Packers position battles

July, 24, 2008
7/24/08
11:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

The Green Bay Packers have a little issue at quarterback. (You might have read a word or two about it here.) Otherwise, their lineup consists mostly of returning starters. Here are a few interesting depth situations where movement could occur:

Backup running back: Brandon Jackson vs. Noah Herron vs. Vernand Morency

Ryan Grant emerged from this group as the unquestioned starter last season, and that's how the Packers will begin training camp -- if Grant signs a contract extension by that time. Whether he is signed or holds out, however, the Packers want to establish a pecking order behind him rather than using the committee style they opened last season with.

Jackson is the clear favorite to secure that role and would be the likely starter if Grant's absence is prolonged. A second-round draft choice last season, Jackson is built low to the ground and would have success in the Packers' west-coast scheme. He has worked this offseason on improving his pass catching so that he can compete for a third-down role as well.

Intensity index: Hot

Long snapper: J.J. Jansen vs. Thomas Gafford

Yes, you read that right. The Packers have competition at long-snapper following the retirement of Rob Davis. True story: During a trip to Packers mini-camp this summer, committed members of the Wisconsin media were charting each practice snap.

The competition is wide open, at least as of now. The Packers are going to have to make some roster moves in order to fit their full draft class under the NFL's 80-man cap. But as of Thursday morning both Jansen and Gafford were still on the Packers' roster. Not many teams have the luxury of taking two long snappers to camp with them, but it clearly represents a priority for the Packers.

Intensity index: Hot. (Is there any other way to describe a long-snapping competition?)

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