- Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Examining the Green Bay Packers' roster:
This might be the hardest call of them all, whether to keep both Flynn and Tolzien. And if the answer is no, then which to keep? Flynn is a proven winner as a backup, although he lacks some of Tolzien's physical attributes. There's just something about the Flynn-Packers marriage that seems to work, but Tolzien is making it a tough call. Both got some things done on Saturday against the Rams. Tolzien threw the ball more often and better, but Flynn directed drives that led to points. This one is going right down to the end.
RUNNING BACKS (4)
If the Packers keep only two quarterbacks, then it could open up a spot for another halfback. Rajion Neal of Tennessee opened some eyes on his 12-yard touchdown run against the Titans before he left with a knee injury. He did not play against the Rams. LaDarius Perkins of Mississippi State also has shown flashes, but then Michael Hill emerged as a contender with a strong showing in St. Louis. But if they keep only four backs, then all of that is moot.
There's no way the Packers can cut Janis now, not after the potential the seventh-round pick flashed on his 34-yard catch-and-run touchdown against the Rams. He's still a raw, former small-college receiver but if the Packers were to try to sneak him through the practice squad, another team would snatch him off waivers for his speed and athleticism. If a sixth receiver sticks, it will be Kevin Dorsey. He has the potential to be a core special teams player. It may come down to the third quarterback or the sixth receiver.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
The only question is what to do with Colt Lyerla? His knee injury will prevent him from coming back before the regular-season opener. Injured reserve is the best option if they want to keep him and develop him.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
The loss of Don Barclay to a season-ending knee injury might cause the Packers to keep one fewer offensive linemen. The Packers can get away with it because they typically only activate seven offensive linemen on game day. Without Barclay, Sherrod is the backup at both tackle spots, and Taylor would handle either guard spot.
DEFENSIVE LINE (6)
Pennel, a rookie free agent from Colorado State-Pueblo, probably solidified his roster spot with a second straight strong preseason performance against the Rams. The Packers like his size (6-foot-4, 332 pounds) in the middle of their defensive line, and they need a backup nose tackle. They thought veteran free agent Letroy Guion (hamstring) might be that guy, but he can't get on the field. He probably needs to return this week to have any chance.
The way rookie outside linebacker Carl Bradford has played, there's little reason to keep him on the roster unless Thompson decides he just can't cut a fourth-round pick this soon. The Packers haven't cut a fourth-rounder coming out of camp since receiver Cory Rodgers in 2006. Another rookie, undrafted free agent Jayrone Elliott of Toledo, deserves a spot more than Bradford. In just eight snaps against the Rams, Elliott had three sacks (including one that forced a fumble). But it came in garbage time against a backup tackle who may not make the Rams. He needs to show that wasn't a fluke. Undrafted rookie Joe Thomas' chances took a blow when he sustained a knee injury against the Titans and did not play against St. Louis. That puts Mulumba back in play. He has consistently been paired with Palmer as the No. 3 outside linebacker combination.
Rookie Demetri Goodson is another draft pick who looks like he won't make it. The Packers can afford to keep only five cornerbacks because safety Micah Hyde will play as a slot cornerback in the dime package. If they keep another one, look at Jumal Rolle, who got a late-season promotion from the practice squad last year.
Banjo had an interception taken away by a penalty on another Packers' defender against the Rams. He keeps showing up on several of the number one special teams units, which is a good sign.
Unlike last year, when Crosby was under the microscope, there's no competition here.