Heres a position-by-position look at the Packers roster after final cuts:
Players kept: Aaron Rodgers, Brian Brohm, Matt Flynn
Comment: Thompson might pick up a veteran No. 2 behind Rodgers, but that would mean exposing Flynn to the waiver wire, and another club could claim him immediately or sign him off the Packers practice squad during the season.
Among the quarterbacks available is Chris Simms, who was cut by Tampa Bay, and Brooks Bollinger, who was beaten out by rookie John David Booty at Minnesota. But considering Thompsons history of going with his own players and McCarthys willingness to work with young talent, the best bet is theyll stand pat.
The question, then is, has Flynn surpassed Brohm for the No. 2 job? Flynn outplayed Brohm in preseason games his passer rating of 100.2 points was far superior to Brohms 45.2 and had enough mobility to get out of trouble and create a few plays when a play broke down. However, both rookies were equally overmatched with the Packers No. 2 offense against Tennessees starting defense in the preseason finale.
Running backs (5)
Players kept: Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Kregg Lumpkin, Korey Hall and John Kuhn
Comment: The Packers gave Lumpkin a long look he led the team with 39 carries in preseason games, which was 20 more than Herron, who was second in carries and he showed enough running talent to be the only undrafted rookie to win a roster spot. Morency was proficient as a pass blocker and appeared healthy after having patellar-tendon problems all last season, but Lumpkin had youth and upside on his side. Herron had all the intangibles but wasnt as talented a runner even though he averaged a team-high 5.8 yards a carry in the preseason.
Kuhn made the roster because of his special-teams play and his role in the two-fullback, one-halfback set that McCarthy likes to deploy a few times a game.
Wide receivers (5)
Players kept: Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Ruvell Martin, Jordy Nelson
Comment: No surprises here, because none of the other receivers showed enough to warrant a roster spot. Jones, though, has a sprained knee, and that could leave the Packers dressing only four receivers for their first couple of regular-season games.
Brett Swain, a seventh-round pick, and Johnny Quinn are candidates for the practice squad.
Tight ends (3)
Players kept: Donald Lee, Jermichael Finley, Tory Humphrey
Comment: Humphrey won a roster spot, though Thompson could replace him in the next day or two with a tight end claimed on waivers. However, the Packers have been patient with Humphrey and kept him all offseason even though he missed the last 1 seasons with injuries and had essentially no NFL resume before that. They like his natural running and catching talent. He blocked well in the preseason finale against Tennessee, plus he stayed healthy over the final two weeks of training camp.
Offensive line (9)
Players kept: Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Scott Wells, Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge, Josh Sitton, Allen Barbre, Tony Moll, Breno Giacomini
Comment: Giacomini is a sixth-round draft pick who at 6-foot-7 and 311 pounds has the talent to play in the NFL. Even though he made noticeable improvement in training camp, he showed against Tennessees starters Thursday night hes not at an NFL level yet. That makes him a candidate to be waived when the Packers add a long snapper, even though that would leave them with only eight offensive linemen on their 53-man roster, one short of the usual number for most teams. Giacomini would be a surefire practice-squad player if no one else claims him.
Defensive line (9)
Players kept: Aaron Kampman, Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, Michael Montgomery, Jason Hunter, Colin Cole, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Jeremy Thompson
Comment: Last year the GM Thompson went unusually heavy here by keeping 11 players, but that drops to nine in part because former first-round draft pick Justin Harrell opens the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list and doesnt count against the 53-man limit. He must sit out the first six games, and thereafter the Packers have a three-week window during which he can begin practicing. Once Harrell starts practicing, the Packers will have three weeks to either activate him, waive him or put him on injured reserve.
With Harrells back injury and Saturdays release of Daniel Muir, who was on the roster all last season and played in three games, the Packers are especially thin at defensive tackle. Pickett, Jolly and Cole are the only pure defensive tackles, though Jenkins plays there some, especially on passing downs. Montgomery and even Hunter took some snaps as inside rushers during the preseason.
Players kept: Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Brady Poppinga, Brandon Chillar, Desmond Bishop, Abdul Hodge, Tracy White
Comment: Bishop and Hodge played too well during training camp to cut. White has been one of the two or three best special-teams player on the team the past two seasons. Thus, the Packers kept seven linebackers instead of six for the first time since 2000. Bishop has been one of the standouts of camp and is secure, though theres an outside chance he could be trade bait for a defensive tackle. White and perhaps Hodge are potential cuts when the long snapper comes in.
Defensive backs (10)
Players kept: Charles Woodson, Al Harris, Nick Collins, Atari Bigby, Tramon Williams, Aaron Rouse, Will Blackmon, Pat Lee, Jarrett Bush, Charlie Peprah
Comment: Keeping Peprah as the fourth safety was something of a surprise because he missed all four preseason games with a hamstring injury. However, he was off to an excellent start in training camp before getting hurt, and the Packers must think hes close to getting back on the field. To keep him, the Packers cut Tyrone Culver, who had a solid camp for a backup safety.
Bush has fallen down the depth charts to the No. 5 cornerback after opening last season as the No. 3, but his added versatility after an OK showing at safety late in camp might have saved him.
Players kept: Mason Crosby, Jon Ryan,
Comment: Gafford is Jansens natural replacement. The Packers will be almost at the bottom of the priority list for waiver claims after advancing to the NFC championship game, but theres also not a great chance another team will claim him.