Packers Notes: Tweaking The 53-Man Roster
The Green Bay Packers added two linebackers to their active roster on Tuesday. The team claimed outside linebacker Diyral Briggs on waivers from the Denver Broncos, and also signed inside linebacker Matt Wilhelm who has been out of the NFL since last season.
I’d provide you with a thorough breakdown of each player’s past, but Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee already has it covered:
The 6-foot-2, 248-pound Briggs is an outside linebacker who has played in six regular-season games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent from Bowling Green in 2009. He played five games with the 49ers that year before joining the Broncos. Briggs spent part of last season on San Francisco’s practice squad before being promoted to the 53-man roster on Oct. 28 and playing in four games, with four special teams tackles. He was cut by the 49ers Sept. 21 and claimed by Denver.
The 6-foot-4, 247-pound Wilhelm, meanwhile, is an inside linebacker and will provide experienced depth behind A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop and special-teams help. Wilhelm was signed after a tryout Tuesday. He has played in 82 games, including 22 starts, all since entering the league as a fourth-round pick from Ohio State in 2003.
To make room for the two newest Packers, the team placed defensive end Mike Neal (shoulder) and linebacker Brady Poppinga (knee) on injured reserve.
The team also released linebacker Maurice Simpkins, but did not immediately fill the empty roster spot. Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette reports that the vacancy will be filled by another linebacker, but the team is yet to announce any additional signing.
The fact that Green Bay did not add any defensive lineman to their roster may be good news for the return of injured linemen Cullen Jenkins (calf) and Ryan Pickett (ankle). Both players are unlikely to fully participate in practice this week, and their status for Sunday’s game against the Jets remains uncertain. However, given the multitude of Packers players on injured reserve (9), how the Packers view good news lately depends on whether or not a player will be able to return this season. In Jenkins’ and Pickett’s cases, their return should be sooner rather than later.
Finally, the Packers still have some decisions to make with its players coming off the PUP list. We should find out more after Wednesday’s practice, but cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby may both be close to returning to the field. It’s beginning to sound like running back James Starks will not contribute much, if anything, this season. Of the three, Harris has the best chance of playing on Sunday. The team has two more weeks to either activate the players, put them on injured reserve, or release them.