The Green Bay Packers have made some eyebrow-raising changes to the roster after their week off.
In preparation for Sunday’s upcoming game against the San Diego Chargers, Green Bay has shifted things around a bit – most notably at the running back position.
Brandon Saine, a rookie out of Ohio State, was picked up as a non-drafted free agent by the Packers way back in July. He will now come in for Alex Green, who was recently placed on injured reserve (IR). Up to this point, Saine was kept on the team’s practice squad until a time during which a role could be carved out for him among the playing positions.
The 5-foot-11, 220-pound youngster had 51 yards on 19 carries during the preseason. He’s also a receiving threat, racking up 36 yards on six receptions during that same timespan. During his junior year at Ohio State he rushed for 739 yards and four touchdowns on 145 carries.
Green, of course, injured his knee against the Minnesota Vikings during Green Bay’s Week 7 victory. Through four games in 2011, he accumulated 11 yards on three carries and six yards on one reception.
Paul Fenaroli and Anthony Levine were also signed to the practice squad, and Cecil Newton was ultimately released in the same series of roster moves.
Fenaroli originally signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a non-drafted free agent back in July. Despite surviving most of the roster cuts, he was eventually cut on the last series of cuts back in early September. Fortunately, the Packers saw something special in the 6-foot-2, 300-pounder and opted to pick him up.
Levine, meanwhile, originally signed with the Packers as a non-drafted free agent back in May of 2010. The talented safety spent all 16 regular season games on the roster last year before eventually being released back on September 3. Given Green Bay’s concerns on defense, however, clearly the powers that be decided it would be prudent to bring him back for insurance.
The mild roster changes will serve as an interesting b-plot as the Packers head into arguably their most difficult game of the year thus far against the Chargers. Despite the fact that quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his offense have been more or less firing on all cylinders through seven games, there have been some notable concerns regarding the defensive output the defending champs’ other unit has been putting out.
If you believe defensive coordinator Dom Capers, though – the defense is fine and all concerns are misplaced.
How accurate it that sentiment? We’ll find over the course of the rest of the year.
Don’t forget to check out the highlights from the season that was as he we head into crunch time of this year.