We’ll probably never get over that final Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field a couple of weeks ago. Just about everyone on the planet thought the Packers were going to rout the New York Giants en route to the NFC championship game where they would do the same to the San Francisco 49ers …
We all know what happened on the way to the Super Bowl … the Packers fell flat, while fumbling and bumbling their way to a quick exit from the playoffs.
It was crushing, disappointing and made everyone wonder who those guys impersonating the Packers really were. It was a game that will be remembered right up there with the 1961 loss to the Eagles, the 1997 loss in the Super Bowl to the Broncos, the 1998 loss to the 49ers in the playoff game when Jerry fumbled and Terrell caught the ball and cried, the 2003 loss to the Eagles in the 4th and 26 game, and of course the overtime loss to the Giants in the 2007 championship game.
Take away the four fumbles, the six drops, the completed hail Mary and this year’s debacle may have been different, but hey … that’s why they play the game.
So, with that all said, we need to take a look at the Packers roster and wonder which players who were a part of this past year’s team that won 19 straight games won’t be a member of the team come the start of training camp next July.
Well, let’s take a stab at it. Here’s our list:
Chad Clifton: His days of protecting Green Bay Packers quarterbacks is probably nearing the very end. Though he may be brought back, his years of NFL battles with top notch defensive ends is beginning to show and the Packers will be better off looking to fill the position with younger bodies.
Jermichael Finley: Everyone seems to think the Packers will throw the franchise tag on this 24-year-old tight end who has so much potential, but has had as many disappointing performances as he has had big games. It may be time for the Packers to cut their ties with the inconsistent tight end … it’s not like they don’t have a stable of players at the position waiting behind him … the huge contract he will demand may be money wasted.
Ryan Grant: The veteran running back’s play was commendable down the stretch this past season, but his fumble in the playoff game may have stamped his ticket out of Green Bay. He signed a one-year deal and was playing for a long-term deal with the team. However, he could never beat out James Starks and when Starks went down with injuries late in the season, Grant was only serviceable. The Packers will cut him loose, as they should. The Packers have Alex Green coming off injured reserve next year and with a healthy Starks could form the base for a different look with Brandon Saine contributing. Clearly, the Packers will also have to look to the draft to add more to the position.
Erik Walden: Not only did his stock in the character column sink after his post-Thanksgiving Day fight with his girlfriend, but so did his play. He was a huge disappointment late in the season and it’s time for the Packers to move on and move him out. Waiving Walden won’t be a huge surprise and will be crucial in clearing some room for any linebackers the Packers draft come April.
Donald Driver: It pains me to write this, but the Packers will have to move on without their smiling wide receiver because of three factors – his age, his contract, and the depth of talent at the position. Though it would be great to keep the popular player on the roster for at least another year, it just doesn’t make fiscal sense for the team to do so. Unless Driver takes a significant pay cut, which he may do just to finish his career in Green Bay, it look as though he may have played his final game in Green Bay. All Packers fans hope they can work things out to keep him in the fold.
Pat Lee and Howard Green: Both of these players will most likely not make the final cut if they are brought back to compete in training camp. Neither did much for the team last year and should be moved.