As the Packers take an off day on Sunday for the second straight week, we at Acme Packing Company are going to look back at the week's practices and once again identify a few players who appear to be moving in the right direction and a few others who are going backwards.
In all cases this week, our identified players are in their first, second, or third years in the NFL, and unsurprisingly they are largely on the roster bubble. The team's starters are pretty well-defined at this point, so it's the fight for the back half of the roster that we are watching intently at this point.
The third-year wideout has been catching everything in camp, according to several beat writers, and has been the most consistent of the wideouts fighting for the fifth spot on the roster. His name was not called much during Family Night on Saturday, but a great week of practice may have him in the lead for that WR5 job at this point. Keep an eye on number 19 when the Packers take the field against New England on Thursday.
For the second straight week, Mulumba's name shows up on this list. Of all the young players who have been getting more snaps with the injuries to the Packers' outside linebackers, Mulumba has received the bulk of the first-team reps and has been taking advantage of them, consistently spending time in the backfield. At this point, his odds of making the roster look very high, and his ability to continue contributing on special teams only adds to that.
Is it cheating to put a first-round pick on this list? This week we don't think so. Randall had a very good week of practice, even despite his posterization at the hands of Davante Adams Saturday night. He has recorded multiple pass breakups and an interception or two, all while taking first-team reps in the dime package on the outside. Clearly the team thinks highly of his cover abilities on the perimeter, and he should get a nice, long look there on Thursday, both with the first-team defense in sub packages and with the second-string.
Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments early in camp has been Janis, who was talked up this offseason by Mike McCarthy on multiple occasions. Instead of taking control of one of the wide receiver jobs, Janis has impressed far less than Myles White, and he seems to be in danger of losing his grip on a roster spot. It seems that for every great play Janis makes, he has a disappointing drop - that was the case during Family Night as well.
Of course, that all may change over the next four weeks, when there is real competition. However, White has spent two seasons in the Packers' organization and played in seven games back in 2013, while Janis only cracked the roster three times last season, all due to a Jarrett Boykin injury.
Thornton has continued to display issues that made his 2014 camp a bust. In one practice this week, he jumped offsides multiple times in the same drill, eventually getting pulled from the field by his coaches. He also has struggled in one-on-one blocking drills, and in general has failed to show any substantial improvement from last year.
Fighting for the third tight end job with Justin Perillo and Mitchell Henry, Backman's name has been mentioned rarely in camp, and when it has, it has not been for positive reasons. He has reportedly had trouble catching the ball in practice, with drops nearly every day. As far as we can tell, he also has yet to break into the first team on special teams, leaving him behind both other tight ends in that aspect of the game.