Diondre Borel and the Battle to be the Packers 6th Wide Receiver

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Diondre Borel
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Diondre Borel runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Diondre Borel had an opportunity to separate himself from the competition in the race for the sixth wide receiver spot on the Packers’ roster Thursday night.

Did he do it? Well, not really. But he also didn’t take a major step backwards. Like the whole battle-for-the-sixth-receiver-spot storyline has been thus far, Borel was just kind of meh against the Chargers. Not terrible, but far from great.

Things didn’t start well for Borel. He got drilled by San Diego’s Demorrio Williams on a first quarter kickoff and fumbled. Coughing the ball up is the surest way to find yourself in Mike McCarthy’s doghouse and off the team, so Borel put himself in a deep hole right off the bat.

Borel returned three more kicks/punts on Thursday, including a 34-yard return late in the first half where he flashed some of the speed and burst that make him an intriguing prospect.

Borel finished with three catches for 13 yards and was targeted five times by Graham Harrell. Those numbers are nothing to brag about, but he didn’t have any drops and he definitely didn’t look overmatched.

Like he showed on the 34-yard return, Borel looked quick after he caught the ball — as quick as someone can look when they’re immediately being swarmed by defenders, anyway.

I’d like to see what Borel could do one-on-one against a would-be tackler. If McCarthy really wants to see what Borel is made of, perhaps he’ll call a quick screen in the next exhibition game to see if Borel can get by the first defender and make something happen in the open field.

Maybe Borel would have gotten that chance later in the game, but he exited early with a groin injury, joining a long list of injured Packers on the sidelines.

To make the WR situation even more muddled, Dale Moss looked good and had a nice catch on the sideline.

The race for the sixth WR position is no more clear now than it was before training camp. Nobody has staked an early claim to the slot based on performance, and Borel didn’t exactly seize his opportunity on Thursday.

There’s still time for Borel, Tori Gurley or Moss to catch fire, but if they don’t, the Packers might just decide that five WRs is plenty, especially if Donald Driver continues to look good in camp.

The battle for the extra WR slot was supposed to be one of the biggest storylines in camp. So far, it’s been kind of a dud, and might end up not being much of a storyline at all.

Stay tuned.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

——————

  • Nick Perry

    I’m sorry but I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about with Borel. Maybe it was one of those days for him but I wasn’t impressed at all. There must be something there because of the praise he receives. But then again, I’ve heard all that praise before only to see them cut the next day.

    • derty ernie

      I agree on Borel and several others and give them the benefit of it being game 1, but won’t accept it for game 2.
      Starks now has turf toe. Hangnail next week, and berry berry the following.
      Realistically there are a handfull of players who are playing because that’s all the Pack have.
      There must be a house cleaning of those players whose time has run out and Borel and Starks may be two of them

  • I bleed green more

    After seeing him and Shakey neither one really impresses me that much.

  • derty ernie

    Correct a mundo. Your fourth string and have the chance to impress and all you do is drop passes.That’s your only job????

  • Nick Perry

    Starks is really all we have. There were a few backs that the Packers could have had in 4th round who are doing well. Turbin or Pierce I forgot which one went to the Ravens and is doing well. We could have got Chris Polk in 7th round but he went to Eagles as a UDFA. I know they really love green and they know a lot more than I but he had 10 yards in 3 carries last year. Yes I know, he was getting ready for a bigger role. But I’ve heard that before too. Benson is not what Packers normally sign (off field issues in past) but if nothing else the notice is out, get your s@$& together Starks or your gone. I mean you can only rest on 2010 playoffs so long.

  • Ron LC

    After 1 pre-season game we see that Borel is human. He is not the guy “coach/reporter” speak had created in the off-season. Right now it’s up to him to take advantage of the opportunities that will be given to him in the remaining 3 games. Certainly you’d have to say he didn’t do too much to make a positive impression yet. But, it’s only game #1.

  • Kevin

    I don’t see any reason to keep a 6th receiver. I’d rather just keep an extra linebacker or OL

    • Ron LC

      Only problem with the theory – They don’t any spare linemen worth keeping. Can’t wait til the waiver-wire time!