

What's next: Defensive coordinator Dom Capers ended up with six rookie draft choices and two undrafted rookies, safety Sean Richardson and rookie linebacker Deszman Moses, among the 26 defensive players on the roster. Caper’s mission is getting those eight young players to contribute to a defense that was one of the worst in football last season. The Packers have to feel good about the depth along the defensive line. C.J. Wilson moved into a starting role at defensive end and is backed up by veteran Phillip Merling and second-round choice Jerel Worthy. They also have fourth-round pick Alex Daniels. That’s so much better than a couple years ago when they had to take a veteran or two off the street to fill in at end. Capers has two rookies starting at linebacker, D.J. Smith on the inside and Nick Perry on the outside. Draft choices Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillian offer plenty of skills for the secondary but they aren’t being asked to start, yet.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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