Cut down day for NFL team’s 53 man rosters is never easy. It is difficult for the general managers, head coaches, and especially the players. This year’s cut down day was even more challenging. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams didn’t have the luxury of conducting preseason games. While those games are boring to most fans, they are quite helpful for general managers, head coaches, and especially players battling to win a roster spot. Without them this season, decisions had to be made from training camp practices. The cut downs for this season will illustrate who the real good talent evaluators truly are. Today, we breakdown the offensive opening day Green Bay Packers 53 man roster.
Breakdown of the 2020 Opening Day Green Bay Packers 53 Man Roster on Offense
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst faced some very difficult decisions to make in regards to the Packers 53 man roster on cut down day. His first objection was to make sure to provide head coach Matt LaFleur with enough talent to win this season. But with COVID, he also had to make sure he provided certain thin units enough depth to get through the season.
It appears that Gutekunst had COVID in mind when he set the Packers 53 man roster on Saturday. He has provided certain positions needed depth in case COVID strikes the lockerroom. There are questions though if certain positions have the needed talent to win on game day. Here is the breakdown of the positions and players, on offense, after Saturday’s cut down.
Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle, Jordan Love (3)
Nothing surprising here. Most NFL teams are carrying three quarterbacks on their 53 man roster this season. Tim Boyle will be the Packers number two quarterback. He had a very strong training camp, which made this decision very easy for Gutekunst and his staff. Boyle winning the number two job will help Jordan Love sit back and learn. From all reports, Love struggled in training camp. With Boyle being the primary backup to Aaron Rodgers, Love will now be given time to sit back and learn.
Running Backs: Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, A.J. Dillon, Tyler Ervin (4)
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams will be the Packers one-two punch at running back. This was the same set up they had last season. A.J. Dillon, the Packers’ second-round choice from this past draft will be sprinkled into the offense at times. Dillon has a different body type than Jones and Williams. It will be up to LaFleur and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to figure out a way to get Dillon some carries.
Tyler Ervin will be the Packers’ primary returner for special teams. Ervin’s pass-catching ability will also be used at wide receiver. It will be interesting to see if LaFleur can show he is creative enough to utilize Ervin. For you Packers fans that can’t get enough of the “jet sweep”, Ervin can be used to do that as well. Dexter Williams, a former draft pick of Gutekunst’s, was cut on Saturday. He is a candidate to join the practice squad.
Wide Receivers: Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor (5)
The wide receivers will be the most scrutinized position on the Packers 53 man roster this season. Davante Adams will once again be the lead dog. He has proven he is one of the best NFL wide receivers. Allen Lazard, who had just 35 receptions last season, is pegged to be the Packers number two wide receiver.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown are both former draft selections of Gutekunst. Valdes-Scantling had a strong training camp. But he struggled last season and will need to show he is capable of showing that promise he did in his rookie campaign. St. Brown is the wild card of the group. He showed some glimpses in his rookie season. But missed all of last season because of an ankle injury. He will need to show that he is healthy and ready to contribute.
Malik Taylor won the last wide receiver spot. He spent last season on the Packers practice squad. He had a strong training camp, which helped him beat out veteran Jake Kumerow for that number five spot. The fact that a lot was made of Kumerow’s release illustrates the lack of depth and talent the Packers have at wide receiver. Kumerow caught only 20 passes the past two seasons for the Packers. However, his special teams ability will be missed.
Along with Kumerow, former CFL standout Reggie Begelton was also cut on Saturday. With Devin Funchess sitting out this season because COVID concerns, Begelton was the only other “major” pick up for Gutekunst at wide receiver. As Packers fans know, Gutekunst chose to turn his back on the position in this year’s draft. Begelton should be a candidate for the Packers practice squad.
Tight Ends: Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, Robert Tonyan, Josiah Deguara (4)
The tight end position was pretty much set leading up to Saturday. Marcedes Lewis will be the primary blocking tight end for the offense. Jace Sternberger will be pegged as the top pass-catching option at the position. Robert Tonyan will backup Sternberger and will see spot duty.
The Packers cut John Lovett on Saturday. Lovett saw time at fullback and tight end during training camp. With his departure, it appears that rookie Josiah Deguara will see a lot of time at fullback and h-back. Gutekunst shocked many by selecting Deguara in the third round of this past NFL draft.
Offensive Line: David Bakhtiari, Rick Wagner, Elgton Jenkins, Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, Billy Turner, Lucas Patrick, Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr. (9)
David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, and Corey Linsley will return as the starting left tackle, guard, and center. The right side will be locked up by veterans, however, who is starting where is still up in the air. It appears Lane Taylor will return to a starting position, this time as the right guard. Last year’s starter, Billy Turner, appeared to be on his way as the starting right tackle. But a knee injury might force him out of the Vikings game. Rick Wagner, a free agent signee, who injured an arm earlier in camp, but with Turner now hobbled, Wagner appears now to be the starter.
Lucas Patrick will be the primary backup at both guard positions and at center. Jon Runyan Jr. was selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft. He was a tackle at the University of Michigan but will be used at guard for the Packers. He will need time to develop at the NFL level. Yosh Nijman beat out Alex Light for a tackle position on the Packers 53 man roster. Nijman is raw, but has great size and spent time on the Packers practice squad last season.
The Packers also cut ties with Jake Hanson. Gutekunst spent a sixth-round pick on Hanson in this year’s draft. With Linsley in the last year of his contract, many thought Hanson would be the heir apparent. The Packers could bring him back to the practice squad. If not, it will be a wasted draft pick by Gutekunst.
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