On Now
Coming Up
  • Tue., Sep. 01, 2015 12:15 PM - 2:15 PM CDT *Public practice *Any practices moved inside to the Don Hutson Center due to inclement weather, poor field conditions or for any other reason will be closed to the public due to space limitations. All other practices listed are expected to be open unless listed otherwise. All outdoor practices are expected to be held on Ray Nitschke Field (across from the Resch Center). All times indicated are Central.
  • Wed., Sep. 02, 2015 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM CDT Gilbert Brown Appearance

    Gilbert Brown

    Wednesday, September 2, 2015 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.

    Sargento-Meijer's appearance

    Oak Creek, WI
  • Thu., Sep. 03, 2015 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM CDT Gerry Ellis and Tony Fisher appearance

    Gerry Ellis and Tony Fisher appearance

    Thursday, September 3, 2015 3:30 - 5pm

    Green Bay Packers Bishop’s Charities Game

    Meet and Greet Autograph Table

    Oneida Nation Gate, Lambeau Field

  • Thu., Sep. 03, 2015 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM CDT Packers vs. New Orleans Saints (Bishop's Charities Game) Packers vs. New Orleans Saints (Bishop's Charities Game)
  • Wed., Sep. 09, 2015 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM CDT Bill Schroeder appearance at NWTC

    Bill Schroeder appearance at NWTC

    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    11:30 am- 12:30 pm

    NWTC Green Bay Campus- Welcome Center SC240

  • Sun., Sep. 13, 2015 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Packers at Chicago Bears Packers at Chicago Bears

News

Print
RSS

Countdown to camp: WR numbers will force decisions

Posted Jul 16, 2012

The following is the second installment in a series of stories that'll examine the Packers' roster position by position. This installment examines wide receiver.


Last year the number was five. Mike McCarthy said this year it could be six. It’s not out of the question that it might end up being seven.

With the depth the Packers possess at the position, how many wide receivers will make the final roster will be the question on many fans’ minds this summer.

There are nearly two dozen practices plus four preseason games to wade through before then, however, so there’s plenty of time for this to sort itself out.

Barring injury, the first five who will make the roster are virtually givens. Pro Bowler Greg Jennings and rising star Jordy Nelson were the Packers’ top two receivers in catches, yards and touchdowns during the offense’s record-setting 2011. Meanwhile, James Jones posted career highs in yards per catch (16.7) and scores (seven) last year, and Randall Cobb is on track to become the unit’s next breakout performer after catching 25 passes for 375 yards as a rookie.

Then there’s Donald Driver, who reworked his contract after his “Dancing With The Stars” triumph to come back for a 14th season. Even though his 2011 numbers (37 catches, 445 yards) were his lowest since 2001, he was the best receiver on the field during an otherwise dismal day for the offense in the playoffs last season.

Given General Manager Ted Thompson’s history of releasing veteran players long before training camp if they aren’t in the team’s plans (Chad Clifton, Donald Lee and William Henderson would be examples from recent years), it stands to reason Driver will remain the veteran leader at the position for now.

The other two top candidates who will make their bids for roster spots are Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley, each of whom spent all of their rookie 2011 seasons on the practice squad. Shaky Smithson returns for his second year after a season on injured reserve, while undrafted rookies Jarrett Boykin (Virginia Tech), Curenski Gilleylen (Nebraska) and former basketball player Dale Moss (South Dakota State) will look to make the same early impressions Borel and Gurley did a year ago.

It wasn’t just the Packers that took note of those two, either. Both Borel and Gurley reportedly turned down active roster spots with other teams last season to remain in Green Bay when the Packers boosted their practice-squad pay.

Borel, a converted Utah State quarterback, added some weight over the past year and is now listed at 199 pounds. He’s a gifted athlete who uses his knowledge from playing quarterback to find openings in the defense, and he did that often during OTAs.

A completely different type of target, Gurley (6-4, 232) is an intriguing jump-ball option whose size presents matchup problems. He showed a knack for blocking punts during training camp last year, too, so his chances of making the team could increase if he resumes that impact role on special teams this summer.

Given how unusual it would be to keep seven receivers on the final roster, much will be made of who’s having the better camp between these two. The Packers could have a tough decision to make, because the interest shown late last year by other teams will make it difficult for either Borel or Gurley to clear waivers and return to the practice squad.

Then again, who’s to say the Packers won’t keep seven receivers? Last year they kept five tight ends, which sounded just as odd at the time.

Thompson and McCarthy don’t adhere to specific numbers at each position, only minimums so as not to leave themselves dangerously thin. Depending on how the other offensive skill positions shake out, there could be some flexibility.

Just don’t start thinking eight.

 
blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Packers-Eagles: An eclectic football game

    (3:40) Posted Aug 30, 2015

    Hear from Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy, S Morgan Burnett, CB Casey Hayward, QB Brett Hundley, WRs Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis, and RB Rajion Neal as they talk about the ups and downs of the 39-26 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • Hundley: Awesome experience, offense helped a lot

    (2:53) Posted Aug 29, 2015

    Packers rookie quarterback Brett Hundley made his first professional start against the Eagles on Saturday night. Brett met with reporters following the game to discuss his performance.

  • Rewind: Eagles 39, Packers 26

    (2:16) Posted Aug 29, 2015

    Relive the best plays from Saturday's preseason game against the Eagles with commentary from the voices of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren.