Packers vs. Chiefs Primer: Final Audition

Chiefs’ Dorsey gets chance to see Packers again

And what the coach says is final. Now players such as Eric Berry , Dontari Poe , Ryan Succop , Justin Houston and a few others are relatively safe for the moment. But for the most part, Reid has significantly changed the culture in Kansas City. And that means his roster, which will be finalized after Saturdays cuts and acquisitions, will be comprised of team guys who all buy into Reids stern hand. If theres been a constant theme since Reid and Dorsey began trimming the roster excess back in February, theyve put a premium on finding football players with egos that never hit the practice field. And to their credit, not only will they turnover 60% of the roster, but theyve improved the 2013 roster substantially. Enough that in my view I think the Chiefs can win ten games this season. So even though Arrowhead wont be full to the rafters Thursday night, the mind of thirty some potential Chiefs, will be wondering if this is the last game theyll play this season or theyll open the season a week from Sunday in Jacksonville wearing Chiefs red. That means the Packers game could be a final calling card for the Carl Peterson and Scott Pioli players to take a stand and show they belong in Kansas City under Reid and company. Those that do will be awarded a roster spot.

Packers cut K Ramirez following meltdown

The move leaves seventh-year incumbent Mason Crosby as the lone kicker on the teams roster although Packers coach Mike McCarthy has often alluded to the fact recently released kicker Giorgio Tavecchio remains a phone call away. In the process of trimming their roster down to 75 players by the NFL-mandated deadline of 3 p.m. Central Time, the Packers also placed tackle Bryan Bulaga, running back DuJuan Harris, receiver Kevin Dorsey and linebacker Jarvis Reed on injured reserved. The Packers also placed four players offensive linemen Derek Sherrod and J.C. Tretter, defensive lineman Jerel Worthy and safety Sean Richardson on the physically unable to perform list. As for Ramirez, the leg strength that wowed the Packers on Monday wasnt enough to save his job a little more than 24 hours later. You could see Ramirez was struggling was a little bit with the timing of it, I guess you have to definitely be aware of and (accustomed to), said Packers coach Mike McCarthy after practice. He’s only been here three days. He really didn’t have the rhythm and the cadence and the snap down. I think it affected him on the first set of kicks and it carried over to the second set. Two very talented kickers, I think it’s very evident just watching those two go head-to-head this week. The next round of cuts will come following Thursdays game against the Chiefs.

But for guys in a fight for a backup job, or simply trying to make the team, there’s a lot on the line. Tight ends Kevin Brock and Demetrius Harris are fighting for a job for Kansas City, and the wide receiver corps is still up in the air. Shaun Draughn and Cyrus Gray are still battling for a running back spot and depth along the offensive and defensive lines remain in flux. “New offense, new team. We really value every single one of these preseason games,” said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who figures to play at most one series against Green Bay. Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay are still vying for the right tackle job for the Packers, though Newhouse has moved ahead on the depth chart for their rejiggered offensive line. The Packers are also trying to decide on a replacement for Charles Woodson at safety. MD Jennings and Jerron McMillian have mostly played to a draw, and both of them were expected to see action against the Chiefs this week. Now, Jennings and McMillian both could start with one of them at strong safety and the other filling in for Morgan Burnett at free safety.

For Packers, more tackling in camp could be best medicine for rash of injuries

Rookie wide receiver Tyrone Walker practices a drill during the first day of Packers training camp last month.

They have won the NFC North each of the past two seasons. Armed with a five-year, $110 million contract extension, theres no reason to think Rodgers wont continue to be one of the NFLs top quarterbacks. Tight end Jermichael Finley looks poised for a breakout season. He has been Rodgers favorite target this summer. The running game also should be improved thanks to rookie second-round draft pick Eddie Lacy . However, questions remain about the defense, which allowed 579 yards in the Packers blowout loss at San Francisco in last season’s NFC divisional playoff game. Unless the defense shows significant improvement, and at this point there is no sure sign of that, then an early exit from the playoffs seems possible. An 11-5 record should be good enough for another division title — the third in three years. This team has the makings of one that can win a playoff game or two but lacks what it will take to get all the way to Super Bowl XLVIII. A third straight loss in the divisional round would not be surprising. Predicted finish in NFC North: first

Packers season prediction: 11-5

Making the rivalry between these two franchises the most played rivalry in the NFL. Besides, the Bears who have an offense that can give a suspect Packers secondary fits. They must also contend with the Detroit Lions , that, despite a disappointing 4-12 season in 2012, can, and I believe will, finish with 10 or more wins and contend for not only second place, but perhaps the NFC North crown. While the Vikings had a great year last year and went to the playoffs, they are too limited to repeat, what I feel, was a bit of an aberrational season that was carried by Adrian Peterson and his historic rushing season. Therefore, they are out as potential pitfalls to the Packers third straight division title. The Bears, however, have a transitioning, yet still solid, defense, a passing game that, as previously mentioned, has gotten much more explosive, and they can score; they are a team that knows how to play the Packers tough. They are a real threat, as are the aforementioned Lions, a team with the offense that can score on the Packers. Matt Stafford and company were one of the most lethal passing attacks in both 2011 and 2012, and as a defense they have a scary front, that has since been backed with an improved secondary. The Lions represent the greatest challenge to the Packers in the North for that potential reason, balance.

Can The Green Bay Packers Rule The NFC North in 2013?

If serial worrywart Ted Thompson can’t bear to watch, so be it. Packers smacking Packers is the way to harden their football team. Certainly, some players will get hurt. It’s inevitable. Risk lurks around every drill. But the human body must be conditioned to play this violent game. It becomes conditioned best by real football, and that means the man with the ball being put on the ground. The Packers have been living in mortal fear of injury since Thompson and McCarthy took over. It’s time they confront those fears and begin developing a team that doesn’t start coming apart in late July. Look at the participation numbers in exhibition games since 2006.

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