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GREEN BAY Trenton Cannon Color Rush Jersey , Wis. (AP) — When general manager Brian Gutekunst spoke on Sunday afternoon about his first cutdown as general manager, he described the Green Bay Packers‘ roster as “fluid.”
He wasn’t kidding.
Gutekunst continued tweaking the 53-man roster on Monday, adding running back Darius Jackson off the Dallas Cowboys‘ practice squad and signing linebacker Korey Toomer. Those are an effort to fill two obvious needs in advance of the team’s regular-season opener Sunday night against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.
“It took a little longer than normal,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said following the team’s first post-training camp practice. “We had a lot of movement there on Saturday into Sunday, (and) we were juggling things. . Obviously, I think our transactions reflect that. So, it’s been a long weekend. (But) we feel really good about the 63 players (including the practice squad) in our locker room and we’ll move forward getting ready for the Bears.”
To make room for Toomer, the Packers placed wide receiver Jake Kumerow on injured reserve. By having Kumerow, a Wisconsin-Whitewater alum who was the star of training camp earlier this summer, on the 53-man roster for a day, he is now eligible to return from IR later this season. NFL rules allow each team to bring a maximum of two players back from IR later in the season.
Kumerow injured his shoulder while crossing the goal line on an 82-yard touchdown Aug. 16 against Pittsburgh.
To accommodate Jackson, the Packers waived cornerback Herb Waters one day after he’d made the initial roster.
Before adding Jackson, a 2016 sixth-round pick from Eastern Michigan who has spent time with the Cowboys and Browns but has never played in an NFL regular-season game, the Packers had only two running backs: second-year back Jamaal Williams Milan Lucic Jersey Kids , who is set to be the starter, and converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery. Aaron Jones, the team’s most explosive running threat last season, will miss the first two weeks because of an NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Packers had four other running backs at the end of camp, but the team released Joel Bouagnon, LeShun Daniels and Bronson Hill, and waived/injured Devante Mays. Both fullbacks, Aaron Ripkowski and Joe Kerridge, were also released on the final cutdown. Bouagnon and Kerridge were re-signed to the practice squad Sunday.
McCarthy has said for years he doesn’t like going into games with just two active running backs, but that could be the case against the Bears because Jackson didn’t arrive at the facility in time to participate in Monday’s practice.
“I think those guys are ready to go,” McCarthy said of Williams and Montgomery. “They’re healthy, they give us an excellent 1-2 punch. So, I’m not concerned about that at all.”
Said Williams: “I’m just grateful for any opportunity, and these are the opportunities you want – to get more carries and more responsibility in the offense. Really Authentic Mats Zuccarello Jersey , you take it for what it is and not take it for granted. I’m doing everything I can to make sure the coaches know I’m going to keep producing at a consistent rate.”
It’s unclear what the Packers will have at inside linebacker alongside veteran Blake Martinez, who tied for the NFL lead in tackles last season. Third-round pick Oren Burks, who sustained a shoulder injury during pregame warmups at Oakland on Aug. 24, was with the rehabilitation group at practice and may not be ready for the Bears.
Gutekunst acquired Antonio Morrison in a trade with Indianapolis last week, and he or Toomer could start if Burks isn’t cleared. Toomer, in his fifth season, has played 46 games (16 starts) and was in camp with the 49ers before being cut Saturday.
“This is always the big challenge when you get to that spot of finishing your 53,” McCarthy admitted. “We’ve had a lot of change. And that’s always the challenge.
“But we’re set and ready to go with all our guys and we’re looking forward to the week of preparation.”
BUFFALO BILLS (9-8)
New faces: DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, QB AJ McCarron, WR Jeremy Kerley, RB Chris Ivory, CB Vontae Davis, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll Youth T. J. Watt Jersey , rookies QB Josh Allen, MLB Tremaine Edmunds, DT Harrison Phillips.
Key losses: QB Tyrod Taylor, C Eric Wood, LG Richie Incognito, LT Cordy Glenn, CB E.J. Gaines, LB Preston Brown, WR Jordan Matthews.
Strengths: Secondary returns mostly intact. Safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer and cornerback Tre'Davious White combined for 14 of Buffalo's 18 interceptions last year. Rafael Bush has solidified backup safety job, with only question mark whether Davis, Phillip Gaines or rookie Taron Johnson fills starting job opposite White. Defensive front upgraded with additions of Lotulelei and Murphy. RB LeSean McCoy is among elite in NFL.
Weaknesses: Question marks cloud most every other position, especially quarterback with still unsettled three-way competition between Allen, McCarron and returning backup Nathan Peterman. Offensive line having difficulty finding chemistry, hampering both pass protection and run blocking. There's even competition at punter with veteran Jon Ryan signed last week to challenge Colton Schmidt.
Fantasy Players To Watch: PK Stephen Hauschka might be best initial bet after hitting 29 of 33 field-goal attempts Ryan Callahan Jersey , including 7 for 9 from 50 yards or longer last season. McCoy, at 30, hasn't showed signs of slowing down, and should be more involved as receiver under Daboll. Only question is McCoy finding seams to run through behind patchwork line. WR Kelvin Benjamin and TE Charles Clay expected to be primary targets no matter who starts at QB.
Vegas Says: Super Bowl 120-1. Over/under wins 5 1/2.
Expectations: With more offseason changes, including quarterback, difficult to see how Bills can build on feel-good story of sneaking into playoffs on one of final plays of regular season to end 17-year drought, which had been longest active streak in North America's four major professional sports. Though young core is beginning to emerge, Buffalo appears likely to take step back in what resembles transitional year. Allen needs more time to develop, and lacks protection and proven receivers. On bright side, Bills projected to have plenty of room under salary cap in 2019 to fill needs.
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