Packers roster hopefuls stare down final chance to impress

Packers linebacker Nate Palmer takes part in a drill during training camp.
Packers linebacker Nate Palmer takes part in a drill during training camp.

GREEN BAY – Ted Thompson can be seen every day at practice during training camp scanning the field, taking every performance in. That scouting culminates this week when Thompson has to chop the roster from 75 to 53 players.

“It weighs on you pretty good because it’s important. It’s important to these young guys who’ve done a good job and some of them aren’t going to be here after the weekend,” Thompson said.

Thompson added that the roster isn’t set in stone. There are still spots to be earned Thursday night here at Lambeau Field. Players have changed their roster fate in the final preseason game before Thompson shared, giving players with uncertain future a glimmer of hope.

Rookie linebacker Jake Doughty is one of those players. He knows with the starters seeing limited reps, this is his time to shine. “It’s kind of the big preseason game everyone’s going to examine the most. The starters and veterans got a lot of reps and plays in the early games and this is kind of the one for us to show what we can do.”

Alex Gillett flashed his ability in the third preseason game reeling in an impressive touchdown grab from Scott Tolzien. He went through the process of being cut last training camp before being brought back to the practice squad and knows how this process works. “Every time you go out there it’s another chance for you to get better and show what you can do so hopefully this one goes my way,” Gillett said.

Linebacker Nate Palmer was on the right side of the roster bubble last season. He understands that holds no guarantee of his fate this year. “It’s really no win or lose formula other than when the clock strikes triple zero hope that it’s good enough to make the team.”

Even the best on field efforts sometimes still lead to a pink slip as the front office looks to find the right roster mix for the regular season and the team’s ultimate goal.

“Sometimes you don’t pick the 53 most talented players or the 53 most productive players,” Mike McCarthy said. “You’re looking for a path to the Super Bowl and you’re looking for the group that best gives you that chance.”
We’ll know who those 53 are by 3 PM on Saturday when final cuts are due.

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