Green Bay Packers: Seven (Wide Receivers) Is Enough
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Can you ever have too many wide receivers?
After watching today's video of Rob Demovsky and Mike Vandermause's quick reaction Q&A, that's a question Packers fans should ask themselves.
When Vandermause asked him who the odd man out would be at the wide receiver position with Donald Driver looking like a lock for a roster spot, Demovsky replied that he thought the Packers will keep seven receivers at Summer's end.
That seems like a lot, doesn't it? We know the Packers like to spread the ball around, but that's a few too many mouths to feed.
It makes sense, though. If they can't move James Jones, there's no sense in cutting him. Why get nothing for something?
Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings aren't going anywhere, and they didn't bring Driver back just to cut him again.
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We know they like Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley—enough to not risk having them pouched while the team tries to slip them onto the practice squad. Certainly it is more valuable to have them develop on the regular team—even on the bench during games—than on the PS.
The Packers aren't shy about overloading a position—Demovsky reminds us that the team retained five tight ends once and three fullbacks another time.Every Packers fan will also tell you that all you have to do is look back to the 2010 season when people were dropping like flies to know the value of tremendous depth.
The hit to the rest of the roster would be pretty limited as well.
Yes, they'd need to find some places to cut fat—they'd have to make some hard choices. However, you can argue that they don't need a second fullback. They can do without one or two of their tight ends.
It does raise the question of what this would mean for a guy like Jermichael Finley. The lunch table is already pretty crowded as it stands with Jennings, Nelson, Cobb and, to an extent, Driver and Jones to feed.
I'm already unsure of how the targets get doled out to include Finley—will this push him further off the table? While Driver/Jones and the two former PS guys aren't major players in the offensive scheme, they will see some targets.
That has to come from somewhere.
Back to the central point, though—if there's one thing I believe in regarding the staff of the Packers, it's that they know how to work the margins to do what they want. If they want seven receivers, darn it, they'll have seven receivers.
The final question is—do they need them? Is the "Demovsky Seven" the best use of the roster spots?
Are 7 WRs the best use of roster spots?
As I said already regarding Finley, more receivers might mean less targets for him. It certainly bites into somebody's share—that could be Driver or Jones; in which case, it's probably negligible. Or it could eat into Nelson, which might hurt.
There are plenty of spots that look like they are allocated to critical positions as it is. Plenty of depth at linebacker and defensive line. Plenty of depth in the secondary, though you can argue some of it is questionable from a talent standpoint.
However, they are rail-thin at running back, and neither James Starks nor Alex Green are the pictures of durability. Brandon Saine is a guy I like a ton, but as Demovsky points out, is a bit of an unknown quantity.
Also, while they have plenty of safeties, aside from Morgan Burnett, is anyone a guy you know at this point is someone you can count on? Certainly, the Packers have enough talent at corner to scheme around that (Paging Charles Woodson, please pick up the green and gold courtesy phone); however, it isn't a position that feels terribly solid on its own.
Still, the Packers aren't a running team. While stability at the position is something I prize and think they need, it is not a priority for the Packers. Also, despite the unproven talent at safety, they have a lot of potential and, coupled with the schematic versatility I mentioned a paragraph ago, should be able to shore up any problems at the safety spot.
Meanwhile, as much as I like Donald Driver, he's at the end of a great career, and James Jones isn't nearly consistent enough to make me believe the Packers can afford to cut up-and-comers like Borel and Gurley.
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We also don't know definitively that Nelson will come close to repeating the numbers he had in 2011, nor if Randall Cobb will take the next step forward in development.
Having a few extra talented bodies in reserve in case any or all of the above falls apart is just Packers doing business as usual—covering themselves with depth in a position of primary importance.
Yes, the Packers could pile the roster spots elsewhere instead of at the receiver position.
Keeping seven receivers looks to be just as valuable a use of those spots, though.
In this case, it's not too much of a good thing.
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