The defending Super Bowl champions proved last year that they have a deep roster when many of their starters found themselves on injured reserve, forcing backups to step up and take their places. While many of the backups stepped up beautifully, there are still some players on this Green Bay Packers team who have struggled, and due to the depth of the roster, are expendable.
Here are five players on the roster who the Packers could afford to lose, and should probably be released in 2012.
Jarrett Bush has certainly proved himself as a solid special teams player, but he has struggled on defense in his years with the Packers, While he has done well, the Packers should try to improve their cornerback depth, rather than rely on Jarrett Bush or Pat Lee, who I will get to later in this list.
If Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson or Sam Shields were to go down for an extended period of time, Packers fans would be concerned to have either Bush or Lee regularly on the field. The one thing that keeps Bush on the roster is his special teams ability—but is that truly enough to keep him on the roster?
Quarless certainly stepped up and played fairly well went Jermichael Finley went down last year. But the Packers are rolling five-deep in the tight end position, with starter Finley in front of Quarless, as well as two rookie tight ends with a lot of potential in D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor, and a solid blocking tight end in Tom Crabtree.
With Quarless being a similar tight end to Finley, except less physically talented, I'm just not sure there is a place for him in the long-term future. However, if the Packers cannot re-sign Finley in 2012, then there would certainly be a place for Quarless on the roster.
Brad Jones' spot on the roster is very similar to Quarless' spot: He is a player who has shown flashes of solid play but unfortunately is playing an extremely deep position where there may not be much of a place for him.
There are a whopping 10 linebackers on the Packers rosterJermichaelwith players like Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop and promising players in D.J. Smith, Erik Walden and Vic So'oto. At one point, Jones was seen as a potential starter, but after being out for most of last season, and with talent sprouting at the linebacker position, there may not be a place for him.
Evan Dietrich-Smith benefited in the preseason from playing for an offensive line with very little depth, so there was certainly a place for him should someone go down. However, Dietrich-Smith has been an underwhelming lineman throughout his career. And while he be serviceable if Scott Wells, Josh Sitton or T.J. Lang went down, the Packers could certainly do better to improve their depth at center or guard.
If the Packers can improve their linemen depth in the 2012 offseason, Dietrich-Smith should be let go.
Pat Lee struggled all preseason long up until the final game against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he made a couple of big defensive plays, including a forced fumble. However, Lee has been disappointing throughout his career, and he has not proven that he could step up if one of the starting cornerbacks would go down.
Looking at depth, the cornerback position and the offensive line seem to be the least deep, so the Packers should work to improve the backups in both of these positions As we saw from last year, the injury bug can hit anyone, at any time.