Offensive tackle Derek Sherrod hasn’t played in a game since breaking his leg in 2011
GM Ted Thompson will have a difficult decision to make if Derek Sherrod is truly as close to returning as coach Mike McCarthy believes he is. Should the third-year tackle be activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list during training camp, he’ll either have to be kept on the 53-man roster, placed on injured reserve or released prior to the start of the season. And I’m not sure any of those options are very appealing.
Sherrod hasn’t played in a game since shattering his right leg 20 months ago. He also hasn’t been in pads since that fateful day in Kansas City. So even if he returns to the practice field in the next week or two and manages to hold up physically, there’s no way he’ll be ready to take on Justin Smith, Aldon Smith and the rest of the 49ers D-lineman and linebackers in the opener. So instead of wasting a roster spot on a player who won’t be ready to play come Sept. 8, why not keep Sherrod on PUP until after week 7? That way he has even more time to heal and the Packers can keep a more useful player on the final 53.
The Packers started last season with only seven offensive linemen on the final 53. If they decide to do that again, the two backups will have to be versatile, and more importantly, they’ll have to be ready to step right in and play. As of now, Don Barclay and Greg Van Roten would probably fill those roles. The former can line up at right tackle or any of the interior positions and the latter can fill in at center and guard.
Activating Sherrod this month would almost guarantee having to keep an extra offensive lineman in September. In turn, it would also mean having to get rid of a player at another position – perhaps a youngster with talent (someone like defensive back Brandian Ross, who was cut by the Packers last fall and went on to find success in Oakland). So as much as the team wants to get Sherrod back on the practice field, it might make more sense to be patient right now and hope he’s ready to contribute by Halloween.