While Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur have conferred and decided that the starters will play, in LaFleur’s words, “a quarter or so,” that still leaves ample opportunity for the guys fighting for roster spots to show what they can do against the Ravens.
Gutekunst faces some challenging decisions at a variety of positions in the coming weeks, including at wide receiver, where barring injury, Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are clearly going to be on the roster and former UW-Whitewater star Jake Kumerow (above) is likely to be, too. After that, it’s anyone’s guess, with receiver/returner Trevor Davis sidelined with a stinger injury, J’Mon Moore having continued his inconsistent play, Equanimeous St. Brown having a quiet camp, Allen Lazard making a legit challenge for a roster spot and Darrius Shepherd drawing deserved attention.
Beyond receiver, there’s a host of young cornerbacks in the mix for roster spots, uncertainty behind the starters on the offensive line, and a jumble of youngsters battling at inside linebacker in the wake of starter Oren Burks’ chest injury in the preseason opener last week against Houston. They’ll have two more chances after this: The team’s Aug. 22 field trip to Canada to face the Oakland Raiders in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the preseason finale against Kansas City on Aug. 29 will be their final opportunity before the Aug. 31 final roster reduction from 90 to 53.
“I think it’s wide-open, quite frankly. I know from my end of it, there really haven’t been any decisions made at all,” Gutekunst said this week. “I think we’re excited about the competition at a lot of spots, but I’ve been around long enough to know even in that fourth preseason game guys earn spots.
“I don’t think that’s good business on our part, to close the doors this early. There’s a lot of football to be played. Part of that also is being able to show up each and every day, be consistent, stay healthy and be out on that field. I think there’s a lot to prove for our guys before we get to that point where we’re ready to make those calls.”