There were bound to be a few surprises as the Green Bay Packers trimmed their roster down to a tight 53 players ahead of Saturday’s 3 p.m. CT deadline, but seeing DeShone Kizer sent to the waiver wire was something of a surprise.
While Packers backup Tim Doyle outperformed Kizer in the preseason, Kizer seemed like he might still hang onto his No. 2 backup job or, at the very least, slide to No. 3. But a healthy Aaron Rodgers at its helm, Green Bay opted to do without Kizer, according to multiple sources.
Entering his third year, Kizer had a disastrous rookie season two years ago with the Cleveland Browns — who went 0-16 in 2017— and played in just three games for the Packers last season, completing 20 of 42 passes for 187 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
He was solid in the preseason-opening win over the Houston Texans, going 8 for 13 with 102 yards and a touchdown pass, but wouldn’t toss another TD until adding another in preseason finale while throwing just as many interceptions. He finished with 25-for-45 passing (56 percent) with just 273 yards.
Doyle, on the other hand, was the undeniable star under center in the middle two games and capped his preseason with a quiet-but-active night of just three completions for 18 yards and a touchdown. He completed 60 percent of his 57 passes for 356 yards, five touchdowns and not one interception.
Unless the Packers pull a surprise move before the regular season begins, Doyle figures to be the backup behind Rodgers. Whether the Packers plan on holding onto rookie Manny Wilkins also remains to be seen.
Follow along for more updates below as the Packers near the cutdown deadline.
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Less is Moore for Packers
Names like wide receiver Teo Redding and fullback Malcolm Johnson were among Friday’s highlights, as each possessed promise early in training camp. The same could be said about one of Saturday’s bigger cuts, wide receiver J’Mon Moore.
A fourth-round pick out of Mizzou in 2018, Moore was poised to fill a receiving need for the Packers entering his rookie season. His chances to make an impact were particularly strong in light of the team’s decision to release veteran Jordy Nelson.
But the former All-SEC receiver was near-nonexistent during 12 games last season, catching two of his three targets but failing to garner much trust in the system after routine drops in practices. The same pattern of dropped passes followed him into 2019’s training camp, casting doubt on his long-term future in Green Bay.
Active First Day of Cuts
Names trickled out all day long, starting with Redding and fellow wide receiver Malik Taylor, linebacker Brady Sheldon, and offensive linemen Anthony Coyle and Gerhard de Beer, whose objectively cool name wasn’t enough to threaten for a roster spot.
Other victims of the first day’s cutdown included several cornerbacks — Jocquez Kalili, Jackson Porter and Nydair Rouse — as well as fullback Tommy Bohannon, tight end Pharoah Mckever, safety Tray Matthews, linebacker James Folston, defensive lineman Deon Simon and offensive lineman Dejoin Allen.
Allen’s story is a rather interesting one after he signed with the Packers on Thursday, played eight snaps at tackle and was released Friday.
The former Bears lineman, though, at least has a good sense of humor about his remarkably short stay in Green Bay.
Apart from Moore, kicker Sam Ficken was another buzz-worthy name from training camp who found himself on the out Saturday afternoon.
With McCray for the Packers, he played every position on the offensive line with regular-season reps at both guard and tackle slots while working this preseason at center, which is versatility that should land him another roster spot around the league.
As for Looney, The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman reported via sources the Packers are planning to add him to their practice squad if he clears waivers.
Fans were quick to voice their support for the veteran linemen after the Packers released them Saturday, with some flashing back to their time with Looney and McCray on bikes.
Run No Further
Adding to the list, the Packers also cut running back Tra Carson, who missed a chunk of training camp and exhibition action with an injury but was seen as a challenger to rookie Dexter Williams for a coveted running back spot behind starter Aaron Jones and backup Jamaal Williams.
Carson has not recorded a regular-season carry since entering the league in 2016, with the former Texas A&M rusher taking 29 carries for a meek 81 yards and a touchdown in the preseason. He was called up last season from the Packers practice squad being scooped off the waivers last September from the Cincinnati Bengals, but he only saw action at special teams in six games.
While bad for Carson, the Packers cutting him bodes well for Dexter Williams, who struggled through most of the preseason before leaving a lasting impression on a go-ahead touchdown score against the Kansas City Chiefs last Thursday.
Someone Had to Go
A contested group of wide receivers pushed out Moore, but he wasn’t the only one destined to miss the cut for the 53-manner. The next to go? Preseason phenom Allen Lazard, as announced by agent Michael Perrett on Twitter.
Aaron Rodgers had some big words about the promise of the second-year pro, who caught just one pass for seven yards as a rookie for the Packers. He made the most of his three exhibition opportunities with six total catches for 114 yards and a touchdown — leading the Packers in receiving against Houston and Baltimore.
But things looked grimmer for the talented receiver when he didn’t appear in Thursday’s preseason finale, ending with his departure from Green Bay on Saturday.
As rosters are finalized, be sure to check in with the live report on all 32 teams to see how things shook out elsewhere around the league.