The season is anxiously nearing. The Packers look deep at most positions. They look prime for an exciting season. To mellow my mood, I sip an Odd 13 Vincent Van Couch. It's an American Session Sour. 4.7% ABV - after all - it's Monday. So, I need to take it easy. Small citra taste. Slight mosaic scent. Lightly soured. Typically a solid afternoon beer with a hint of carbonation at the close. I listen to the Toots & The Maytals "Flip And Twist" album. It was written in 2010, the XLV year. This album is often overlooked, but I love a soulful new age Toots. He's reflective. He's spiritual. He's diverse. It's not my favorite Toots album, but it shouldn't be passed over. Fans of this Reggae legend should certainly give a listen to how he evolved in his later years. It's smiley and head bopping worthy.
Here are my quick vibes over the last week:
* Marwin Evans and Kentrell Brice. They play Legion of Boom style. I'm seriously amazed as I watch them play Safety for the Packers. Both look like they could start in this league. They impress. They play with confidence. When they hit, they command attention. They bring an intensity that our defense has yearned for. Both better be on the 2016 Packers 53-man roster. No way would I keep Banjo over either of them. No chance at all. Evans and Brice have a future in Green Bay. But, if you keep reading, you'll see how I believe the Packers can keep Banjo, Brice and Evans.
* Rodgers to Cook. On the slant. Out of the slot. Hit him on the belt, 12. That was magic. Had me tapping my head with excitement.
* Callahan! I don't care if he ever throws a pass in Green & Gold again. I'll remember him. He played with spark. He played with leadership. He was organized. Great composure. The dart to Abby was spectacular. The pass to Adams - which was dropped - was magnificent. Great playing, Callahan.
* The first-team OL continues to dominate. Off to a great start this preseason. And, EDDIE looks the part.
* Abby locking up a spot. He's playing with confidence and comfort for the first time since arriving in Titletown, U.S.A.
* I can see a scenario in which Adams doesn't make this team. I'd consider keeping Allison over him. Continuously, he hasn't delivered. It's like you hold your breath every time that the ball is thrown his way. It is a 50/50 chance that he catches it. I'd absolutely be talking to teams to see if they were interested in him.
* Liked seeing Allison catch the ball in traffic. And, on the out route. If he doesn't make the 53-man roster, I wonder if he gets claimed before being able to make the Practice Squad.
* Burks > Crockett. Burks has shown burst that we haven't seen since DuJuan Harris in 2012. He has vision. He catches the ball nicely. I have enjoyed his effort as a pass blocker as well.
* Lane Taylor. Damn, man. Need better. Much better. Isn't playing with recognition. Beat to the spot. Whiffing often.
* Kyle Murphy showing well in run blocking. Adequate in pass blocking, too.
* Spriggs. Gulp. Hope he improves. Quickly.
* All kinds of weapons on offense. Richard Rodgers is not one of them.
* Trevor Davis. So close. Yet so far away from making two really big plays. Could've had two TD's. Just missed. Can't coach speed. He has it.
* The Claymaker was as quick as ever. Loved watching him chase down the ball from behind.
* JP looked old. He's destined to solely be used as an interior pass rusher on 3rd down. He was stuck in quicksand on the cut back to his side of the field.
* Mike Daniels continues to show that he's the leader of the defense.
* The Packers should sign Pot Roast Terrance Knighton. They need DL help when Pennel is out. Knighton might not be able to be a force for 16 games, but he'd certainly help over the first 4 games of the year. Especially with Clark being injured and with Lowry appearing as though he'll need time to get accustomed to the NFL speed.
* Kyler Fackrell guaranteed himself a roster spot in the 4th Quarter against SF. Prior to that, he was in a dog fight for a roster spot. Fackrell showed quickness and endurance as a pass rusher. He also displayed creativity with a variety of moves.
* Where is Jayrone Elliott? A complete disappearing act. And, now, an injury. Not sure what to do with him.
* Carl Bradford was, once again, arguably the Packers best ILB. He has to make the team.
* Jermaine Whitehead won't make the 53-man roster, but he should definitely make the Practice Squad. Like the speed and physicality that he plays with.
* Ringo seems to be bringing energy to the DL. Interested to see how the Packers move forward with him.
* Makinton Dorleant got hurt again. Wonder how serious. Suppose it's possible that the Packers make the injury out to be more than it really is, so that they can store him on the IR for the year. Dorleant has shown a lot in limited opportunities. Definitely a developmental talent.
* I've seen zero practices this year, but I've watched the Family Night and 3 preseason games. Thus far, I'm much more impressed with the UDFA class than I am the actual draft class. Reggie Gilbert looks like a really good prospect. Brice & Evans should be locks for the roster. Dorleant and Hawkins are talented CB's. Allison has been solid. Burks has been flashy. Callahan has been to watch. Beniquez Brown should make the Practice Squad.
This is not a prediction. This is what I'd do if I were putting together the Packers 53-man roster:
QB: Rodgers, Hundley.
RB: Lacy, Starks, Ripkowski. With versatility offered by Ty and Cobb, the Packers would be able to only keep 3 RB's. And, keep two RB's on the practice squad in case of emergency.
WR: JORDY, Cobb, Ty, Abby, Janis, Davis, Adams. I'd do everything possible to unload Adams. Even if it were for a 6th round pick. If I were able to deal him, I'd likely keep Allison.
TE: Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo.
OL: Bakhtiari, Sitton, Tretter, Lang, Bulaga, Spriggs, Murphy, Taylor, Barclay. Would try to trade Walker for a 7th round pick.
DL: Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Peppers, Ringo, Guion. Ringo is 53rd man kept due to a numbers game. Peppers is at DL as he's largely used as a 3rd down rusher.
ILB: Ryan, Thomas, Martinez, Bradford. Would try to trade Barrington for a 7th round pick.
OLB: CM3, Perry, Jones, Elliott, Fackrell. McCray and Barrington are the last 2 cut.
CB: Randall, Rollins, Sammy Swagga, Gunter, Hawkins.
S: HaHa, Burnett, Brice, Evans, Hyde, Banjo.
Practice Squad: Callahan, Robertson Daniel, Brandon Burks, John Crockett, Jermaine Whitehead, Brian Price, Beniquez Brown, Reggie Gilbert, Lucas Patrick, Allison (Binford and Gatewood miss out).
SUSPENDED: Pennel, Goodson.
Every year - prior to the Labor Day kickoff to the college season, I put together a way too early Mock Draft. So, here goes:
Round 1.) Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida. The Packers are in great need of a fierce, play making presence at ILB. Davis is that guy. He's fast, he's beastly. He's flat out nasty. Heading into the 2016 College Football Season, I'm targeting 1 of 3 guys as a 1st round pick for the Packers: Davis; Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama; and Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State.
Round 2.) Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan. The Packers need more athleticism and dominance along the DL. Wormley is a leader of the Michigan defense. He can play the run and get to the QB.
Round 3.) Davon Godchaux, DL, LSU. He's largely a run stuffer, but he's also displayed a knack for applying pressure and getting to the QB. He is inconsistent from an effort perspective, but when he's on, he's dominant.
Round 4.) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado. Locks up well. Turns and runs. Plays the ball well. Long. Plays bigger than 5-11. Plays ball well. Likes to be challenged. Has made big plays late in games previously. Others: Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma. Big time playmaker at CB. Finds the football in the air. Top notch athlete. Only a Junior, but he seems like the type of player that comes out early. Plays with confidence. And swagger. If Thomas were a Senior, I'd have him as this selection. Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU. Largely a run-stopping ILB. A leader. Great playing straight ahead. Attacks the line of scrimmage with purpose and intent.
Round 5.) DJ Jones, DL, Ole Miss. Pursuing interior defender. Quick. Moves well for his size. He moves around OL and wiggles his wide frame into the backfield. Uses hands well. Needs better endurance, but solid prospect.
Round 5b) (For Casey Hayward). Jordan Willis, OLB, Kansas State. High effort pass rushing edge player. Not elite burst off the ball, but wins with tenacity and desire. Has great fight.
Round 6.) Ben Boulware, ILB, Clemson. Leader. Knowledgeable, straight-ahead player. Solid in run game. Good on the interior blitz as well. High effort, intelligent player. More of a 1st & 2nd down player than a nickel ILB. Football player.
Round 7.) Rushel Shell III, RB, Dub-V. Gifted RB who is talented as a receiver out of the backfield. Good in space. Elusive. Darts to the second level. Change of pace type back who runs hard as well.
This week - in the final preseason game - the Packers travel to KC to wrap up the 2016 preseason. I expect to see Joe Callahan playing most - if not all - of the game. Callahan, once again, plays with great command of the offense. He uses his weapons well. He's efficient. He manufactures points.
Abby again has a solid game.
Ringo notches a sack. So does Fackrell.
Brice and Evans dominate.
Hawkins picks off another pass.
Burks runs hard. Averages more than 5 yards per carry.
Murphy takes another step forward at RT.
Go Pack Go!