It all comes down to this. Sure, the Packers’ final roster decisions on Saturday, when they pare the roster from 87 – the team cut three players earlier this week – down to the NFL-mandated 53-man limit, will be based on each player’s body of work throughout the summer, not just what happens in the preseason finale against the Rams. But for those who are on the bubble, an attention-grabbing performance in the last preseason game can be the difference between making the team and looking for work.
“Absolutely. And I think that’s the thing they can hang their hat on, that they’re going to get an opportunity – obviously, with the starters not playing very much,” said safeties coach Darren Perry, who played nearly a decade in the NFL before going into coaching. “The opportunity is going to be there. I’ve seen a lot of battles won. People can talk about the roster being pretty much set here and there, but I’ve seen this game make or break a lot of people over the years and so forth. So it has a lot of meaning. To some, probably not as much, but there’s some guys right on that cusp that if they go out and they perform, they earn themselves a roster spot.”
With the extra players on the roster – in previous years, a cut to 75 players came before the preseason finale – the Packers can afford to sit more of their starters than they could in the past. That means more snaps for those fighting for a spot.
“It’ll be exciting to watch those guys, one last chance to again make a push for a roster spot, solidify a roster spot or show somebody on another squad that’s looking for a certain position that you have the ability to make the team,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will not play. “What I tell these young guys a lot is, just remember, being cut doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Because there’s always other opportunities that could come up if you keep working and stay focused.”