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Playing the heavy

by Mark Daniels

Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said he regularly becomes ill at this time of year.  By Saturday afternoon, Thompson will grab a bottle of Maalox and look over his 53 man roster for the 2013 season.   To spare him the discomfort, I'll play the heavy and offer up my roster predictions.

We'll start with only two active quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Vince Young.  B.J. Coleman will get cut and if he goes unclaimed, will return for a second year on the practice squad.   At running back, there will be a handful now that DuJuan Harris is down for the count.  Eddie Lacy will be the lead back with fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin, James Starks, Alex Green and fullback John Kuhn.  Long locked Jonathan Amosa is the odd man out.  At least he scored one of the two touchdowns this month.  Five wide receivers should be plenty.  After Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, my guess is Jeremy Ross will be one and Jarrett Boykin the other.  Tyrone Walker had his moments in camp, so did Myles White and Charles Johnson proved the old adage, you can't make the club in the tub.   Tight ends is a different story.   They still have 7, if they keep five, Jermichael Finley, Ryan Taylor, Brandon Bostick and Matthew Mulligan appear safe and then you have to choose between D.J. Williams and Andrew Quarless, both with sketchy medical and performance issues.  Jake Stoneburner is gone regardless, D.J. and Q are veterans who could have the bubble burst.  I like only six offensive linemen, the starting five of Evan Dietrich-Smith, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Don Barclay and David Bahktiari.  Marshall Newhouse is also a lock.   As was the case last year, the O-line depth is wretched.  Greg Van Roten knows how to flip a shotgun snap and he can play guard, Lane Taylor finished with a thud but might stick.  I say cut him, along with Andrew Datko, Garth Gerhart, Kevin Hughes and Patrick Lewis.  That makes just seven hogs but Ted might grab someone else's cut victim.

On defense there will be some tough calls.  Up front, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson and number one pick Datone Jones head the list.  Mike Neal's considered a lineman, Mike Daniels worked his butt off this summer.  We're already up to 6 and Johnny Jolly's comeback story is almost storybook, he deserves to stay, at the expense of Jordan Miller and draft pick Josh Boyd who both can play.   In a 3-4 defense you need plenty of linebackers and they also are the run and stun boys on cover teams.  I think Clay Matthews is worth bringing back, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones and Nick Perry join the starting four.   The next group consists of Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore and the free agent with big upside Andy Mulumba.  Sam Barrington made a big play in Kansas City and Terrell Manning still has a chance to get better.  Dezman Moses is in trouble along with draft pick Nate Palmer and free agent Donte Savage.   That leaves the secondary.  Morgan Burnett, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMililan are all keepers.  In this pass happy world of the NFL, the Packers will keep five more, making it 11 in all.  Jarett Bush, rookie Micah Hyde, Davon House, Chaz Powell who finished strong and Chris Banjo, a late addition surprise will survive. James Nixon, Brandon Smith, Loyce Means, and David Fulton will not.

The specialists are set, Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay and Brett Goode.

That makes 23 players on offense, 27 on defense and three for the kicking game.  I hope this helps Ted avoid the upset Turk tummy.