For most of the starters, this will be the last, significant dress rehearsal for the Packers as they take on the Indianapolis Colts, sans Peyton Manning, at Lucas Oil Stadium Friday night. Mike McCarthy wants to give his number one's two quarters of action, sprinkling in some backups in certain situations and then let the reserves try to play their way up the depth chart or onto the roster in the second half. The first mandatory roster cut comes next Tuesdy but only a few players will be trimmed. General Manager Ted Thompson disclosed on WTAQ's 5th Quarter show last Monday night that teams must cut to 80, not 75 players. It's a lockout provision from the NFL to give teams an extra week to look over players before settling on the final 53. With that in mind, here are the key roster fights worth watching: Running back - pencil in Ryan Grant, James Starks and John Kuhn and probably Alex Green, leaving Quinn Johnson, Dimitri Nance, Brandon Saine, and Jon Hoese battling for one and at most two spots. At wide receiver, can Tori Gurley or Chastin West supplant a Brett Swain or even James Jones in the group? The tight end position is jammed and very little separates all 6 contenders leaving the Packers to consider the possibility of keeping as many as five. It will take a collapsing pocket with backup offensive linemen Derek Sherrod, Marshall Newhouse and Evan Dietrich-Smith to lose their grip on the backup positions. Nick McDonald may be the only other linemen worth hanging onto. On defense, Josh Gordy has positioned himself well in the fight for a backup cornerback job and Cardia Jackson had a monster practice week at inside linebacker. A big game could push Robert Francois out of the mix as a reserve inside. The Packers will get good work against the Colts' no-huddle offense, although Manning will sit it out recovering from off-season neck surgery. His availability for Indy's regular season opener is in doubt which is why the Colts signed 38 year old Kerry Collins out of retirement as insurance. He might even get a couple of snaps in the game. On the link below, you'll hear from McCarthy and several players with their thoughts on the matchup.
President and CEO Mark Murphy made it official today, announcing plans for a major expansion of Lambeau Field. The project will break ground September first and increase stadium capacity by 6600 seats in the south end zone. The 130 million dollar project, funded entirely by the Packers, will include new elevators and escalators to the four level seating in the south end zone. The north end zone will also be getting a new stadium gate with six elevators and construction of a rooftop terrace that will be used by club seat ticket holders. Throw in the pair of new, Mitsubishi Diamond Vision high definition video boards on each scoreboard and the renovation will top 142 million dollars. The new scoreboards will be ready for the 2012 season while the additional seats and viewing deck should be finished by 2013.