Training Camp Preview: Packers Positional Battles

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The undisputed leader of the Pack.

Bring on the bikes, training camp is here.

Here is a position-by-position look at the Packer’s depth chart, and potential position battles that will take place during training camp.

Quarterback
Aaron Rodgers
Matt Flynn
Graham Harrell

Battles: If Harrell, who threw for more than 5,000 yards in his senior season at Texas Tech, picks up the offense, he might give Flynn a run for the backup QB spot. Harrell is said to be the prototypical West Coast offense quarterback. For now, Flynn, who is entering his third year in the Packers system, has the edge. If Harrell flounders in training camp, the Packers may decide to go with only two quarterbacks, making him a candidate for the practice squad.

Projection: Flynn holds on to the No. 2 spot and Harrell earns a roster spot.

Running Back
Ryan Grant
Brandon Jackson
James Starks
Kregg Lumpkin
Quinn Porter

Battles: If Starks can stay healthy, and that’s a big if after he failed his physical yesterday, he might be able to compete with Jackson for the third-down back spot. The Packers have traditionally kept only three running backs (that was the case in 2009, 2008 and 2007), so unless Lumpkin or Porter make a big impression, they face an uphill battle to make the roster.

Projection: Starks and Jackson split reps as the third-down back and Lumpkin and Porter get cut.

Fullback
John Kuhn
Korey Hall
Quinn Johnson

Battles: Basically, all three guys are battling for the starting spot. Unless Ted Thompson again decides to keep three fullbacks, it looks like Hall might be the odd man out.

Projection: Kuhn and Johnson split the reps and Hall gets cut. Either Jacksonville or San Francisco could be interested in Hall.

Wide Receiver
Greg Jennings
Donald Driver
James Jones
Jordy Nelson
Brett Swain
Shawn Gore
Charles Dillon
Patrick Williams
Jeff Moturi
Chastin West

Battles: Jones and Nelson are battling for the third receiver spot and after the first four guys, the rest of the receivers are battling for one or two roster spots.

Projection: Jones edges Nelson for the third receiver spot and Swain ends up fifth because of his special teams play. The Packers have kept only five receivers each of the past two years, but if they go with six, Williams or Gore may have a shot.

Tight Ends
Jermichael Finley
Spencer Havner
Donald Lee
Andrew Quarless
Tom Crabtree
Devin Fishniecht

Battles: Quarless, Lee, and Havner are competing for a roster spot.

Projection: Quarless is a fourth-round draft pick, so he’s essentially guaranteed a roster spot, but it would be a surprise if he’s effective as a rookie. Havner is valuable on special teams and in the red zone. It looks like Lee is the odd man out in what will likely be a group of three tight ends.

Offensive Line
Chad Clifton
Mark Tauscher
Jason Spitz
Josh Sitton
Scott Wells
Bryan Bulaga
Allen Barbre
T.J. Lang
Marshall Newhouse
Evan Dietrich-Smith
Chris Campbell
Daryn Colledge
Breno Giacomini
Nick McDonald

Battles: Starting left guard is the prime time battle, where Daryn Colledge will face off against Jason Spitz. Lang is likely to challenge Tauscher at right tackle and if everything goes well, Bulaga will push Clifton at left tackle. The rest of the guys are fighting for roster spots.

Projection: Barbre, Campbell, Giacomini and McDonald are looking for jobs after training camp. Spitz beats Colledge for the left guard spot. Lang pushes Tauscher, but the Packers open the season with the veteran at right tackle. Clifton ends up starting the year on the left side while Bulaga gets his feet wet. The Packers trade Colledge, allowing them to keep both Deitrich-Smith and Newhouse.

Defensive Line
Cullen Jenkins
Jarius Wynn
Justin Harrell
Mike Neal
C.J. Wilson
Ronald Talley
Ryan Pickett
B.J. Raji
Anthony Toribio
Aleric Mullens

Battles: The starters are set as, from left to right, Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji and Cullen Jenkins. Neal, a second-round pick, is guaranteed a spot. The question is whether Harrell can stay injury free and live up to his first-round draft pick status. The rest of the guys are playing for a roster spot.

Projection: Harrell, Mullens, Talley and Toribio miss the cut.

Linebackers
Nick Barnett
A.J. Hawk
Clay Matthews
Brad Jones
Brady Poppinga
Desmond Bishop
Brandon Chillar
Cyril Obiozor
Rob Francois
Alex Joseph
Frank Zambo
John Russell

Battles: There may be a competition between Jones and Poppinga for the starting OLB spot opposite of Matthews, but Jones would have to play very poorly for that to happen. Bishop and Chillar will push for more reps at ILB.

Projection: Jones starts, but Poppinga gets reps as a pass rusher. Francois, Joseph, and Zambo miss the final cut. Russell and Obiozor either make the roster or the practice squad.

Cornerback
Charles Woodson
Al Harris
Tramon Williams
Jarret Bush
Pat Lee
Brandon Underwood
Josh Bell
Sam Shields
D.J. Clark

Battles: The Packers are set at the top with Woodson, Harris and Williams. However, Harris will be out for some time while rehabbing his knee. That makes the fourth slot all the more important. Underwood, Lee and Bush will battle for that. There’s probably one roster spot left if Harris is out for an extended period, which is entirely possible.

Projection: Harris will miss time, but be ready to go on September 12. Lee, a former second-round pick, finally manages to stay healthy and develop as the fourth corner. Underwood is close behind him. The Jarrett Bush experiment may finally end if Shields, a speed demon who could stick for his return ability alone, shows anything, but Shields is more likely a practice squad addition.

Safety
Nick Collins
Atari Bigby
Morgan Burnett
Charlie Peprah
Derrick Martin
Will Blackmon
Anthony Levine

Battles: Bigby is still listed as the starter, but hasn’t done himself any favors by skipping offseason activities and failing his physical. It looks like he’ll have a real battle with Burnett. The only other battles are for roster spots.

Projection: Bigby gets the starting spot because of his experience, but Burnett will play a role in the defense. Martin and Blackmon make the cut because of their importance on special teams and because they can also play cornerback. Peprah and Levine are cut.

Kicker
Mason Crosby

Battles: Crosby gets a free pass again.

Projection: Crosby will have a better year than he did in ’09.

Punter
Chris Bryan
Tim Masthay

Battles: This will be one of the most hotly contested battles of training camp. Bryan and Masthay, neither of which have kicked in an NFL game, are dead-even according to coach Mike McCarthy.

Projection: Bryan gets the spot due to his consistency and hang time.

Long Snapper
Bret Goode

Battles: None

Projection: Goode will stay healthy and consistent.

Returners
Will Blackmon
Tramon Williams
Jordy Nelson
Sam Shields

Battles: The annual return man battle will take place again, and this time there’s a little more excitement. Shields is electric and has speed to burn. Of course, Blackmon, Nelson and Williams have experience and, with the exception of Blackmon, are essentially guaranteed roster spots. Blackmon will have to prove he’s recovered from last season’s torn ACL to get his old job back.

Projection: Blackmon will get the nod at PR, where no one else proves themselves terribly capable. Shields is the wild card, but Nelson and Blackmon are likely to be the Packers primary kick returners.

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26 Comments on "Training Camp Preview: Packers Positional Battles"

  1. matt fox

    I think Tom Brady’s gonna win the QB job. In the fans of this websites world where facts and actual events dont matter, this is a real possiblilty!

    • abe frohman

      Matt – Favre’s liftime QB rating is 86.4 and that includes his first ever +100 rating last year. Matt Hasselbeck’s career qb rating is 83.3. Those are FACTS. So, like I said – good and occasionally great.

      Why are Favre’s numbers low? One word: interceptions.

  2. Matt Fox

    Favre and Elway have lower career qb ratings, although 86.4 is DAMN good for 20 years of playing, kind of ridiculous in fact, because they’re gun slinger type qbs.

    I also love how you use a Matt Hasselbeck as some sort of bad comparision, as hs was considered one of the top 5 qbs in the league for a few years, owned his division for almost all his starting years and led his team to a superbowl. Nice, lol

    • Al Borland's Beard

      I like how people always use the term “Gunslinger” to excuse stupid decisions. I guess when you’re just out there slinging that ball around you’re bound to throw one or three hundred seventeen interceptions.

  3. abe frohman

    I always find it humorous when some idiot says LOL to comments he/she is making. It’s as if they’re saying “I make myself laugh” and really, who does that?

    I didn’t use him as a comparison as a bad quarterback. I used it as a comparison as a good quarterback. Peyton Manning – 95.5. Trent Dilfer 70.something

    The equation works thus: occasional brilliance plus occasional idiocy = good, but not great. 6 picks in a play off game, 3 of which are pick 6es and you think the guy walks on water. Enough said.

    Ask Dallas in 07 when Favre was injured and Rodgers took over who they thought was the better quarterback? Comments after that season game by MM and TT were that they didn’t think Brett could win the big one any longer because of that game. That game was a microcosm of the NFC championship game last year and the loss to NY.

    dude, accept reality. and as you like to say, I’m just keeping it real.

  4. abe frohman

    Now if you want to say he’s a great leader and makes the team around him better, I’ll agree to that. I thought it was awesome when Favre was killed by Sapp. he gets up and says “nice hit” or something to that affect. Yet that’s not the same guy that lies to get released from the Jets. That’s not the same guy that pretends to retire to miss training camp. By not showing up for training camp, guys like Adrian Peterson think they can skip it too. Hey, if it works for Brett, it must work for me, too. That’s exactly what you don’t want in the locker room. Oh wait, excuse me, Brett had his own personal locker room while in GB.

  5. Matt Fox

    Sorry, I was slightly thrown earlier by you basically saying Brett Favre was Matt Hassellbecks equivolent. As for that Dallas game BS your spewing, Favre has one bad game and Rodgers came in and played well. Thats all that was. What the fuck are you talking about? How many big games has Rodgers won again? Zero.

    • Abe Frohman

      You probably have a minimum wage job, so you fail to understand the concept of leading by example. A leader sets the tone for the entire team. So, yes AP needs to be in camp. Any good manager knows you can’t have two or more sets of rules for different people or chaos is the result. That’s exactly what we have here. Life is fine when you’re winning, and yes the Vikings were the better team last year, but when things go sour, there are lots of fingers to be pointed. Can you handle that if it happens this year to your saviour? That’s what happened in NY.

      Favre WAS an excellent leader. He is not any longer for reasons I have already mentioned.

  6. matt fox

    Although, since youre so eager to use single games as “microcosms” of someones career, and ignore all the games they played well in which greatly outnumber the bad, then favre beating the living shit out of the Packers twice this year must mean that hes a lot better than aaron rodgers, who has choked in the three biggest games of his career and has no big wins to his name period. Interesting.

    And what is your guyses obsession with Favre missing training camp? Hes 40 years old and has been in the league for 20 years. Its obviously at a point where it would do more harm than good for him. AP is 24 and has a fumbling problem, he needs it. And Favre apparently didnt need it this year to take his team to a 12-4 record, beat the crap out of the Packers and win the NFC North, as well as a playoff game. Which the packers and A-rod failed to do. With training camp. Again, you cant really talk shit when you lose. A lot.

    • Al Borland's Beard

      Are you seriously comparing a guy who has played for twenty years to a guy who has now started two seasons? Really? Hey Matt Fox, guess what? Peyton Manning has won more important games in his career than Matt Ryan. Also, QB’s don’t beat each other because they’re never on the field in direct competition. Favre had great blocking in both games while Rodgers had zero. Favre has AP while Rodgers has Ryan “I don’t break tackles” Grant.

      But anyways, my thoughts about Favre missing camp is that it shows exactly how selfish the guy is and how pathetic the Vikings are. Are they really so desperate to win that they’ll let some 41 year old primma donna tease them for two seasons. Well, regardless of who they beat and what they did during the regular season, we saw what happened, we saw what always happens.

    • jeremy

      Hell, I’m happy Favre is skipping out on training camp to mow his lawn, shot that pesky armadillo, play games with the media and throw passes to teenagers.

      Meanwhile, Rodgers has been to all of the OTA’s and is in camp, watching film, working on his line calls, and developing timing with his receivers.

      Stay home Favre, you don’t need training camp!

      • Rodgers hasn’t earned it yet. Favre is the only player to ever earn that type of amazing respect. Jerry Rice went to OTAs and training camp. So did Joe Montana, Emmit Smith, Peyton manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, John Elway. Somehow Favre is so much more special than all of those guys…

  7. matt fox

    You are the one comparing the two throughout every single article! Thats all you guys have been doing. Not as big of a fan when its turned on you like that i guess. Hypocrits.

    And Im sorry, how is Favre teasing them? Everybody knows hes missing training camp and is fine with it. There’s no teasing going on. How stupid can you be? Wait, dont answer that. And you would say the Vikings are pathetic as they beat the crap out of you. Twice.

    And yes Jeremy, just like last season the 40 year old favre with a hall of fame career in his back pocket is at home throwing to high schoolers and mowing his lawn while the 25 year old rodgers, who hasnt done anything, is at training camp.I wonder how this year it will play out. I wish there was a reference point, like last season or something where the same thing happened. Oh wait, we already know what happens. With no training camp and a brand new team Favre beats you guys terrible. I mean that was bad. I thought they might have to caution tape the entire stae of wisconsin after that second game. Yeesh.

    • Al Borland's Beard

      Call me crazy, but I don’t see any mention of Favre throughout this entire article. Then you make some retarded comment about Tom Brady.

      Also, I’m not specifically talking about this season as far as teasing goes. And yes, regardless of whatever they did last year and who they beat, the Vikings (And their fans) are pathetic. Why you ask? Well I’ll explain it but if you need to know, reread it several times so you can comprehend it. Oh, and please enough of the “We beat you guys twice thing” as none of that matters without a ring, if you’re not first, you’re last.

      But onto why the Vikings (And their fans) are pathetic. You let this washed up fourty year old man tease you an entire offseason (Keep in mind you all hated his guts for the past eighteen seasons) He comes in, plays great, leads you guys to a great season (You beat us twice!). But ultimately what happened? What always happens? He gets your hopes up, then at the worst possible moment, he crushes that hope.

      But hey, you keep enjoying watching that old man act like a kid both on and off the field in hopes that if maybe Childress or yourself blow him just right (Maybe you could bike down to Hattisburg.) that he’ll finally bring himself and you that fitting story book ending that can one day be made into a shitty Disney movie starring Dennis Quaid that you can then beat off to.

      • Abe Frohman

        You know, I was going to get into the whole concept of a controlled experiment and minimizing variables and why the Dallas game was exactly that. But after reading this, and laughing out loud quite hard, I couldn’t have said it better.

  8. jeremy

    Matt, this article is about Green Bay positional competitions. Your the one who showed up here bellering nonsense about Tom Brady to pick a fight.

    Did you miss us or something?

  9. matt fox

    And yes, al borland, you wouldnt care about favre beating you because obviously winning doesnt matter to you as ur fine with thompson as ur gm and favre leavng. retard

  10. matt fox

    I mean theres really no point in arguing with u guys anymore if u dont care about winning. ur obviously not football or pakcer fans then if favre beating u guys doesnt upset you. whateveerrr

  11. Of course we care about winning, we don’t care about some idiot viking fan blowing his sh*t around. Most fans of any team thought it was pathetic when you ‘queens fans and the vikings organization came out from your cave drooling all over Favre’s feet. AP wouldn’t be welcomed to packer country like that in that same scenario, we’d all be lobbying for Grant to start. Vikes fans and staff must hate Tavaris Jackson’s guts. Most vikes fans are unenjoyable hostile people.

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