Familiar Names Signed to the Green Bay Packers Practice Squad

Packers Practice Squad

It has been a very busy 24 hours for Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst. Along with setting the 53-player roster, he signed players to the practice squad. At the time of this article, Gutekunst had signed 15 players to the practice squad. Out of the 15 players signed, 14 of the Green Bay Packers practice squad were with the Packers this training camp.

READ MORE: Packers Wide Receivers

Familiar Names Signed to the Green Bay Packers Practice Squad

In today’s NFL world, practice squads have become a vital piece of NFL’s rosters. With the ability to “promote” players from the practice squad for game-day rosters, it is crucial to have the right players on the practice squad.

Knowing that it isn’t shocking that Gutekunst signed 14 players to the Green Bay Packers practice squad who were with the Packers in training camp. Not only does he feel confident in the players, but knowing they have experience in the Packers system is icing on the cake.

The Green Bay Packers practice squad consists of players with talent but still need time to develop. Head coach Matt LaFleur knows quite well what injuries can do to a roster. Knowing that he has players who can step in, gives him some confidence as the season rolls along.

Third Quarterback Spot Given to Etling

It’s very rare that an NFL team carries three quarterbacks on their active roster. It used to be the norm to carry three, but with needing roster flexibility, teams are now just carrying two and having one on their practice squad.

For the Packers, the number three quarterback spot will be held down by Danny Etling. Etling had a strong training camp and performed well in the Packers three preseason games. He displayed a strong arm as well as showed good athletic ability at the position.

The Packers success depends on Rodgers. But if something were to happen to him, and Love, the Packers must feel confident in what they saw in Etling in camp. It will also give him time to work with LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements and develop.

Taylor and Goodson Return to Provide Depth at Running Back

For some, it seems a little surprising that the Packers would only carry two running backs on the 53-player roster. The running game is a vital part of the Packers offense. If something were to happen to Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, the Packers would find themselves in a difficult situation.

That is why having not one but two running backs on the Green Bay Packers practice squad should give the Packers some breathing room. The ability to promote a running back on game day will give the Packers some roster flexibility.

Patrick Taylor has been in the Packers system for two seasons and understands what is required at the position. Taylor’s knowledge of the scheme is a major plus. He has also shown the ability to pass block, which is big in the Packers passing game.

Tyler Goodson showed some very good promise in his rookie training camp. He is an explosive runner and displayed good catching ability. However, he still needs to develop. Especially with avoiding big hits while running the ball.

Only One Offensive Linemen

As stated earlier, at the time of this article, there is still one spot available on the Green Bay Packers practice squad. With how much Gutekunst emphasizes the offensive line, it wouldn’t be surprising that he uses the last spot on an offensive lineman.

The one (so far) offensive lineman the Packers have on their practice squad is a big one. Caleb Jones is a mountain of a man. In fact, he is the biggest offensive lineman on the Packers. Jones is a developmental prospect, but he displayed some tools during preseason action. Tools that if coached right, could make him a capable NFL offensive lineman.

The Packers have had success with developing young offensive linemen. The best example would be current swing tackle Yosh Nijman. Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich and offensive line coach Luke Butkus did a great job developing him. They are hoping the same can be done with Jones.

Winfree Returns to the Practice Squad

Aaron Rodgers made a point to talk about Juwann Winfree in this year’s training camp. Winfree seems to have earned the confidence of Rodgers, which is never an easy task. So when Winfree didn’t make the 53-player roster, many were surprised.

Luckily for Rodgers and the Packers, Winfree went unclaimed and decided to re-sign to the Green Bay Packers practice squad, a place he spent time on in 2021. Winfree is good security for the depth of the Packers wide receiver group. There isn’t much doubt that if one of the wide receivers were to be injured, he would get the call to the Packers active roster.

Winfree isn’t the only wide receiver on the practice squad. Travis Fulgham, who also was cut by the Packers, was also signed to the practice squad. Fulgham has regular-season experience (Philadelphia Eagles) and has decent size for the position.

Defensive Line Even Stronger with Practice Squad Additions

Many have questioned the decision to keep Jonathan Ford over fellow defensive linemen Jack Heflin and Chris Slayton. Both Heflin and Slayton outperformed the rookie Ford in training camp and in preseason action. However, since Ford is a 2022 seventh-round selection, it seems that played a part in Gutekunst’s decision.

The way Heflin and Slayton performed in camp, it was a risk to cut them. But Gutekunst’s bet paid off with both of them landing on the practice squad. The Green Bay Packers defensive line is one of their deepest positions. Having Heflin and Slayton makes it even deeper.

Jones and Hamilton Provides Depth at Outside Linebacker

Heading into camp one of the biggest questions was who would be the backups to Rashan Gary and Preston Smith. It appears the answers, for now, are Jonathan Garvin and Tipa Galeai, who made the 53-player roster.

Even with Garvin and Galeai winning the top backup spots, it didn’t stop Gutekunst from bringing back La’Darius Hamiton and Kobe Jones to the Green Bay Packers practice squad. Hamilton saw playing time with the Packers in 2021 and understands Joe Barry’s scheme. Jones came out of nowhere in training camp and performed well.  If Garvin and/or Galeai struggle, Hamilton and/or Jones could replace them.

Three Cornerbacks Inked to the Practice Squad

Similar to the defensive line, the Packers have great depth, as well as quality, at cornerback. Still, that didn’t stop Gutekunst and the Packers from doubling down at the position by signing three cornerbacks to the practice squad.

Rico Gafford was off to a strong training camp before he leveled out. He suffered a minor injury in camp which hurt his chances of making the roster. But the converted wide receiver has high-end speed, something that can’t be taught. He will be allowed to develop more under Jerry Gray on the practice squad.

Kiondre Thomas had a strong camp as well and flashed some potential. Thomas and his ability flew under the radar, so signing him to the practice squad was a good get for Gutekunst.

Benjie Franklin is the only practice squad signee who wasn’t with the Packers in camp. But he fits what Gutekunst and Gray look for in a defensive back, which is size and speed.

Practice Squad Also Puts an Emphasis on Special Teams

The Packers are making sure new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is being given what he needs. Not just on the 53-player roster, but also on the practice squad.

Kicker Mason Crosby missed all of training camp with recovering from a knee procedure. It appears that he will be the Packers starting kicker against the Minnesota Vikings in week one, but the Packers aren’t taking any chances. Ramiz Ahmed was signed to the practice squad. Ahmed displayed a strong leg in training camp and will serve as the emergency kicker if Crosby struggles with coming back from his injury.

Inside linebacker, Ray Wilborn was also signed to the Green Bay Packers practice squad. The Packers have two quality starters at inside linebacker in De’Vondre Campbell and rookie Quay Walker. They also have a solid backup in Krys Barnes. Wilborn won’t be needed there, but he could be a game-time callup because of his special teams ability.

Along with that, Gafford, Goodson, and Taylor also have the ability to return kicks. Amari Rodgers and Christian Watson are expected to see time as the Packers primary kickoff returner. But if Rodgers struggles as he did in 2021 and Watson is needed at wide receiver, one of the three could get the call to return kicks for the Packers.