The preason is now officially done and we are well on our way to the first game with the Saints. The season holds a lot of promise, and the Packers have an extremely talented roster, but as we sit with this roster my question is quite simple....
What is the riskiest part of it?
I think I've become numb to the fact that Ted Thompson always takes a big gamble to one part of our roster. In fact I think that gambling streak has bit us in the ass for the last couple of years....but the Packers have generally overcome that problem.
For example, in 2009 the Packers took a huge risk with the tackle spot. In that year Mark Tauscher was hurt and not even on the roster at the beginning of the year so they trotted out Allen Barbre as the starting RT. Chad Clifton was the starting LT as always, but there was some hope that Darryn Colledge was going to be the back up should something happen. The long shot for both spots should the original plan not work out was a rookie named T.J. Lang. Really though the Packers were just hoping that Barbre would hold up and Clifton wouldn't get hurt. And then early in the year it was clear that Barbre wouldn't hold up and Clifton did get hurt. This led to some bad games, lots of sacks and two gut wrenching losses to the Vikings and Brett Favre. It was overcome though when Tauscher was signed around midseason and Clifton got healthy.
Last year we saw the odd arrangement of two HB's on the roster and three FB's. Well this would work out fine as long as Ryan Grant stayed healthy and James Starks got right around midseason and quickly got up to NFL speed. What happened? Grant goes down in the first game of the year and Starks doesn't really get going until the playoffs. As a result the running game suffered all year.
So my question is...do we have something similar for this year?
I think we do. It shouldn't be that surprising that we do since Peter King called this one of the "quirkiest" rosters he's ever seen.
The culprit is in the offensive line in my humble opinion, but unlike 2009 the interior line is the worrisome part. The Packers kept only 8 offensive linemen. This is probably because the talent just wasn't very deep on the line this year compared to other parts of the team. Now I'm not too concerned with the starters or the backups at tackle. The starting line looks as good, or possibly better, than last year. I also don't really have too many concerns with Sherrod or Newhouse as backups at tackle. I really don't think Evan Dietrick-Smith is a good answer for the interior line, and neither Newhouse nor Sherrod has shown much promise as guards. This means that an injury to Lang, Scott Wells, or Josh Sittion could be scary thing for this team.
Another problem point could be FB. Now the fullback position is going the way of the dinosaur in today's NFL. There are even some running backs who don't even like to follow a lead blocker, most notably Adrian Peterson. That said, having a good FB allows the Packers flexibility in alignments which makes the offense more unpredictable. If Jon Kuhn goes down there aren't many great options there....maybe DJ Williams or Crabtree, but nothing spectacular.
On defense there are a whopping 10 linebackers and 10 defensive backs. There is some real depth there, but what about the defensive line? With Mike Neal already questionable, I don't know how many injuries that part of the team is going to be able to withstand.
So as you look over the current 53 of the Packers what concerns you the most? Is it the offensive line? The thin FB positions? Or is it something else? The loss of Jenkins or the questionable depth of our D-line? Or are you still bemoaning the fact that Harrell was cut or didn't keep some of those flashy young WR's?