Cut down day! 20 players were released today. None of the players released will be missed, but there were a few that surprised me, and one tough break.
TE Zac Alcorn showed good hands in practice, and then showed nothing during the preseason games. DE Larry Birdine made the big play of the game at Tennessee when he forced a QB Vince Young fumble, but he didn't stand out as a run defender or pass rusher the rest of the time and was outplayed by DE Jason Hunter (Go Appalachian State!). WRs Shaun Bodiford and David Clowney started out the preseason in a battle for kick return job, but they were outplayed by CB Will Blackmon. WR Chris Francies, LB Tim Goodwell, TE Clark Harris, LB Rory Johnson, G Travis Leffew, S Alvin Nnabuife, WR Calvin Russell, and G Adam Stenavich all had few opportunities during the preseason and didn't make much of an impression when given the chance. T Orrin Thompson struggled before he got hurt during the second preseason game, and QB Paul Thompson showed some flashes, but he kept throwing interceptions, didn't look ready to play, and might find a home on the practice squad. RB Corey White put up some big numbers, but didn't look fast or show a lot of power and appeared to be the beneficiary of some solid play by the offensive line.
S Tyrone Culver and LB Abdul Hodge could have played valuable roles in 2007, but due to their injuries they'll be spending a season on I.R. Why GM Ted Thompson decided to keep OL Tyson Walter on I.R. instead of doing an injury buy-out is a mystery.
LB Spencer Havner. The undrafted free agent didn't do much on defense, but he was developing into a special teams ace, until an injury at the end of camp derailed his chances. With LB Tracy White already playing the part of special teams ace that you never want to see actually play linebacker, it seemed unlikely there would be room for Havner, injury or not.
CB Patrick Dendy. He wasn't perfect this preseason, but he beat out CB Jarrett Bush for the nickel job last season and played a good nickel back. Cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington spoke highly of him too, but this preseason, Bush and Blackmon did look better. CB Tramon Williams looked good too, but I'm surprised he was kept ahead of Dendy. CB Frank Walker looked good at times, but he was beaten on a few occasions too and I'm really surprised Walker was kept ahead of Dendy. Maybe Walker's status as the big free agent signing of the offseason kept him around. It's not a real tough break because he was outplayed, but maybe the Packers can get him back for the practice squad.
S Marquand Manuel. The least valuable player of 2006 takes the fall in 2007. The ironic thing is he didn't look too bad this preseason. His biggest problem was that S Atari Bigby and S Charlie Peprah really looked good at times, plus S Aaron Rouse showed enough promise to keep around and it would have been hard to give up on a 3rd round pick so soon anyway.
FB Brandon Miree. Another good candidate for the practice squad. His biggest sin has been injuries that have limited his playing/practice time over the last two seasons. The former starter never looked awful, and FB Korey Hall doesn't yet look like the next great NFL fullback, but Mike McCarthy would probably prefer to only have one fullback on the active roster.
K Dave Rayner. This is the tough break. He played well last season and looked pretty good this preseason too, but K Mason Crosby looks better. Actually Crosby looks like he could be very good. He is probably better than several other kickers who still have jobs this season, so hopefully he finds another kicking job very soon (just not in the NFC North).