Green Bay Packers Cut O-Line Depth, Roll Dice on Health and Remaining Backups

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 09:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers lines up behind his offensive line against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So cut day or, as one might call it, "Black Friday," has begun, and teams have started to winnow their overlarge rosters down to the 53 they need to have.

It's a rough day, as you might imagine, for many of the players, as they are faced with the prospect that a goal they have worked for their entire lives may be unreachable. If you want an inside look at that, check out Ryan Riddle's first-hand account of one of his cut days.

If you've ever had a door closed in your face, you'll feel that piece.

For the Packers, they began by cutting five players. Not unusual. What struck me was that four of the five were offensive linemen. They would cut two more offensive linemen by the end of the day.

Reggie Wells, Sampson Genus, Tommie Draheim, Greg Van Roten, Shea Allard and rookie tackle Andrew Datko were all let go Friday in moves that are both understandable, yet puzzling.

Let's face it, the second- and third-string offensive lines were not good this August. Still, this strips the line of depth. Of the group, Datko will hit the practice squad; the rest are likely gone for now.

It's unlikely they will find more depth help in this weekend's group of cuts. They might see someone they like, but for the most part, there are reasons these guys get cut and while money and age are often part of it, so is ability. In fact, most of the time, that's the biggest reason.

Which means that the Packers are comfortable with two things: the projected health of their starters, and their ability to fill in if those starters are not healthy.

It's an interesting all-or-nothing attitude that the team is following. As with Graham Harrell, the inexperienced and struggling backup to Aaron Rodgers, they will stick with their current options.

As risky as it is with Harrell as your backup, it's just as risky to have the offensive line lack depth. Ask the Bears and Jets about that the last few years.

Still, the Packers have always believed in their roster solutions and have a decent knack at knowing what they have in their roster. While we don't see what they do, their plan tends to work out.

It's not without risk, but again, this is how the Packers play the game. Ultimately, they roll the dice a ton more than we expect and see.

This is just another example.


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