Starter Pack: Whose spot does Bell take?

December, 3, 2013
12/03/13
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A roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When the Packers placed rookie Johnathan Franklin on injured reserve last Wednesday because of a neck injury, they replaced him on the roster with practice-squad linebacker Victor Aiyewa.

But they still needed another running back because without Franklin, they had only two halfbacks -- Eddie Lacy and James Starks -- plus fullback John Kuhn on their roster.

So it should not have come as a major surprise that on Monday they signed a running back, former Chicago Bears veteran Kahlil Bell, according to an NFL source.

The deal was not finalized before the end of league business on Monday, so the Packers did not announce the signing.

Perhaps they were still figuring out whose roster spot Bell would take.

That could depend on the Packers’ injury situation. Coming out of Thursday’s loss at the Detroit Lions, they announced only one new injury -- to center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return.

Because coach Mike McCarthy postponed his Monday news conference until Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. local time, there were no injury updates available.

If Dietrich-Smith’s injury is not season-ending, then the Packers will have to find another roster spot for Bell. Among their inactive players against the Lions were four injured players -- quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), linebacker Jamari Lattimore (quadriceps), tight end Brandon Bostick (concussion) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (knee).

If the Packers don’t place any of those players on injured reserve, then perhaps they will cut Aiyewa and hope he clears waivers so that he can return to the practice squad.

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
  • Rodgers turned 30 on Monday, but that’s hardly an age when quarterbacks decline. Seven of the last 10 quarterbacks who have won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award were 30 or older.
  • In our latest mailbag, many readers had questions about general manager Ted Thompson’s plans for turning the Packers around after this season has gone awry.
Elsewhere:
  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde made the comparison between this year’s Packers and the 2003 edition, which also saw its season at a crossroads following a Thanksgiving loss at the Detroit Lions.
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Mike Vandermause wrote that the Packers proved one thing over the last month, that they can’t win without Rodgers, and Pete Dougherty had a scouting report on the Packers’ next opponent, the Atlanta Falcons.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lori Nickel wrote that until Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions, who recorded seven sacks, the offensive line had been doing a decent job protecting the Packers quarterbacks.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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