The Sporting News released their pre-training camp preview for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and our initial reaction was, to borrow a line from The Dude, that’s interesting, man.
The depth chart wasn’t interesting so much for the starting lineups, but more surprising on some of the second-string players. First, it’s important to point out that the preview was written by the Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, so we’re assuming he knows a thing or two about the Packers.
Take a look.
QB Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn
FB John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson
RB Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson
WR Donald Driver, James Jones
WR Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson
TE Jermichael Finley, Spencer Havner
LT Chad Clifton, Bryan Bulaga
LG Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge
C Scott Wells, Jason Spitz
RG Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith
RT Mark Tauscher, T.J.Lang
DE Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal
NT B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett
DE Cullen Jenkins, C.J.Wilson
OLB Brad Jones, Cyril Obiozor
ILB A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop
ILB Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar
OLB Clay Matthews, Brady Poppinga
CB Charles Woodson, Pat Lee
CB Al Harris, Tramon Williams
SS Atari Bigby, Morgan Burnett
FS Nick Collins, Will Blackmon
K Mason Crosby
P Tim Masthay, Chris Bryan
KR Will Blackmon
PR Will Blackmon
LS Brett Goode
The first thing that jumps out is Spencer Havner listed as the No. 2 tight end. The Packers have a logjam at tight end after drafting Andrew Quarless in the fifth round of this year’s draft, and Quarless will most likely end up being the third tight end. However, no one had given the indication Havner passed last year’s opening-day starter, Donald Lee, prior to this.
Lee wasn’t terribly impressive last season, recording 37 receptions for 260 yards and one touchdown, but Havner had only seven catches for 112 yards, a season after converting from linebacker. Havner did, however, have four touchdowns and played an important role on special teams.
It makes sense that Lee will have to play well on special teams, which is something he’s done in the past, to make the team this season. However, it also looks like a guy who had 48 receptions for 575 yards only two seasons ago will have an uphill battle to make the team.
The second surprise, and maybe a lesser one, is at the defensive end position, where Johnny Jolly isn’t even listed. Clearly, Jolly has bigger things to worry about right now, with a potential long-term prison sentence looming if he’s convicted of federal drug charges. However, it appears the Packers have already moved on, which is probably a wise move.
Even if he isn’t convicted, Jolly is likely to face a suspension from the NFL. It’s even possible the team may end up parting ways with the defensive end.
One of the other interesting positions is cornerback, where Pat Lee is listed as the No. 2 behind Charles Woodson.
Lee has hardly played in two seasons and he spent all of last season on injured reserve. He’s a former second-round pick and has apparently made enough of an impression this offseason to surpass Jarrett Bush (thank God!) as the Packers’ No. 4 cornerback.
What’s maybe more surprising is Lee is listed ahead of Brandon Underwood, who Packers coach Mike McCarthy singled out as the player making the biggest second-year jump earlier this offseason.
Of course, Underwood is still awaiting the outcome of a sexual assault/prostitution incident in Lake Delton, earlier this summer. Like Jolly, Underwood’s legal situation could be hurting his chances with the team.
A lot can and probably will change during training camp. Perhaps the biggest battles will be at safety, where rookie Morgan Burnett will look to unseat Atari Bigby and along the offensive line where Jason Spitz and Daryn Colledge will battle at left guard and youngsters Bryan Bulaga and T.J. Lang will look to take over for Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher at the tackle positions.