It would have been 27, but with the release of fullback Jon Hoese Friday, Packers GM Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy will have to say goodbye to 26 players who fought for their professional football lives over the past month in training camp.
Today by 5 p.m., the cutdown to 53 players by all 32 NFL teams will add to the nation’s unemployment numbers as more than 850 players will be left without a job. That’s one large single-day layoff.
Many will be brought back to teams to be placed on practice squads and yet others will be snatched up by other teams looking to strengthen their depth charts and practice squads.
That’s the challenge that Thompson and McCarthy face today – the day that Thompson admitted as a most distasteful time.
So, as we inch closer to the 5 p.m. deadline, there are many speculating on the look of the final roster … Some I agree with, while others are questionable.
Here is one from JSonline that I thought was pretty good.
I’m not going to prognosticate on the entire Packers’ roster here, but will focus on two players who have jumped out at me: Chastin West and Tori Gurley.
Which one will stick? Or do they both get cut in hopes that at least one of them might sneak back onto the practice squad?
West, who was on last year’s practice squad, if released, would go elsewhere. Undrafted free agent Gurley may be gobbled up by another team, but may also fly under the radar. That’s the chance Thompson would have to take.
West is the more polished player and was the preseason’s leading receiver with 153 yards on eight receptions during the preseason. His highlight was the 97-yard touchdown reception he hauled in from Matt Flynn to help ensure the win against the Cardinals.
But Gurley, though very raw, brings a couple of intriguing qualities to the table: His 83.5-inch wingspan, 6-4, 216-pound frame and his penchant for making big plays on special teams.
“I showed an ability to go up and get the ball, something that all the receivers can do,” Gurley said in a previously published story in the Green Bay Press Gazette. “But with my height, I feel like it’s an advantage. But I play well on special teams.
“Hopefully it will grade out well. You never know with these coaches until they go watch the film.”
Either player would be fine additions to the team – if Thompson does indeed decide to go the route of keeping that many receivers.
As it stands, these receivers are locks: Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson and rookie Randall Cobb.
Does Thompson go with a sixth receiver?
That question and the look of the entire 53-man roster won’t be answered until later today.
Stay tuned …