Hot Hits

Roster Depth: Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett has proven he can take over for nose tackle B.J. Raji when necessary.

Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett has proven he can take over for nose tackle B.J. Raji when necessary.

Depth is important. Whether we like it or not, injuries happen — and when they do somebody needs to step up, because NFL opponents offer no quarter and every game is important.

In this four-part series, we are taking a look at each team in the NFC North, noting where they could be strong with depth and where they have weaknesses. Previously we probed the Detroit Lionsscoped the Minnesota Vikings, and explored the Chicago Bears. The specimen under our microscope today is the Green Bay Packers. They won the division last year; do they have the depth to sustain another championship run?

Quarterback

This is the Mike McCarthy system: boom or bust behind starter Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy is known for getting the most out of quarterbacks, and if Rodgers went down, it would become quickly apparent just how good he is at developing them. It worked out well for seventh-round pick Matt Flynn, who signed a lucrative deal with the Seattle Seahawks before being traded to the Oakland Raiders.

Graham Harrell, the current No. 2 man, knows the system but is completely unproven. Second-year player B.J. Coleman, who spent last season on the practice squad, may even battle Harrell for the job.

Diagnosis: Unknown depth

Running back

There are plenty of bodies in the backfield, but someone needs to step up to become the bell cow. Rookie second-round round pick Eddie Lacy from Alabama has a great chance to finally solidify the running back spot for Green Bay. With the right run blocking, productive rookies can become starters at a position that is easy to excel at early in their career.

DuJuan Harris was a nice flash in the pan late last season, handling the ball 36 times and averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He only averaged 2.8 ypc in the Wild Card Round but performed well in the Divisional Round, grinding out 53 yards on 11 carries for one touchdown. Can he keep up this production? If not, he stands to lose his job to speedy back Johnathan Franklin, picked up in the fourth round out of UCLA.

James Starks remains on the roster but never can seem to stay healthy or put together a string of consistent production. However, he is an excellent option as a fourth back.

Fullback John Kuhn is also known to pound the rock.

With fullback John Kuhn toting the rock, the Green Bay Packers are a virtual lock to have the most productive run game in the league.

With fullback John Kuhn toting the rock, the Green Bay Packers are a virtual lock to have the most productive run game in the league.

Diagnosis: Good workhorse and speed depth

Wide receiver

The receiving corps is thinner than it has been in the past. In McCarthy’s system, James Jones and Randall Cobb could handle things if No. 1 receiver Jordy Nelson went down, while Cobb and Nelson should handle things if Jones, the No. 2 receiver, went down. If two go down at the same time, Green Bay could finally have a problem, having lost Greg Jennings to free agency and Donald Driver to old age. There is no one to cover for Cobb in the slot because both Nelson and Jones are better suited on the outside.

Jarrett Boykin, Charles Johnson, and Jeremy Ross have some talent but have yet to prove anything in this league.

Diagnosis: Good depth at No. 1 and No 2 WR; no depth in the slot or at No. 4 WR

Tight end

The tight end unit is well stocked with complementary parts. Jermichael Finley can stretch the field and is a decent blocker. Matthew Mulligan is a stud blocking tight end. Andrew Quarless, who finally seems to be healthy, is the jack of all trades. D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor also have some upside.

Diagnosis: Very good depth

Offensive tackle

The offensive line will be sporting a new configuration this year. Bryan Bulaga moves to left tackle and Marshall Newhouse moves to right tackle, where he will battle with Don Barclay for the starting job. Derek Sherrod, a former first-round pick, has had a second surgery and is an unknown at this point. If he can stay healthy, he could be a great option behind Bulaga. On the other hand, if Bulaga goes down, McCarthy could just plug Newhouse in at left tackle and Barclay or Sherrod on the right.

Fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari has some upside but is a complete unknown.

Diagnosis: Good depth

Guard/Center

The guards are trading places as well, with Josh Sitton now manning the left guard slot and T.J. Lang assuming right guard duties. Behind them are only Greg Van Roten and rookie J.C. Tretter.

In the past, Evan Dietrich-Smith was the backup at both guard spots, but he is now the starting center. He will be backed up by Garth Gerhart, a shaky second-year player.

Diagnosis: Poor depth

Defensive end

Rookie Datone Jones, veteran Ryan Pickett, a finally healthy Mike Neal, second-year player Mike Daniels, and C.J. Wilson comprise the defense ends. There are no superstar pass rushers at this group, but Jones Jones has the best shot at becoming one.

Second-round pick Jerel Worthy may start the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list due to an ACL injury sustained late last season, but if he can get healthy, he could help out in the pass rush.

Formerly a very solid player, Johnny Jolly returns this year and may have a shot to make the roster.

Diagnosis: Good depth

The Green Bay Packers will be counting on defensive tackle Johnny Jolly to return the line to dominance in 2013.

The Green Bay Packers will be counting on defensive tackle Johnny Jolly to return the line to dominance in 2013.

Nose tackle

B.J. Raji is the starter. Ryan Pickett would most likely shift over if Raji went down.

Diagnosis: Decent depth

Outside linebacker

Stud pass rusher Clay Matthews III remains very important because there is no one behind him. Green Bay made due without him for 4.5 games in 2012, but that doesn’t change the fact that Dezman Moses isn’t the greatest Matthews replacement. Moses would do just fine in relief of Nick Perry, though.

Terrell Manning has some upside as well.

Diagnosis: No depth at No. 1 OLB; solid depth at No. 2 OLB

Inside linebacker

The Packers are solid in the interior with A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, and Desmond Bishop. Robert François also has some experience at a position that is typically plug-and-play in the 3-4 defense.

Diagnosis: Good depth

Cornerback

This secondary can go four deep at cornerback, with Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, and slot specialist Casey Hayward all varying from solid to good year to year. Davon House is a very good fourth cornerback with experience in the system; he was productive last year in 300 snaps.

Jarrett Bush is more of a special team player but he knows the system and is a decent fifth cornerback. Rookie Micah Hyde has some off-field issues but some upside as well.

Diagnosis: Excellent depth

Safety

Morgan Burnett and either M.D. Jennings or Jerron McMillian will be the safety tandem. They lost some depth here with the departure of Charles Woodson, so if Burnett goes down they might struggle. On the other hand, McMillian and Jennings are largely interchangeable.

The fourth safety spot will go to either Chaz Powell and Sean Richardson.

Diagnosis: Decent depth

458 comments
zombieslayer
zombieslayer

I'm just happy to see Shields signed.  Now not too worried about the CB position.

LKP
LKP

Great Scott. The Lions signed Jake Scott

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

Gas is up to $4.15/gal. Fuckers!

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

How good can your depth be if your starters suck?

 ✔

What's in a stat?

Fumbles: 

ESPN: Griffin 9, Vick 7, Kaepernick 7, Rodgers 0

Pro Football Reference: Griffin 12, Vick 11, Kaepernick 9, Rodgers 5


bp.
bp.

QWOP is hard.

Going to bed.

BYE

 ЯD
ЯD

@niemerg1 Interesting. It looks like Gmail changed their favicon today.

 ЯD
ЯD

@niemerg1 But yes, no one has a corporate sense of humor like Google. I think they'd be a blast to work for. They give you 20% personal time in which you are allowed to work on any wild hare-brained scheme you'd like. They don't even care if it fails miserably.

 ЯD
ЯD

@niemerg1 Google Search has become so scarily advanced. You type in the name of a band now, and it will return sidebars with all the band members, track listings of their most recent albums, and a listing of all their upcoming gigs.

 ЯD
ЯD

@Borderline Football Brilliant In Wisconsin they're talking about raising the gas tax another $0.07/gal. The transportation budget has not increased in 20 years, but still, raising the price of gas is going to have a whole slew of other effects.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

I'm not sure why my tweets aren't embeding properly. This is a good one about the Lions suckitude.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

Which reminds me, how are your mother's doing?

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

It's the same design as the helmet the Thunderbird pilots wear.

 ✔

@Preparation_A   ESPN defines it as "Rushing fumbles" - maybe they don't count the ones that are caused by sacks etc.  The reason I looked in the first place is Kaepernick. His fumble numbers are for 7 games only.

 ЯD
ЯD

Last time gas hit $4.00 a gallon, I think it was three or four years ago, Americans actually started driving less for the first time ever. I have a feeling that emotional tipping point will come a little higher this time. Maybe $4.25 or $4.50 a gallon. If it hits $5.00 nationwide, we might actually see a concerted push for real mass-transit options.

 ЯD
ЯD

@Borderline Football Brilliant Maybe this is the reason why the legislature gave the governor the authority to sell off state properties to no-bid contracts. Perhaps it was in preparation for a spate of highway sell-offs. That would be interesting to see private firms trying to manage the highways. Since they would have essentially monopolies on the stretches they owned, I have to think the toll prices would increase steadily. I am guessing we'd see the roads in higher-income areas maintained the best, while roads in economically depressed regions would fall steadily into disrepair.

 ЯD
ЯD

@Borderline Football Brilliant It's a delicate balancing act, unfortunately. The quality of roads in Wisconsin is declining steadily because, as I said, the budgets have not increased in 20 years. They can barely repair a quarter of the mileage per year that they used to. But how can you raise additional revenue without depressing economic activity further?

 ЯD
ЯD

@Mr._Horse My wife works in the mortgage industry. All this talk about banks having higher standards is rubbish. Maybe the big dogs do, but the mortgage company for which my wife works is frantically priming the pump, giving out mortgages to people who never should be borrowing -- and charging them 10% interest or more.

 ✔

@Preparation_A  Plus teams will be better prepared for Galloping Kaepernick in 2013. 

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

@Aciddragon

Honestly, the B2 silhouettes are what I dislike most about this helmet.  So, I really don't think they would look good if they were shiny.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@tmonson78 @Aciddragon  nonsense! that would look awesome if the facemask was high gloss black, all the white was chrome, and the black was metal flake.