NFC North: Garth Gerhart

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Between now and when the Green Bay Packers report to training camp on July 25, we will spend considerable time looking at the roster from a variety of angles.

In the days leading up to camp, we will break things down by position group. And before that, we will look at several players who need to give the Packers more than they did last year.

But before we do any of that, let's reset the depth chart as it likely stands heading into training camp. This is an unofficial assessment, but it is based on observations during organized team activities and minicamp practices combined with interviews with assistant coaches and scouts.

First up is the offense:

Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien, Chase Rettig.

Notes: Expect a legitimate battle for the No. 2 job between Flynn and Tolzien in the preseason. Coach Mike McCarthy noted several times how much Tolzien improved thanks to a full offseason with the Packers. The biggest question here is whether the Packers will keep three quarterbacks rather than only two. Rettig looks like a camp arm, at best.

Running backs: Eddie Lacy, James Starks, DuJuan Harris, Michael Hill, Rajion Neal, LaDarius Perkins.

Notes: The loss of Johnathan Franklin to a career-ending neck injury struck a blow to what appeared to be a deep position. But it also sorted out things somewhat, although Harris still needs to show that he can be productive like he was late in the 2012 season. The knee injury that cost him all of last season does not appear to be an issue. Neal and Perkins, a pair of undrafted rookies, both are slashing backs similar to Harris with Perkins (5-foot-7, 195 pounds) also being similar in stature.

Fullbacks: John Kuhn, Ina Liaina.

Notes: There's no reason to think the veteran Kuhn won't be around for another season.

Receivers: Outside -- Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, Kevin Dorsey, Chris Harper. Slot -- Randall Cobb, Jared Abbrederis, Myles White, Alex Gillett.

Notes: Adams, the rookie from Fresno State, may eventually supplant Boykin, but he will have to catch the ball more cleanly than he did in the offseason. He battled drop issues at times during the OTAs and minicamp. Fellow rookie Janis showed up regularly during team periods. Harper was off to a strong start until a hamstring injury knocked him out. In the slot, Abbrederis looks like a natural fit. White bulked up after contributing some as a rookie last season and should not be ignored.

Tight ends: Richard Rodgers, Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor, Jake Stoneburner, Colt Lyerla, Justin Perillo.

Notes: Even if Quarless is healthy for the start of camp, Rodgers might still have the edge for the starting job after a strong offseason. He's more dynamic as a receiver than Quarless, who missed the entire offseason because of an undisclosed injury. Bostick came back late in the offseason from foot surgery. While there are high expectations for Lyerla, the undrafted rookie did not flash often enough during offseason practices.

Tackles: Right side -- Bryan Bulaga, Don Barclay, Aaron Adams, John Fullington. Left side -- David Bakhtiari, Derek Sherrod, Jeremy Vujnovich.

Notes: Bulaga practiced with a large brace on his surgically repaired left knee and has something to prove after missing all of last season, but the fact that he's back at right tackle shows how much the Packers believe in Bakhtiari on the left side. Sherrod made it through the full offseason program for the first time, which is something of an accomplishment considering his injury history. But he's running out of time to show he can play like the first-round pick that he was in 2011. Barclay, who started 18 regular-season games the last two seasons, has split his time between right tackle and guard and looks like the No. 6 offensive lineman.

Guard: Right side -- T.J. Lang, Barclay, Lane Taylor. Left side -- Josh Sitton, Barclay, Andrew Tiller, Jordan McCray.

Notes: Barclay likely would be the top back up at both guard spots, although Taylor worked at right guard with the No. 2 offensive line while Barclay played right tackle or left guard.

Center: JC Tretter, Garth Gerhart, Corey Linsley.

Notes: Tretter took all the snaps with the number one offensive line this offseason. It is his job to lose, but his lack of experience makes him something short of a sure thing. Gerhart worked ahead of Linsley, a fifth-round pick, but if anyone is going to challenge Tretter it might be Linsley.
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- That the Packers released backup center Greg Van Roten on Tuesday wasn't as surprising as the timing and their reason for doing so.

According to his agent, the Packers wanted to get bigger at his position.

Van Roten, who was listed at 6-foot-3 and 303 pounds, was actually up to 315 pounds last season before he injured his foot in Week 5. That would have made him the biggest center on the roster. Instead, after two seasons as a backup, Van Roten is looking for work.

It's worth wondering what that means for Evan Dietrich-Smith, who took over as the starting center in late 2012 and held the job for the entire 2013 season. At 6-2 and 308 pounds, Dietrich-Smith is no bigger than Van Roten.

If the Packers indeed want to get bigger up the middle, then perhaps Dietrich-Smith, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, might not be re-signed.

The only other centers on the Packers' roster are JC Tretter (6-4, 307) and Garth Gerhart (6-1, 310).

In case you missed it on Best of the rest:
  • At, Jason Wilde profiled Gash, who talked about the rigors of playing 12 years as an NFL fullback.
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Weston Hodkiewicz also profiled Gash. Also in the Press-Gazette, via USA Today, Jim Corbett talked to Vince Lombardi Jr., who explained that his legendary father might have been the perfect coach for Sam.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tyler Dunne wrote that Sam's position coach at Missouri, Craig Kuligowski, believes his former player will have to adjust to playing outside linebacker in the NFL but that he should be drafted within the first three rounds.
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The first day of the Packers' offseason on Monday was spent mostly talking to and writing about players who may or may not return next season.

With 17 unrestricted free agents, there's bound to be significant roster turnover (more on that in the "In case you missed it" section below).

But every offseason there's also the possibility of turnover on the coaching staff and in the personnel department. This season, there are not only questions about the status of defensive coordinator Dom Capers, but also the possibility that coach Mike McCarthy could lose members of his offensive staff.

Multiple reports, including one from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, indicate that quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo appears to be a hot candidate for an offensive coordinator job or possibly even a head-coaching position.

One such possibility could come with the Miami Dolphins, where coach Joe Philbin parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Philbin, the former Packers offensive coordinator, spent six seasons on the same staff with McAdoo in Green Bay. It was Philbin's departure for Miami in 2012 that opened the door for McAdoo to move from tight ends coach to quarterbacks coach.

Before McAdoo was promoted two years ago, quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed an interest in having a coach who had played the position -- something McAdoo did not do. McCarthy now has a member of his coaching staff who fits that profile. That's running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, who spent nine seasons as a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills.

In case you missed it on
  • Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of Monday's final open locker room session was what cornerback Tramon Williams had to say. He said he thinks the Packers need more veteran players, especially on defense.
  • We broke down the list of free-agents-to-be into two categories -- those on the offensive side of the ball and those on the defensive side.
  • There were so many defining moments to the 2013 season, but we've tried to narrow them down to the 10 that most shaped the season. We will count them down over the next two weeks. Here's number 10.
  • On a personal note, we've made it through our first season here -- although not without a bit of a medical scare -- and I appreciate everyone's interest. Things will continue to evolve here over the next few months. We'll keep the Starter Pack alive for at least a little while longer as the early stages of the offseason tend to be rather newsworthy, and then we'll see where things go from there. Your input is always welcome. At this point, the best way is to reach out to me on Twitter @RobDemovsky.
Best of the rest:
  • The NFL's official transaction wire indicated the Packers signed six of their eight practice squad players to futures contracts for next season. They were: receiver Alex Gillett, running back Orwin Smith, cornerback Antonio Denard, guard Andrew Tiller, center Garth Gerhart and tackle Aaron Adams. It was unclear why receiver Tyrone Walker and guard Lanier Coleman were not immedialy signed.
  • At, Jason Wilde wrote that McAdoo would be a logical choice for Philbin in Miami and that running back DuJuan Harris (who missed the entire season with a knee injury) hopes to return next season and join with Eddie Lacy to provide a 1-2 punch.
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Pete Dougherty wrote that although there have been no signs that McCarthy is pondering a change at defensive coordinator, that possibility can't be dismissed.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tyler Dunne and Tom Silverstein came up with a list of things general manager Ted Thompson will have to address in the offseason.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued to work with the backup centers during individual drills at Wednesday’s practice just like he did last week.

But unlike last week, he did more throwing on the run.

At one point, Rodgers scrambled to his left and threw a sharp pass to Jordy Nelson along the sideline. Rodgers said he experienced pain his collarbone after last Wednesday's workout, so how he feels after this latest session will help determine when he can return from his Nov. 4 injury.

While Rodgers worked with backup lineman J.C. Tretter and practice-squad lineman Garth Gerhart, Matt Flynn took snaps from starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Running back Eddie Lacy, who finished Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons after he sprained his right ankle in the second quarter, was not practicing during the portion that was open to reporters.

Others not practicing were: linebacker Jamari Lattimore (knee), linebacker Brad Jones (ankle), outside linebacker Mike Neal (abdomen) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (ankle).

Receiver Randall Cobb, who is eligible to come off the injured reserve-designated to return list this week, was not practicing. Cobb was scheduled to test his fractured tibia in a workout on Tuesday.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Say this much about Aaron Rodgers: His broken collarbone doesn’t appear to have slowed down his fastball.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback took part in individual drills during the portion of Wednesday’s practice that was open to reporters. Just like he did last Tuesday, Rodgers took snaps from the backup centers. He threw mostly short- and intermediate-range passes, but they appeared to have his usual velocity.

Nevertheless, Rodgers still looks like a long shot to make his return on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field. The tests he underwent Tuesday did not show enough healing for team doctors to clear him to do anything more than some light practicing.

While Rodgers took snaps with practice-squad lineman Garth Gerhart and JC Tretter, who remain on the physically unable to perform list, Matt Flynn worked with starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith. Coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that Flynn would take the starter’s reps in practice.

Dietrich-Smith returned after dropping out of Thursday’s 40-10 loss at the Detroit Lions because of a knee injury. He appeared to put on a brace just before practice started.

Two players who were inactive against the Lions -- linebacker Jamari Lattimore (quad) and tight end Brandon Bostick (concussion) -- returned to practice.

Only two players did not practice. They were linebacker Mike Neal, who was listed on the injury report last week with an abdominal injury but played against the Lions; and defensive end C.J. Wilson, who was inactive because of an ankle injury.

The full injury report and comments from coach Mike McCarthy will be available after practice.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Twenty-two days after he broke his collarbone, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to the practice field on Tuesday.

Whether he plays on Thursday against the Detroit Lions is another story.

However, Rodgers was cleared by doctors to begin doing some on-field activities. Wearing the usual red quarterback jersey, Rodgers took part in all the individual drills during the portion open to the media. No team (11-on-11) periods were conducted during the open part of practice.

It’s worth noting that during a period in which the quarterbacks took snaps from center, Rodgers was working with practice squad offensive lineman Garth Gerhart. Matt Flynn, who finished Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings took snaps from starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith, while Scott Tolzien worked with guard T.J. Lang.

On Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers’ chances of playing against the Lions were “slim to none.”

Among others who returned to practice on Tuesday were tackle Don Barclay (knee), cornerback Sam Shields (hamstring) and defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (groin). All missed Sunday’s game against the Vikings.

The full injury report, plus comments from McCarthy, will be available after practice.

Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
Most significant move: After the Packers released Graham Harrell on Aug. 24, the backup quarterback job was Vince Young’s to lose. The former first-round draft pick on the Tennessee Titans lost it. After an unimpressive performance in the preseason finale at Kansas City on Thursday, when Young led only two field goal drives in 11 possessions, the Packers released him on Saturday.

Perhaps he was fighting a losing battle from the start, considering he wasn’t signed until Aug. 5. That was 11 days after the Packers opened training camp. He missed the first seven practices and a scrimmage.

It leaves an unsettled situation behind starter Aaron Rodgers. For now, the only other quarterback on the roster is B.J. Coleman, who spent all of last season on the practice squad. Coleman opened training camp as the No. 3 quarterback but slipped to fourth string after Young was signed and before Harrell was released. In the preseason, Coleman completed just 14 of 34 passes (41.2 percent) for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It’s hard to imagine the Packers won’t explore other options over the weekend.

2011 revisited: With running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams among the most surprising cuts on Saturday, it made a strong statement about the 2011 draft class. Packers general manager Ted Thompson drafted 10 players in April of that year. Only three of them – receiver Randall Cobb (second round), cornerback Davon House (fourth round) and tight end Ryan Taylor (seventh round) – remain on the roster. Tackle Derek Sherrod (first round) will start the season on the physically unable to perform list. He still has not returned from the broken leg he sustained on Dec. 18, 2011. Green was a third-round pick, while Williams was taken in the fifth round.

What’s next: Like all teams, the Packers will scour the waiver wire and free-agent lists. Their focus likely will be on the quarterbacks. Even if they find one they like, they might have to use Coleman as the No. 2 early in the season while the newcomer gets acclimated to the offense. The Packers haven’t carried three quarterbacks on their active roster since late in the 2011 season. They also can begin signing players to their eight-man practice squad on Sunday afternoon. Thompson is scheduled to meet with reporters on Sunday afternoon.

Players cut: QB: Vince Young. RB: Alex Green. FB: Jonathan Amosa. TE: Matthew Mulligan, Jake Stoneburner, D.J. Williams. WR: Charles Johnson, Tyrone Walker, Myles White. OL: Andrew Datko, Garth Gerhart, Kevin Hughes, Patrick Lewis. DL: Jordan Miller. LB: Terrell Manning, Dezman Moses, Donte Savage. CB: Loyce Means, Brandon Smith, James Nixon. S: David Fulton, Chaz Powell.

Midafternoon Packers cuts update

August, 31, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The biggest name among the Green Bay Packers' cuts so far clearly was quarterback Vince Young, who was released on Saturday morning.

But they also have cut a couple of players who saw significant playing time last season in running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams.

Green was their leading rusher last season with 464 yards, and Williams played in 14 of 18 games last season (including playoffs).

With a few hours left before teams have to trim their rosters to 53 players, here’s the latest list of the players who have been released.

Note: This list is a compilation of our own reporting here at ESPN plus reports from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packer Report, and players with verified Twitter accounts. With 18 cuts already confirmed, the Packers will have to make four more roster moves to reach the 53-man limit.



Thursday, 9/4
Sunday, 9/7
Monday, 9/8