Green Bay Packers: Predicting the 53 Man Roster

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Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52). Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Inside Linebacker (5)

Starters – Clay Matthews, Sam Barrington
Backups – Nate PalmerJake Ryan, Carl Bradford
Cut – Joe Thomas, Josh Francis, Tavarus Dantzler

This position has been by far the most disappointing of the preseason. Granted, Matthews has only played one quarter during the entire exhibition season, but after year of subpar inside linebacker play, the Packers revamped the position by releasing last year’s opening-day starters, A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones.

Green Bay has also put a lot of trust in Barrington’s emergence as the their defensive force in the middle. However, the third-year linebacker has had a quiet preseason to this point and his inability in pass coverage was severely exposed on Saturday against the Eagles.

Although Barrington is an active player against the run, the Packers need more consistency in all phases of the defense at the position.

Palmer’s been decent, but not spectacular, in 59 preseason snaps. It will be interesting to see how well he plays once the club is removed from his left hand.

Ryan had a solid rookie debut against New England but has been quiet ever since. Bradford has shown improvement, especially in pass defense, which should allow him to earn the fifth and final roster spot at inside linebacker.

Overall, however, this position still needs to improve by leaps and bounds for the Packers defense to be anything more than average this season.

Matthews may be playing more snaps on the inside than we originally thought, especially if the lack of progress from the young players continues.

Next: Cornerback