Quick thoughts as Packers prepare to make cuts down to 53 players

·4 min read

The Green Bay Packers and 31 other teams will reduce their rosters to 53 players by Tuesday afternoon’s deadline.

Here are a few things to chew on as the Packers prepare to make final cuts:

– Remember, most players cut on Tuesday won’t get claimed. Only 27 total players were claimed after cuts last year, so there’s a good chance all those fringe roster players you don’t want the Packers to cut will eventually be back on the practice squad. The sting of losing a unique player like Taysom Hill at cutdowns way back when may still sting, but it’s an exceedingly rare situation.

– Why is this? Most teams have young players on the fringe they want to keep on the p-squad. Let’s get an example in here. At running back, the Packers may be deciding between Patrick Taylor and Tyler Goodson, and the other might land on the practice squad. Shoot, both could be released and return on the practice squad. All other teams also have running backs they’ve been developing in camp and want back, creating less incentive to take a swing on another team’s castoff.

– Taylor does the things Matt LaFleur wants out of a third running back – like block and play special teams – so he has to be the favorite if the Packers keep three, but Goodson does offer an intriguing blend of burst and receiving ability. He was electric at times during the preseason. No end result – Taylor on the team, Goodson on the team, neither on the team – would be all that surprising.

– Wide receiver numbers get all the attention, but the situation along the offensive line might be more interesting. Do the Packers keep 10? The numbers here could be telling. Hanging on to a 10th lineman – like say rookie Caleb Jones or draft pick Rasheed Walker – might signal some hesitancy in the early-season health situations of Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari.

– Even with the caveats above, risking Jones to waivers might not be wise. He’s a massive individual who showed promise playing left tackle over three preseason games. Maybe Walker’s emergence in the preseason finale will make the Packers more willing to take the risk. Like Yosh Nijman before him, Jones needs at least one development year, but the payoff down the road could make stashing him on the 53-man roster worth it.

– Is Mason Crosby (knee) going to be on the first 53? He’s still not off the PUP list as of Monday, meaning he could end up transitioning to the regular-season PUP list on Tuesday and then miss the first four games. In that scenario, Ramiz Ahmed would (presumably?) be take his spot on the 53-man roster. Or, with two weeks to go before the opener, the Packers could roll the dice and not keep a kicker on the initial roster.

– Jack Heflin should make the team. He’s tough as nails and has shown a knack for making disruptive plays over two years of preseason snaps. Seventh-round pick Jonathan Ford can develop on the practice squad.

– One big question on defense: Did any player at outside linebacker, inside linebacker, cornerback or safety really force the Packers into keeping more than what’s needed? It’s tough to say the depth at any of the four positions looks much better today than it did in late July. Because special teams are so important to the equation, we should have a better grasp of who Rich Bisaccia really likes by Tuesday afternoon.

– Either the Packers will keep Jack Coco on the first 53 as the long snapper or he’ll be released so that the team can keep someone else at a different roster spot. Gutekunst would need to have Coco’s replacement in mind before going down that route. I’d bet Coco sticks.

– The initial roster is just an initial roster. This thing will be fluid. Injured players could make the 53-man roster but then hit injured reserve. A guy who makes the team Tuesday could be released for a waiver claim. Gutekunst loves tinkering with the fringes of the roster, and a big group of players are about to be available. We’ll see how comfortable he is in the depth of his football team.

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Story originally appeared on Packers Wire