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9 Packer players who could be cut before the season


PaulOttCarruth
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Players face battles to keep jobs

It's boom or bust time for 'Boys on Bubble'

 

Green Bay - When you're coming off a 4-12 season, no one's safe. You're in even greater danger when you've advanced in age, don't come cheap or haven't played to expectations.

 

Green Bay's roster is packed with such players who we'll call "Bubble Boys." And when training camp begins next month, they'll all have to excel in order to avoid a visit from the Turk.

 

Here's a list of veterans who must produce this summer, or they could be gone before the 2006 season begins.

 

1. Robert Ferguson, WR: Ferguson had the chance of his life last season and proceeded to drop the ball. After Javon Walker went down in the season-opener, Ferguson had every opportunity to prove he was the No. 1 wide receiver he'd claimed to be for years.

 

But Ferguson was arguably the Packers' most disappointing player and might be out of chances in Green Bay.

 

Ferguson missed five games, pushing his total to nine in three seasons. And even when Ferguson was healthy, he was either agitating quarterback Brett Favre because of his inconsistency, or he was vanishing at key moments.

 

Ferguson ranked just sixth on the Packers with 27 receptions and offered zero support for Donald Driver. Ferguson, a second-round draft choice in 2001, now has just 111 receptions in five years - an average of just 22.2 per year.

 

Ferguson's never been fast enough to win vertically. And he's not big enough to go up and get balls in a crowd.

 

Ferguson was a favorite of former coach Mike Sherman, largely for his work on special teams and his willingness to fight through injuries. But with Sherman out of the mix, Ferguson's days might be numbered as well.

 

2. Adrian Klemm, OT: General manager Ted Thompson gave Klemm an $800,000 signing bonus and made him his biggest free agent signing in 2005. Klemm was handed the left-guard job, but by week nine, he was glued to the bench.

 

Klemm was soft and completely ineffective on the move. And he lacked the necessary toughness to play the position.

 

Klemm did show some ability as a left tackle and could factor in as Chad Clifton's backup. But he hasn't been healthy enough to practice this spring and show the new coaching staff anything. If enough of Green Bay's young linemen show progress, there will be no reason to keep the 29-year old Klemm.

 

3. Mark Roman, S: Sherman signed Roman in 2004 to be his starting strong safety. Over the last two seasons, though, Roman has been an inconsistent tackler and has been involved in just four turnover plays.

 

Thompson signed Seattle's Marquand Manuel this off-season to replace Roman. And Roman hasn't taken it well, voicing his displeasure both publicly and privately.

 

Roman could be an ideal third safety on a Green Bay team that lacks depth at the position. But if the Packers fear Roman's attitude will be an issue, they'll likely release him and go with youth or another veteran released later this summer.

 

4. Najeh Davenport, RB: It was a minor surprise this winter when Green Bay re-signed Davenport, who's coming off ankle surgery and has never stayed healthy. And Davenport will have his work cut out for him to stick around for a fifth season.

 

Davenport has flashed brilliance at times, with a career-average of 5.0 yards per carry. He's extremely powerful, but runs too high and takes a beating. In fact, in four seasons, Davenport has played in just 39 games.

 

Samkon Gado is a virtual lock to stick around, and Green Bay is likely to keep a young back such as Noah Herron. If that's the case, Davenport and veteran Ahman Green could be in a battle for the final roster spot.

 

5. Ahman Green, RB: Green turned 29 in February. And he was already slowing down before his quadriceps burst in Minnesota last season.

 

It remains to be seen when Green will return during training camp. And it's a greater mystery if he can fully recover from such a brutal injury.

 

Green has taken a beating through the years, with 1,972 regular season touches during his eight-year NFL career. He was also the featured back for three seasons at Nebraska.

 

If years of wear-and-tear and his injured quad render Green a shell of his former self, his brilliant Packer days might be over.

 

6. Kenny Peterson, DT/DE: A third-round draft choice by Sherman in 2003, Peterson has never played to his draft standing. And he might be out of time.

 

Peterson played inside on passing downs last seasons and notched the first three sacks of his career. But he's probably too light to hold up there consistently, and he doesn't have the necessary speed to play off the edge.

 

Peterson might survive because Green Bay's cast of defensive linemen is a less-than-stellar group. But if an interesting veteran or two wind up on the street late in camp, Peterson could certainly be expendable.

 

7. B.J. Sander, P: Packers fans might not have Sander to kick around much longer. That's because Sander might soon get the boot.

 

Sander, an extremely controversial third-round draft choice of Sherman's in 2004, has had two extremely disappointing seasons.

 

Sander was a training-camp flop as a rookie, but was kept on the 53-man roster because Sherman didn't want to face the embarrassment of cutting him.

 

Last season, Sander had a decent first half, but bombed down the stretch. Sander finished the season ranked 30th in the NFL in gross average (39.2) and 31st in net average (33.9). Sander also struggled in his duties as a holder, drawing the ire of former kicker Ryan Longwell.

 

Sander's first job this summer will be to hold off unproven Jon Ryan, the only other punter currently in camp. But if neither impress, Green Bay might add a veteran, ala Bryan Barker in 2004.

 

8. Rod Gardner, WR: A washout in both Washington and Carolina, Gardner looked like a former first-round draft choice during his brief stay in Green Bay last winter. Gardner, picked up on waivers with two weeks left in the regular season, caught four balls for a 16.8-yard average and earned himself another shot in Green Bay.

 

But Gardner irritated the coaching staff when he missed a large portion of the current organized team activities. And while he has the ideal size for Mike McCarthy's offense, Gardner doesn't run particularly well.

 

Green Bay spent two draft picks on receivers and has some intriguing young prospects on the roster. If Gardner fails to impress in training camp, there's no guarantee he'll be around.

 

9. Will Whitticker, OT/OG: Whitticker was thrust into the starting lineup at right guard last season when Thompson failed to adequately address the position. Whitticker, a rookie seventh-round draft pick, then failed miserably, allowing more pressures (30½) and bad runs (12½) than any lineman on the roster.

 

Whitticker might have been in trouble even if Sherman were still around. With McCarthy now in charge, things look bleaker.

 

McCarthy and new offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski want sleek, athletic linemen to fit their zone-blocking scheme. At roughly 340 pounds, Whitticker doesn't fit the bill.

 

The coaching staff has already moved Whitticker from right guard to backup left tackle. And it might not be much longer before he's moved out of town.

 

 

Some might be surprised to see guys like Green and Davenport, but keep in mind their contracts were very cap friendly. The WR position also is worth watching. I think if Ferguson shows any sign of injury in camp, he'll be gone. Pretty much Gardner's last chance to make it in the NFL, too.

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We should keep: Fergy for his final chance, Gardner, Green, and Davenport. Pack need as many half decent Wideouts as they can get.

 

I kinda think Roman should also stay just due to never know what could happen with Manuel.

 

Cut the rest. Whitticker is not gonna fit in the new scheme without a doubt. I'm unsure about Peterson.

 

Real surprised not to see ahmad carroll on there. But hey I guess he covers the #3 wideouts pretty well.

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Wow a pretty slim receiving corp. Brett will have another terrible season once again...he will have wished he would have retired. I think Rogers will be playing by mid season if not sooner. I feel bad for Brett but just like any team that was once awesome, they're time comes to an end. Its sad really :D

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Real surprised not to see ahmad carroll on there. But hey I guess he covers the #3 wideouts pretty well.

 

 

Carroll is 22 years old. Even though he didnt play great, he did improve from his rookie year. He was thrown into the fire way too early in his career and never had a chance to develop. He is still the fastest guy on the field, and now that he has a year or two to sit and watch Al Harris and Charles Woodson, he'll be able to learn from two very good vets. I think him playing the nickelback this year will be great, and that he'll be starting at the age of 24 or 25, which is extremley young. You guys act like he's a 28 year old bust... He'll progress. At worst, I think he'll be a very nice nickelback.

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Surprised to see Najeh and Ahman on the list. Their contracts are pretty low and who will replace them?

 

Their contracts were worked the way they are, so that they could be cut without cap ramifications.

 

As far as who would replace them goes, I'd imagine it would be the same guy who so ably replaced them last year. :D

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Carroll is 22 years old. Even though he didnt play great, he did improve from his rookie year. He was thrown into the fire way too early in his career and never had a chance to develop. He is still the fastest guy on the field, and now that he has a year or two to sit and watch Al Harris and Charles Woodson, he'll be able to learn from two very good vets. I think him playing the nickelback this year will be great, and that he'll be starting at the age of 24 or 25, which is extremley young. You guys act like he's a 28 year old bust... He'll progress. At worst, I think he'll be a very nice nickelback.

 

 

Pretty much sums up my opinions on Carroll as well. :D

 

He's certainly frustrating sometimes, since he seems to be called for holding penalties at exactly the wrong time (3rd downs :D), but he's still talented. We've seen him make plays and we've seen him cover well for moderate stretches of time. He just needs some more time to mature.

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Their contracts were worked the way they are, so that they could be cut without cap ramifications.

 

As far as who would replace them goes, I'd imagine it would be the same guy who so ably replaced them last year. :D

 

 

 

True enough, but they don't have a lot of depth there. Herron may be OK, but also a part time FB. Who else do they have that has any experience? I would think they will keep at least one of them.

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True enough, but they don't have a lot of depth there. Herron may be OK, but also a part time FB. Who else do they have that has any experience? I would think they will keep at least one of them.

 

 

They will keep one of them. Everything i've read says that they are going to have to fight it out for a roster spot. I've said this a lot now, but Green's tank was empty and all of his wheels were falling off before his quad injury last year. He had a great run, but I think he'll be cut and then sign somewhere else, where he'll be relegated to a backup rb. Davenport still has a few more years to show that he can stay healthy. If he does that, he'll be the primary back.

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They will keep one of them. Everything i've read says that they are going to have to fight it out for a roster spot. I've said this a lot now, but Green's tank was empty and all of his wheels were falling off before his quad injury last year. He had a great run, but I think he'll be cut and then sign somewhere else, where he'll be relegated to a backup rb. Davenport still has a few more years to show that he can stay healthy. If he does that, he'll be the primary back.

 

 

 

Davenport has a good opportunity. Judging by his past I'm not so sure he will do much with it.

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