NFL Nation: Kevin Dorsey

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have added depth on the offensive line, which could be an indication that one or both of their starting guards won't be available for Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

They signed tackle Jamon Meredith on Saturday and placed receiver Kevin Dorsey on injured reserve. Dorsey sustained a foot injury in practice this week.

The Packers might need Meredith to suit up if guards T.J. Lang (ankle) and/or Josh Sitton (toe) can't play. Both were listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

The Packers activate at least seven offensive linemen on game days and before Meredith's signing, they had eight on the roster, which would leave them one short if neither of the starting guards can go.

Meredith returns to the team that drafted him in the fifth round in 2009. However, he never played for the Packers. The Buffalo Bills signed him off the Packers' practice squad early in 2009. He played in 10 games for the Bills in 2009 and 2010 and went on to play for the Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. He most recently played in four games for Indianapolis this season.

Also, the Packers downgraded safety Morgan Burnett from probable to questionable after Saturday's practice, leaving his status in doubt for Sunday's game. Burnett has not played since he sustained a calf injury late in the Oct. 19 game against the Carolina Panthers.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Josh Sitton went through a workout on Friday morning, and then the Green Bay Packers' injured left guard spoke as if he were playing in Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

"Just moving around doing certain movements that I'll be doing on Sunday," Sitton said when asked to describe the workout designed to test his toe injury.

When asked about his use of the future tense, Sitton said: "I don't know. I'm going to see how it feels tomorrow."

Officially, the Packers listed both Sitton and starting right guard T.J. Lang as questionable on their injury report. Lang did not speak to reporters on Friday.

Sitton said he spoke with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie on Friday about the risk of further injury to his toe, which remains swollen.

"I think that risk is going to be there the rest of the season no matter what," Sitton said. "It's not something that's going to be a huge threat. That doesn't worry me as much."

The issue, however, is that if Sitton continues to play on it, it's not likely to heal.

"It's not going to get any better the next eight weeks," Sitton said. "We'll see how that goes. Hopefully, I don't need surgery."

In other injury-related news, receiver Kevin Dorsey sustained what coach Mike McCarthy called "a significant injury" to his foot in practice on Thursday. The injury, which was still be evaluated on Friday, could end Dorsey's season. The seventh-round pick in 2013 missed all of his rookie season because of a toe injury. Dorsey began this season on the practice squad but was promoted to the roster on Oct. 6 and has played a major role on special teams.

Here's the full injury report:
Out
WR Kevin Dorsey (foot)

Questionable
RG T.J. Lang (ankle)
LG Josh Sitton (toe)

Probable
S Morgan Burnett (calf)
DE Datone Jones (ankle)
QB Aaron Rodgers (hamstring)
CB Sam Shields (knee)

Packers will be without Datone Jones

October, 12, 2014
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Late last week, Datone Jones was optimistic about his chances of playing in Sunday's game at the Miami Dolphins, but the ankle injury the Green Bay Packers defensive end sustained 10 days ago against the Minnesota Vikings apparently did not allow for that.

Jones was among the Packers' seven inactives.

It's unclear whether Jones took part in the Packers' light practice Saturday, but on Friday -- a day the Packers did not practice -- coach Mike McCarthy said: "I would hope if we were practicing today, he would've been out there in some form or fashion."

Second-year pro Josh Boyd, who missed the Vikings game because of a knee injury, will start in Jones' place, but it also could mean another sizeable role for Luther Robinson, who was promoted from the practice squad the day of the Vikings game and played 35 snaps.

Receiver Kevin Dorsey, who was promoted from the practice Monday, is active.

There were no other surprises among the inactives.

Here's the full list:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The long weekend off was not long enough for receiver Jarrett Boykin and defensive end Datone Jones.

Neither was able to return to practice Wednesday, when the Green Bay Packers hit the field for the first time since last Thursday's 42-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings, leaving their status in doubt for Sunday's game at the Miami Dolphins.

Boykin has missed the last two games because of a groin injury, and the fact that the Packers promoted receiver Kevin Dorsey from the practice squad Monday could be an indication Boykin is no closer to returning.

Jones sustained a sprained ankle in the first half against the Vikings and did not return.

They were the only two players not practicing Wednesday during the portion that was open to reporters.

Defensive end Josh Boyd (knee) and linebacker Sam Barrington (hamstring) both returned to practice after missing the Vikings game.

The full injury report will be available following practice.

The Film Don't Lie: Packers

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
11:00
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A weekly look at what the Green Bay Packers must fix:

The Packers nearly played a complete game in Thursday's 42-10 rout of the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

Nearly.

But if there's an area where coach Mike McCarthy might have to place an extra emphasis this week in preparation for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, perhaps it's on special teams, specifically on kickoff coverage.

The Vikings got a 46-yard kickoff return from Marcus Sherels and a 56-yard return from Cordarrelle Patterson (although it was called back of a holding penalty). Special-teams coach Shawn Slocum's coverage units have been much improved over last season, when they ranked 29th out of 32 teams in both average yards allowed on kickoff returns and punt returns.

But against the Vikings, they had problems tackling. The Packers missed a season-high five special-teams tackles, according to ProFootballFocus.com. In their previous three games combined, the Packers missed only one special-teams tackle. That followed four misses in the Week 1 loss at the Seattle Seahawks. A superb effort by punter Tim Masthay, who tied a team record with five punts downed inside the 20, aided the Packers punt coverage unit.

The Packers made one special-teams-related roster move this week, releasing core player Ryan Taylor, who had only one special-teams tackle in five games this season. They replaced him with receiver Kevin Dorsey, who played on several of the No. 1 special-teams units during the preseason. Dorsey was promoted from the practice squad.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Kevin Dorsey showed significant progress as a receiver in training camp this summer, but he may have been promoted to the Green Bay Packers roster on Monday for another reason: his special-teams play.

Dorsey
As the preseason progressed, Dorsey saw increased practice and game reps on coordinator Shawn Slocum's top special-teams units. By the end of camp, Dorsey had received significant work on the No. 1 punt return, kickoff return and kickoff coverage teams. He also was the No. 2 kickoff returner. He returned five kickoffs in preseason games and averaged 22.4 yards, including a long return of 27 yards.

Dorsey, a seventh-round draft pick in 2013, spent the first five weeks of the season on the practice squad after spending all of his rookie season on injured reserve.

He took the roster spot of tight end Ryan Taylor, who was released on Monday.

It also could be an indication that receiver Jarrett Boykin's groin injury is slow to heal. Boykin, the team’s No. 3 receiver, has missed the past two games and is one of the team's few injury concerns heading into Sunday's game at the Miami Dolphins.

The Packers replaced Dorsey on the practice squad with cornerback Tay Glover-Wright from Utah State. He spent part of training camp with the Atlanta Falcons, who signed him as a rookie free agent in May.

The Packers are still two short on their practice squad after losing cornerback Jumal Rolle to the Houston Texans and promoting defensive tackle Luther Robinson last week.

The Packers also had the following players in for tryouts on Monday: receiver Jeremy Gallon (Michigan), defensive tackle AJ Pataiali'i (Utah State), tight end Jacob Pedersen (Wisconsin), receiver Eric Thomas (Troy) running back Dominique Williams (Wagner) and linebacker Chris Young (Arizona State). Pederson is from nearby Menominee, Michigan. Gallon was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots this year.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It often takes an injury or an unusually poor preseason showing for a Green Bay Packers draft pick to get cut at the end of his rookie training camp.

Take last year's class as an example. Of the 11 players picked, eight made the opening-day roster.

The three who did not – fourth-round pick JC Tretter plus seventh-rounders Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey – all had injury issues. Tretter missed all of camp because of a broken ankle that forced him to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, while Johnson and Dorsey battled injuries throughout the offseason. Johnson played in only two preseason games, while Dorsey played in only one. Johnson landed on the practice squad before the Cleveland Browns signed him, and Dorsey spent the season on injured reserve.

With that in mind, here's a look at where things stand for each member of general manager Ted Thompson's 2014 draft class heading into Thursday's preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, plus the undrafted rookies who could be on the verge of winning a roster spot:

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S (first round): After a slow start to training camp, Clinton-Dix has found himself around the ball more often of late. He has three interceptions during practices this summer, which ties safety Sean Richardson for the camp lead. However, it looks like he won't unseat second-year pro Micah Hyde for a starting job. That means Clinton-Dix likely will play only in the dime (six defensive back) package to start the season.

Davante Adams, WR (second round): Early in camp, Adams was pushing Jarrett Boykin for the No. 3 receiver spot but inconsistent play derailed that. Meanwhile, Boykin has overcome a slow start to secure that spot. If Adams can refine his route running and shore up his hands, he could still make a push for more playing time as the year goes on.

[+] EnlargeRichard Rodgers
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsRookie Richard Rodgers is in line to be the Packers' starting tight end.
Khyri Thornton, DE (third round): Much like fifth-round defensive end Josh Boyd last season as a rookie, it's been a big adjustment for Thornton. Thompson has never cut a third-round pick coming out of his first training camp, but Thornton might have trouble getting on the field early in the season. Playing mostly against second- and third-stringers in preseason games, Thornton has just one quarterback hurry and no sacks or hits in 81 snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Boyd was inactive for six of the first eight games last season. Thornton could follow a similar path.

Richard Rodgers, TE (third round): Without much fanfare, Rodgers appears to have won the starting job over veteran Andrew Quarless and up-and-comer Brandon Bostick (who went down with a foot injury in the second preseason game). However, Bostick almost certainly would have been the tight end in two-minute situations and likely will be when he returns next month. Rodgers' blocking has to catch up to his pass-catching ability.

Carl Bradford, LB (fourth round): It doesn't matter how the Packers spin the last-minute decision to switch Bradford from outside to inside linebacker this week, that's a tell-tale sign that they're concerned he may never be able to be a productive pass-rusher off the edge. Thompson has not cut a fourth-round rookie since receiver Cory Rodgers in 2006, but Bradford has been just as disappointing. If he makes it, it's solely because they're not ready to give up on him yet.

Corey Linsley, C (fifth round): This was supposed to be a redshirt season for him, but the knee injury to Tretter last week means Linsley might be the most important rookie on the team when the Packers open the regular season in Seattle. His responsibility as the starting center, even if it's only until Tretter returns, is far greater than what any other member of this draft class faces. Physically, he looks the part, but his mental errors have hampered him.

Jared Abbrederis, WR (fifth round): The former Wisconsin standout almost certainly would have made a strong push for the No. 5 or 6 receiver spot if not for a torn ACL in the first week of camp. He also would have had a chance at the kick return job but instead will spend his rookie season on injured reserve.

Demetri Goodson, CB (sixth round): The former college basketball player at Gonzaga who then played three years of football at Baylor has struggled mightily in coverage despite obvious athleticism. He sustained a concussion in last Friday's preseason game against the Raiders, leaving his status his doubt.

Jeff Janis, WR (seventh round): Still raw and unschooled in the complexities of the Packers’ offense, Janis' speed can't be ignored, which is why Thompson likely will keep him on the roster. After his impressive 34-yard, catch-and-run touchdown in the second preseason game, it's likely a team would claim him before the Packers could sneak him through to the practice squad.

Undrafted rookies with a chance: Defensive tackle Mike Pennel of Colorado State-Pueblo is a virtual lock to make the roster after B.J. Raji's season-ending injury, while outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott (who is tied for the NFL preseason lead in sacks with four) might be only one more good showing away from joining him on the 53.
Mike McCarthy wanted to see more big plays from the Green Bay Packers in their second preseason game Saturday at St. Louis.

He came away from the 21-7 victory over the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome feeling like the Packers did that.

Among the things that would fit into the big-play category were:

    [+] EnlargeLacy
    AP Photo/Scott KaneEddie Lacy contributed his share of production Saturday for the Packers, but the team output could've been much greater if not for penalties.
  • A total of 279 yards passing by his top-three quarterbacks -- Aaron Rodgers (11-of-13 for 128 yards), Scott Tolzien (10-of-15 for 107 yards) and Matt Flynn (2-of-3 for 44 yards and a touchdown pass) -- who combined for a 122.9 passer rating.
  • Runs of at least 10 yards by three running backs -- Eddie Lacy (with a long run of 13 yards), DuJuan Harris (10) and LaDarius Perkins (14).
  • Catches of 14 yards or more by seven players -- Andrew Quarless (with long reception of 35 yards), Jeff Janis (34), Michael Hill (27), Randall Cobb (22), Kevin Dorsey (18), Lacy (18) and Davante Adams (14).
  • Seven sacks, including three in a four-play stretch in the fourth quarter by rookie outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott.

"I thought our big-play production as a football team was very high," McCarthy said after the game.

But he also knows his team lost out on several other potential big plays because of penalties. In a game that featured 22 accepted penalties for 171 yards, the Packers committed 12 of them for 95 yards.

Four of those flags nullified potential impact plays. They were:

  • An illegal use of hands on starting left tackle David Bakhtiari in the second quarter on what would have been a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson. Instead, the Packers were forced to replay third down, and Rodgers couldn't connect with Quarless so settled for a field goal.
  • An illegal use of hands on backup center Corey Linsley in the third quarter that wiped out a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien to Myles White. The Packers did not get any points on that drive after McCarthy decided to let the offense try to convert the next two plays. In a meaningful game, McCarthy would have taken the three points.
  • An illegal use of hands on backup defensive Carlos Gray in the fourth quarter that took away an interception by safety Chris Banjo. On his pass rush, Gray knocked off the helmet of a Rams' lineman.
  • A pass interference on starting cornerback Sam Shields in the second quarter on a third-down incompletion that would have forced the Rams to punt. Instead, they continued the drive and turned it into their only touchdown.

The Packers spent three days with an NFL officiating crew during the first week of training camp, so they know what is being emphasized this season. Still, Rodgers called all the flags "way over the top."

"Especially after a big play, you're always looking back to see if there's a penalty out there," Rodgers said. "We don't want to get down that road too far. Hopefully, it's the preseason, and they're working their kinks out as well."

W2W4: Green Bay Packers

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
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The Green Bay Packers (0-1) play their second preseason game Saturday against the St. Louis Rams (0-1) at the Edward Jones Dome. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. ET.

Here are three things to watch:

1. Back in action: After sitting out the preseason opener at Nashville this past Saturday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will make his preseason debut. He's expected to play a few series in this game and a few more in the third preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 22 and then likely won't play in the finale against the Kansas City Chiefs six days later. Running back Eddie Lacy and receiver Jordy Nelson also did not play against the Titans. Lacy was held out as a coach's decision, while Nelson had a hamstring injury. Both appear likely to play against the Rams. When asked whether it was important to get Rodgers playing time with Lacy and Nelson, coach Mike McCarthy said: "You want everybody to play. It's not just two guys."

2. More from Peppers: Julius Peppers admitted he "did not get much done" in his preseason debut with the Packers last week. He played only 10 snaps but did not make any impact plays. He is expected to see more playing against the Rams. The preseason might not seem important to a 34-year-old, 13-year veteran, but given that Peppers is playing a new position (outside linebacker) in a new scheme, surely the Packers would like to see him make a few plays. "It matters, it matters," Peppers said of the preseason. "We all are going to need these reps to get ready for the season, which is going to be upon us pretty soon. It's a chance to get better. We have a couple more opportunities to try to accomplish those goals."

3. Do it for real: McCarthy said it best this week when asked about rookie receiver Jeff Janis, saying he has "made a play every day he's been out there." It's time to see whether the rookie seventh-round pick from Saginaw Valley State can do it in a game. Janis was held out of the preseason opener because he had only a week of practice under his belt after missing the first seven practices because of a case of shingles. However, he has been impressive in practice, catching difficult passes against some of the Packers' top cornerbacks. "The biggest thing for me is just making the play whenever it comes my way," Janis said. "That's what I've been trying to do lately. So that's what's most important to me." Janis is locked in a battle for one of the last receiver spots with the likes of Kevin Dorsey, Alex Gillett, Chris Harper, Gerrard Sheppard and Myles White.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If you were thinking there's no way the Green Bay Packers will use Randall Cobb, Micah Hyde or any other starter as their return man, then you weren't listening to what coach Mike McCarthy said this week.

[+] EnlargeDuJuan Harris
Wade Payne/AP PhotoWhile the Packers will look to use veteran DuJuan Harris as a kickoff returner, there's still questions about which players will fill in behind him.
"I've got to get away from that thinking," McCarthy said. "I think it's dangerous to get into limitations and trying to be too cautious. When you get cautious and worry negative things happen. So we're going to put our best players out there. We need to be better on special teams and a good returner makes any return unit better."

That was evident in practice this week, when the top-three punt returners were Cobb, Hyde and veteran cornerback Tramon Williams. Running back DuJuan Harris, third on the depth chart behind Eddie Lacy and James Starks, appears to be the top kickoff returner.

There's little doubt Cobb is the Packers' most dangerous returner. He has three career kick returns for touchdowns (one kickoff, two punts), but McCarthy took him off those duties last season, when he became one of the focal points of the offense. It's worth noting the fractured leg that cost Cobb 10 games last season came when he was playing receiver and not on special teams.

Hyde finished last season as the primary returner. He excelled at punt returns, averaging 12.3 yards (fifth in the NFL) and had a 93-yard return for a touchdown against the Vikings in Week 8, but was only average on kickoff returns. Last season, he was a part-time player on defense. This year, he likely will be on the field full time.

If the Packers do shy away from using starters such as Cobb and Hyde as returners, then the competition for those jobs -- especially the punt returner -- is wide open.

"We'll have a precise discussion about who we use as our returners," special teams coach Shawn Slocum said. "And we'll move forward once we decide that."

The Packers almost certainly would have given a long look to rookie receiver Jared Abbrederis as their return man, especially on punts, but his season-ending knee injury the first week of camp ended that.

They tried rookie receiver Davante Adams on punt returns in last week's preseason opener at Tennessee, but it was a disaster. The second-round pick muffed both of his attempts and then injured his wrist on the second one.

To be fair, Adams had not taken a single rep with the punt return team in practice leading up to that game (he had caught punts on his own off the side) and then was thrown in during a heavy-rain storm in Nashville.

When asked why he put Adams out there for the first punt, Slocum said: "It's a tough game played by tough men. You've got to step up and respond."

The Packers' team-issued depth chart reads like this on kickoff returns: Hyde, Harris, Cobb, Jeff Janis, Rajion Neal and LaDarius Perkins. On punt returns, it reads: Hyde, Cobb, Myles White, Williams.

If the Packers don't use a veteran such as Cobb, Harris, Hyde or Williams, here's a look at the options:

Kickoff returns
Kevin Dorsey: Despite not even being listed on the depth chart, the second-year receiver has worked as the No. 2 returner behind Harris but did not return kicks in college at Maryland. He had one return for 23 yards against the Titans. He needs to prove he’s worthy of a roster spot at receiver first.
Janis: The rookie seventh-round pick has limited experience, but he has the speed and ability to catch the ball. He's also fighting for a roster spot.
Neal: Slocum likes to use running backs on kickoff returns, and the undrafted rookie from Tennessee took one turn against the Titans (and returned it 22 yards) before a knee injury ended his night. The problem is, he might be a longshot to make the team. He won't play Saturday at St. Louis because of the knee.
Perkins: With Neal out of practice this week, Perkins got increased reps. Like Neal, the undrafted rookie is a longshot to make the team. He has taken some reps during practice on kickoff returns but did not get a chance against the Titans.

Punt returns
Adams: Slocum said he's willing to give Adams another chance despite his struggles catching the ball against the Titans. The second-round pick is a lock to make the roster.
White: Talk about struggles catching the ball, the backup receiver had one practice in which he muffed three punts in one special teams period. Also, he's not a lock to make the team.
Janis: Although he's probably more natural as a kickoff returner, Slocum believes Janis has the ability to do both.
Ryan White: The undrafted rookie cornerback fielded punts with the scout team this week, but he's another longshot to make the roster.

Packers Camp Report: Day 13

August, 12, 2014
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Green Bay Packers training camp:
  • Rookie seventh-round receiver Jeff Janis continues to impress. Even though he had his first drop of camp on Tuesday in the two-minute drill, Janis made another eye-catching grab, laying out to catch a deep post from Aaron Rodgers during a team period. It followed a one-handed catch for a touchdown last week and a twisting catch in practice on Monday. It has been a remarkable return from shingles, which caused the seventh-round pick from Saginaw Valley State to miss the first seven training camp practices. "Jeff Janis has made a play every day he's been out there," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Tuesday's practice. "He made another big play today. He looks good. Hopefully, we can get him fully cleared by the medical staff for Saturday night [against the St. Louis Rams]. I really like what he's done so far."
  • Another receiver fighting for a roster spot came back after a bad day. Second-year pro Kevin Dorsey, who dropped two passes on Monday, made a difficult catch on a crossing route with cornerback Sam Shields in tight coverage.
  • Quarterback Scott Tolzien got to run the two-minute drill but could not lead a touchdown drive. Trailing by 28-24 with 1:31 on the clock and no timeouts starting at the 35-yard line, Tolzien drove the No. 3 offense to the 9-yard line with 6 seconds left. Tolzien got off two plays but couldn't finish either one. On third down, he went to Chris Harper on a corner route but safety Charles Clay broke it up. On fourth down, he rolled to his right and went to Harper again but could not connect.
  • Receiver Jordy Nelson returned to practice on Tuesday after sitting out Saturday's preseason opener at Tennessee because of a hamstring injury. Nelson did not practice Monday but was cleared to work on a limited basis.
  • Rookie safety Tanner Miller, who has been out since the first week of camp because of an ankle injury, returned to practice. The undrafted free agent from Iowa broke up a Rodgers pass intended for Randall Cobb.
  • Defensive end Josh Boyd (ribs) also returned. He missed only one day.
  • The Packers were not in pads, but McCarthy said that was the plan all along.
  • Those who did not practice were: receiver Davante Adams (wrist), running back Rajion Neal (knee), tight end Colt Lyerla (knee), linebacker Joe Thomas (knee), guard/tackle Don Barclay (knee), receiver Jared Abbrederis (knee), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (hamstring) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (back).
  • Lyerla said the second opinion he got on on his knee last week confirmed what he suspected: that he likely will miss the remainder of the preseason. Although he would not get into details about the injury, the rookie free agent said he will not require surgery but the healing time will make it nearly impossible for him to participate in any of the preseason games. The Packers will have to decide whether to place him on injured reserve or come to an injury settlement if he's not healthy by Week 1. "I don’t think I'll really find anything out until the cut day," he said.
  • The next practice is Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. local time. It is the last open practice of the week.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Let's get this out of the way from the top: We know Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson does not draft for need -- or so he says.

But in the months leading up to this week's draft, Thompson and his scouts have spent hundreds of hours not only discussing the prospects who will be available to them but also their current roster and its strengths and weaknesses.

With that in mind, let's break the 12 position groups that make up the roster into four parts based on the following categories of draft needs.

We will define them this way:

Part 1: Negligible -- positions where there is little or no need.

Part 2: Non-essential -- positions where there is a need but it is not paramount to fill.

Part 3: Secondary -- positions where there is a need but not at the critical level.

Part 4: Pressing -- positions where it is imperative that help be found.

On Monday, we looked at the negligible needs, Nos. 10-12. On Tuesday, it was the non-essential needs, Nos. 7-9.

Next up are the secondary (and I don't mean the position group) needs.

4. Receiver: Letting veteran James Jones leave for the Oakland Raiders in free agency was not a huge surprise, but it left the Packers with just two proven receivers (Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson) and one they believe can jump into that category (Jarrett Boykin). There's a group of unproven receivers that could follow what Boykin did last season, when he filled in adequately while Cobb and Jones were injured. That group includes Kevin Dorsey (a seventh-round pick last year), Chris Harper (a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks last year) and Myles White (an undrafted free agent who played sparingly last season as a rookie).

Possible players of interest: Odell Beckham Jr., LSU; Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; Marqise Lee, USC; Bruce Ellington, South Carolina.

5. Interior offensive linemen: With Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, the Packers are set at guard for the foreseeable future. But center is as big a question mark as ever. What is certain is Aaron Rodgers will have his fourth different center in as many seasons after Evan Dietrich-Smith left in free agency to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There's no one on the roster with any NFL experience as a starting center, but the leading candidate is second-year pro JC Tretter -- a former college tackle who did not play a snap as a rookie last season. Even considering the need, the Packers aren't likely to spend a first- or second-day pick on a center. The top centers carry second- or third-round grades.

Possible players of interest: Marcus Martin, USC; Weston Richburg, Colorado St.; Russell Bodine, North Carolina; Travis Swanson, Arkansas; Luke Bowanko, Virginia.

6. Offensive tackle: A year from now, this could be a pressing need depending on what happens with Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod, both of whom are in the final season of their contracts. With the emergence of David Bakhtiari last season as a rookie at left tackle, Bulaga will move back to the right side. But he needs to stay healthy after failing to make it through each of the past two seasons. Sherrod, a first-round pick in 2011, has not contributed since he broke his leg as a rookie, and the Packers declined his 2015 option year. There's no reason to think any of the first-round tackles will fall to No. 21.

Possible players of interest: Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama; Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee; Morgan Moses, Virginia; Jack Mewhort, Ohio State; Billy Turner, North Dakota State.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Less than three hours after his woeful performance in practice, kicker Zach Ramirez was released by the Green Bay Packers.

Ramirez, who missed 10-of-16 kicks during Tuesday’s practice, was the only cut among the Packers’ nine roster moves that got them down to 75 players. Their remaining moves were injury related.

Just two days earlier, the Packers had three kickers on their roster. But after releasing Giorgio Tavecchio on Monday and Ramirez on Tuesday, they had only veteran Mason Crosby.

I’ll have more on whether Crosby nailed down the job or not in my practice report, which will be posted shortly.

To get down to the NFL-mandated 75 players by 4 p.m., the Packers placed four players on season-ending injured reserve: tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), receiver Kevin Dorsey (toe), running back DuJuan Harris (knee) and linebacker Jarvis Reed (ankle). And they moved four players to reserve/physically unable to perform: safety Sean Richardson (neck), tackle Derek Sherrod (leg), tackle JC Tretter (ankle) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee).

Players on PUP can begin practicing after Week 6 of the regular season and then have a five-week window during which they can return to practice. Once they begin practicing, teams have three weeks to decide whether to activate them. ESPN's Mike Sando has the full explanation of the PUP rules.

UPDATE: Per the NFL’s official transaction wire, both Dorsey and Reed were waived/injured. That means the team will eventually work out injury settlements with both players, which would pay them for a portion of the regular season that they would have missed due to their injuries. While it’s possible the Packers could re-sign them, injury settlements often mean the end of a player’s career with that team.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers needed some good news in their secondary, and it came on Monday in the form of cornerback Tramon Williams’ return to practice after missing nearly a month because of a knee injury.

For the first time since July 30, the fourth practice of training camp, Williams was back in action, clearing the way for him to be ready for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener at San Francisco.

It was not a full-pads practice, so Williams couldn’t put his knee through a complete test. But he took part in most of the practice drills and even took a few reps as a punt returner. Williams described his injury as a bone bruise, and he wore a protective wrap on his knee.

“Coaches limited my reps, obviously, but it felt good for the most part, moving around against different guys,” Williams said. “I wondered how that would feel. It held up.”

With only one more practice remaining before Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City, it looks like Williams won’t get any exhibition snaps before the opener.

“I still don’t want to go out and say that I will be there Week 1,” Williams said. “But for me to be out there now, I think it’s definitely a possibility.”

Even with Williams back, the Packers were still missing two key players in the secondary -- safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Casey Hayward. Both sustained hamstring injuries on Friday against Seattle and have been ruled out against the Chiefs.

In other developments on Monday:
  • Tight end Brandon Bostick saw his role increase on special teams. He was on the No. 1 punt return, the No. 1 kickoff return and No. 1 punt coverage units. If a player is on several of the top special teams units, it can be a sign he’s in good shape to make the roster. However, on the final play of practice, Bostick dropped a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers. It came on the same day in which ESPN’s Ed Werder reported the Packers are fielding trade calls about their tight ends, including Bostick.
  • Rookie linebacker Nate Palmer made one of his best plays of training camp, when he broke up a deep pass to tight end Jermichael Finley. Palmer, a sixth-round pick from Illinois State who is on the bubble to make the roster, had good coverage on Finley’s seam route and knocked the ball away.
  • Vince Young threw a pair of interceptions, one by safety M.D. Jennings and one by cornerback Micah Hyde.
  • Receiver Tyrone Walker had perhaps the catch of the day on a back-shoulder fade from Rodgers.
  • Heavy rain forced the Packers indoors for the first time during training camp.
Medical report: Rookie receiver Kevin Dorsey was back on the sidelines because of a toe injury. Dorsey missed 10 practices and two preseason games earlier this summer because of a leg injury.

Linebacker Dezman Moses dropped out of practice halfway through because of a toe injury.

The Packers were still waiting for the results of more tests on running back DuJuan Harris’ knee injury.

Linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) was added to the list of players who would not play against the Chiefs.

A total of 12 players did not suit up for practice. They were CB Jarrett Bush (ankle), CB James Nixon (ankle, knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), LB Jarvis Reed (ankle), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), T Bryan Bulaga (knee), T Derek Sherrod (leg), DE Jerel Worthy (knee) Hayward, Harris, Burnett and Jones.

What’s next: The final practice of training camp is Tuesday at 11 a.m. local time.

What to watch for: Packers-Seahawks

August, 23, 2013
8/23/13
12:45
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Expect to see replay after replay of Golden Tate and M.D. Jennings fighting for the ball on the final play of last year’s Week 3 game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks during the television broadcast of Friday night’s preseason game at Lambeau Field.

But that’s old news, at least to the Packers, who have two preseason games and just three more practices remaining before final roster cuts are due Aug. 31.

Here are five things to watch for from the Packers’ perspective:

1. Playing time for the starters: Coach Mike McCarthy has typically used the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener, playing his starters at least the full first half and resting them in the exhibition finale. This year could be different. McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson still have a long list of young players they want to see in extended game action to get a better evaluation. To do so, they might have to cut back on playing time for some of the starters. “I talked to Ted about some things, so once again we’re trying to get as much information as we can,” McCarthy said. “We want to play very well, we want to win the game, but we’ve got guys who have been injured the whole camp. We have guys who have been injured from the spring all the way through camp that are finally maybe playing.”

2. Young receivers: Among the players McCarthy was referring to are rookie receivers Kevin Dorsey and Charles Johnson. Both missed most of training camp and the offseason program. Dorsey returned last week from a hamstring injury but did not play in Saturday’s game at St. Louis. Johnson returned this week from a knee injury. The seventh-round draft picks were expected to challenge for the Nos. 4 and 5 receiver spots but have fallen way behind. “I think they have a good grasp of our offense, our concepts, what we do,” receivers coach Edgar Bennett said this week. “But unfortunately, a big part of what we do is taking it from the classroom and going out on the practice field and working our fundamentals to improve, and that’s the area that, unfortunately due to injury, they haven’t been able to take full advantage of. Will they get some opportunities in these next two preseason games? We’ll see.”

3. Cornerback carousel: Casey Hayward was arguably the biggest playmaker for the Packers defense last season. As a rookie, he intercepted six passes while playing the slot position in the nickel package. He missed the first month of training camp because of a pulled hamstring he sustained while working out over the summer. During his absence, rookie Micah Hyde has played well in the slot position. Sam Shields and Davon House have manned the outside spots while Tramon Williams remains out with a knee injury. Hayward returned to practice this week and could see some action against the Seahawks. “You have Sam and House outside, Micah is right there, so [Hayward] is fourth right now,” cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said. “So until Casey moves either him or House out of the way, he’s not going to get as many reps. You have to be deserving of your reps, and really what you did last year is last year.”

4. Harris’ return: Despite the emergence of rookie Eddie Lacy, McCarthy insists that DuJuan Harris remains his starting running back. Harris might get one chance to prove that. He will make his preseason debut after finally returning from a knee injury he sustained in the offseason. Harris, who was signed to the practice squad in October and wasn’t promoted to the roster until Dec. 1, finished last season as the starter and averaged 4.6 yards per carry over the final four regular-season games. “He did great things for us, I thought, down the stretch in the last part of the season,” running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said. “Unfortunately, he had the injury there in OTAs that kept him out of the first part of training camp, but all that being said, he did his job when he was asked to do it last year and he’s going to continue to get the first chances to do it now that he’s back.”

5. Crosby … again: It wouldn’t be a Packers preseason game if there wasn’t some drama surrounding the kickers. Just when Mason Crosby looked like his struggles were behind him after he made all three of his kicks against the Rams, he had a horrible practice Wednesday. He missed three straight field goals before finally knocking a fourth through the uprights. Crosby was scheduled to kick only one or two balls, but special-teams coach Shawn Slocum made him keep kicking until he finally made one. Just one day earlier, Slocum had praised Crosby. “I thought Mason kicked the ball well all week, and he did it in the game and did it again yesterday,” Slocum said Tuesday. All eyes will be on Crosby to see if he falters again and re-opens the door for challenger Giorgio Tavecchio to beat him out.

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