INSIDE SCOOP

Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

September 05, 2018 at 1:08 am.

Packers like quality of opening roster

Seven wide receivers.

No fullbacks.

And a weekend packed with surprises.

When Green Bay Packers first-year general manager Brian Gutekunst set his 53-man roster, it included a bevy of shockers.

First, Gutekunst kept eight wide receivers for what was the first time in team history. Gutekunst kept all three of his draft picks – J’Mon Moore (round 4), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Round 5) and Equanimeous St. Brown (round 6) – along with third-year man Trevor Davis, despite the fact all four players did little to nothing in training camp.

Gutekunst trimmed that number to seven on Monday when Jake Kumerow – one of the Packers’ stars this summer – was placed on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury.

“Quality,” Gutekunst said as to why he kept a bevy of receivers. “Yeah, I thought we had a really competitive receiver room this year. I think everybody had a chance to make plays and for the most part they did. I think it’s a really good room and we’re expecting them to help us. But it was really just a matter of quality.”

Second, the Packers kept just three running backs and no fullbacks on their roster. Gutekunst could still add a player to this group before Green Bay hosts Chicago Sunday, or the four tight ends on the roster could divvy up snaps at fullback. The thee include Darius Jackson, who was signed off the Dallas practice squad Monday, but doesn’t include Aaron Jones, who will miss the first two games under league suspension.

And third, Gutekunst cut notable veterans such as fullback Aaron Ripkowski and linebacker Vince Biegel.

The Packers expect to be dynamic on offense, thanks largely to the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who missed nine games last year with a broken collarbone. Green Bay also hopes the addition of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, several newcomers and a promising draft class can lift its defense from years of struggles.

But as the Packers enter 2018, there’s still plenty of questions on both sides of the ball.

“We feel really good about the 63 players in our locker room and we’ll move forward getting ready for the Bears,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said.

SERIES HISTORY: 195th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 95-93-6 and have won 16 of the last 19 meetings.

 

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