Football season is upon us once again, and our enthusiasm for this year is brimming well over the top. Before the regular season starts though, NFL teams must trim their rosters down to only a mere 53 players per team. Some say this time of the year is the most difficult time for NFL teams. A lot of guesswork goes into which team members stay and which ones go. This is a tough call and quite hard because no matter how good the decision makers are, they just can’t fully predict which players will be great and which players will be average.
This time period of the season brings on stories of victory and achievement when rookies get picked for the team. But it also means sadness for the veterans players that get the boot. For example, all of us in the football community were at the very least totally surprised when the Green Bay Packers let go one of their best players who is also one who has been with them for the long haul too, Mr. Josh Sitton. This was a rogue move to beat the band. Josh was a key player for the Packers, and his record goes to show it.
This maneuver by the Green Bay Packer’s top dogs was a smack to the face for a lot of stalwart Packers fans. This decision came out of left field and gave a lot of people a bad feeling about this year’s season for the ever-impressive Packs. Why would the team’s top dogs release such a key player in their offensive line up? Sadly, just like it is with so many other decisions made in the NFL, it came down to money. When you look at the numbers on it, Josh Sitton was supposed to make roughly no less than a full $6.5 million from just his base salary. Apparently the decision makers on the Packer’s executive board decided that the more money that is saved from his cut can now can go to other players in the future when it is needed.
Thankfully too, it wasn’t all about money. The decision to release Josh Sitton from his position on the team also gave the opportunity for other young offensive lineman to step up to the line. Lane Taylor for example has been impressive during the preseason games and practice session and a lot of fans and executives have had their eye on him. Furthermore, Jason Spriggs was selected in the second round of this year’s NFL draft, and a lot of hope has been placed onto him too. When you look at it from this perspective, it’s a little less scary. The strength of the Packers that has brought them so much success and countless great games over the years has been to keep a good mix of young players and veteran players out on the field. With the new prospects in mind, a good mix of both young blood and veteran players on the Packers offensive line can help this team down the road.
Looking to the Future for the Mighty Packers
Packer fans are hopeful that this will be a great year for them, and it certainly looks that way. Sitton’s back injury was weighing him down and he admitted that it had been troubling him recently. He’ll be a tough one to replace and he certainly has big shoes to fill, but the Packers team is hopeful that Taylor or Spriggs will be able to stand up to Sitton’s reputation.
The general manager of the Packers has had his eye on cutting Sitton for some time now. It really came down to that back injury, and it certainly looked like this was going to be the year when Sitton was having a hard time in preseason games. The general consensus amongst the Packer’s fan base is that for a player the caliber of someone like Sitton, his release could not have just been out of the blue. It had to be that back of his. General manager Ted Thompson made the call this season and he stands by it.
Though eyes have been on Taylor and Spriggs, not everyone has made the cut. For example, among those strong players who didn’t quite make the 2016 Packers roster were:
• linebackers Sam Barrington and Carl Bradford
• quarterback Marquise Williams
• running back Brandon Burks.
Probably the biggest news when it comes to this year’s lineup for the Packers is that, as of right now, their quarterback Aaron Rodgers is not currently playing for them, as he is recovering from recent injuries of his own. It is hoped that he will make a full recovery and be back into the game before too long, but until then the team has young blood Joe Callahan playing as quarterback.
Those of us who love the Green Bay Packers are hoping that these decisions have been good ones. We’re a little bit worried, (aren’t we always at this time of the season?), but overall the hope is that Mr. Thompson made the right calls with letting Sitton go and putting in the chosen players. The next few games will surely tell us one way or the other!