Interesting facts about the 2010 Packers' roster


Feb 13, 2010
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Green Bay – When Ron Wolf was serving as the Green Bay Packers’ general manager, the region of the country from where a player hailed was somewhat important to him.

Wolf tried to build the Packers in the 1990s for November and December, when the temperature would dip, snow would fall and the old grass field at Lambeau Field didn’t provide nearly the traction as the partially synthetic turf does now.

Several times, Wolf said he paid more than just casual attention to a player’s hometown before the draft.

From 2005-’09, the most represented region on the Packers’ 53-man roster was the South. Then either the West Coast or the Central Plains ranked second to the South in the last three years.

This year, however, the Midwest has climbed into second place. The South still leads with 17 players followed by the Midwest with 13, the Central Plains with 10, the West Coast with nine and the East with four.

“I think that’s a good thing,” GM Ted Thompson said, referring to having players on the roster with a cold-weather background. “But I don’t know if we’ve ever sat there trying to decide what kind of player we want and talked about that. Except sometimes with a kicker or punter.”

Of the Packers’ 12 new players, five represent the Midwest: T Bryan Bulaga (Woodstock, Ill.); TE Tom Crabtree (Carroll, Ohio); C-G Nick McDonald (Sterling Heights, Mich.); DE Mike Neal (Merrillville, Ind.), and LB Frank Zombo (Sterling Heights, Mich.).

McDonald and Zombo did play at different high schools: McDonald at Henry Ford, Zombo at Stevenson.

“In the 1990s, when we were so good, everybody talked about how good we were playing in cold weather,” Thompson said. “Brett (Favre) was like undefeated in certain weather and he was from Southern Mississippi, and LeRoy Butler, one of our best players, was from Jacksonville, Florida. We’ve never put a whole lot of stock in it.”

Character counts
If geographical orientation means little to Thompson in the evaluation process, character means a ton.

“The character of a player is really important and can’t be overlooked,” he said. “You have to have a certain amount of physical talent and ability. We’re not kidding ourselves. But I think your character and ability to work with others is a huge, huge thing that sometimes is not talked about.

“The NFL is a hard business. You’re going to have hard days. You’ve got to have some character behind you.”

Come and gone
Twenty-five players spent time on the Packers’ 53-man roster or injured-reserve list during the regular season a year ago and are no longer on the 53. They are:

Offense (10): WR Jake Allen, cut Friday by Cleveland; T Allen Barbre, waived off Packers’ injured-reserve list with an injury settlement Monday; C-G Evan Dietrich-Smith, claimed by Seattle off Packers’ waivers; WR Biren Ealy, no football since Green Bay; TE Devin Frischknecht, no football since Green Bay; T Breno Giacomini, on Packers’ practice squad; RB Ahman Green, in camp with Omaha Nighthawks of United Football League; TE Spencer Havner, claimed by Detroit off Packers’ waivers; WR Patrick Williams, cut Saturday by the Packers, and RB DeShawn Wynn, backup for New Orleans.

Defense (14): CB Josh Bell, on Packers’ injured reserve; S Atari Bigby, on Packers’ physically unable to perform list; CB Will Blackmon, waived off Packers’ injured-reserve list with an injury settlement Sunday; CB Trevor Ford, cut Friday by Arizona; S Matt Giordano, cut by Atlanta Aug. 31 with an injury settlement; CB Al Harris, on Packers’ PUP list; DE Johnny Jolly, suspended through the Super Bowl by the NFL; DE Aaron Kampman, starting RE for Jacksonville; DE Michael Montgomery, cut Saturday by Minnesota; LB Cyril Obiozor, claimed by Arizona off Packers’ waivers; S Aaron Rouse, cut Aug. 19 by Arizona after suffering a strained neck in a car accident; LB Jeremy Thompson, retired; NT Anthony Toribio, claimed by Kansas City off Packers’ waivers, and DE Jarius Wynn, cut Saturday by Packers and already has had a tryout in Seattle.

Special teams (1): P Jeremy Kapinos, out of football since Green Bay.

Back in the day
When Ray Rhodes was fired after the 1999 season, the Packers had 62 players under contract. The only player left who played for Rhodes is WR Donald Driver.

Mike Sherman, who has been gone since January 2006, coached 10 players on the current 53-man roster. The list includes Driver, TE Donald Lee, T Chad Clifton, T Mark Tauscher, C Scott Wells, QB Aaron Rodgers, DE Cullen Jenkins, LB Brady Poppinga, LB Nick Barnett and S Nick Collins.

Just six players on the 53 were acquired before Thompson took over in January 2005. The list includes Driver, Clifton, Tauscher, Wells, Jenkins and Barnett. Another player who predates Thompson, CB Al Harris, is on the PUP list.

Catching a draft
Twenty-one players on the 53-man roster, four more than the last two years, entered the NFL as “premium” draft choices in the first three rounds.

First-round picks (9): T Bryan Bulaga, QB Aaron Rodgers, DE Ryan Pickett, DE Justin Harrell, NT B.J. Raji, LB Clay Matthews, LB Nick Barnett, LB A.J. Hawk and CB Charles Woodson.

Second-round picks (8): WR Greg Jennings, WR Jordy Nelson, T Chad Clifton, G Daryn Colledge, RB Brandon Jackson, DE Mike Neal, CB Pat Lee, and S Nick Collins.

Third-round picks (4): WR James Jones, TE Jermichael Finley, S Morgan Burnett and C-G Jason Spitz.

Drafted by other teams were Pickett (St. Louis) and Woodson (Oakland).

Of the 53 players, 36 were drafted by the Packers, 10 were signed as free agents, three were signed as unrestricted free agents, two were acquired in trades and two were claimed on waivers.

In 1996, when the Packers won the Super Bowl, their opening-day 53 included 25 draft picks, 12 free agents, six unrestricted free agents, five trade acquisitions, four waivers claims and one “Plan B” free agent.

The newcomers
The 53-man roster includes 12 players who weren’t on the 53 or injured reserve at any time in 2009.

Draft choices: TE Andrew Quarless, T Bryan Bulaga, T Marshall Newhouse, DE Mike Neal, DE C.J. Wilson and S Morgan Burnett.

College free agents: C-G Nick McDonald, LB Frank Zombo and CB Sam Shields.

“Street” free agents: TE Tom Crabtree, S Charlie Peprah and P Tim Masthay.

The signing bonuses for the college free agents were $4,000 for McDonald, $3,500 for Zombo and $7,500 for Shields.

Crabtree, Peprah and Masthay received no signing bonuses.

The three-man crew of undrafted rookies is the most in Green Bay on the opening 53 since 2002 when RB Tony Fisher, T Kevin Barry and LB Marcus Wilkins made the grade.

Before that, you have to go back to 1994 to find a year when three rookie free agents survived the final cut. The trio included TE Jeff Wilner, LB Mark Williams and CB Lenny McGill.

Green as grass
The Packers average 25.91 years, making them slightly older than in the past four years but still among the NFL’s youngest teams.

By position, here are the average ages on the 53: Wide receiver, 27.4 years; offensive line, 26.2; linebackers, 26.1; running backs, defensive line and secondary, all 25.8; quarterbacks, 25.5; specialists, 24.7, and tight ends, 24.5.

The offense averages 26.04 years and the defense averages 25.92.

How they fared
Thompson has drafted 58 players in six years running the Packers. His picks currently fall into these categories: On the 53 (31), off the roster (22), forced to retire because of injury (two), on physically unable to perform (one), on practice squad (one) and on suspended list (one).