Packers News: Van Roten promoted to active roster

Packers OL Greg Van Roten and DE Jerel Worthy
Packers OL Greg Van Roten and DE Jerel Worthy
Packers OL Greg Van Roten and DE Jerel Worthy

After Cedric Benson was placed on the Injured Reserve list with a Lisfranc injury, the Packers had an open spot on their 53-man roster.

But instead of turning to the free agent market to add another runner, the Packers have promoted offensive lineman Greg Van Roten to the active roster. Van Roten, an undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Pennsylvania, gives the Packers eight offensive linemen on the active roster.

Van Roten will join fellow undrafted rookie Don Barclay and veteran Evan Dietrich-Smith as the team’s three reserve linemen. He was one of the Packers’ final cuts, before clearing waivers and ultimately being re-signed to the practice squad on Sept. 2.

Benson is eligible to come off the I.R. later this season but is expected to be out at least two months. Head coach Mike McCarthy said that Alex Green will get the first carry against the Houston Texans, but Green, James Starks and Brandon Saine would likely each see playing time.

Van Roten plays primarily guard, but Penn originally recruited him as a center. After switching to offensive tackle his freshman year, Van Roten finds himself as a reserve interior offensive linemen for the Packers.

The Packers prefer not to play “musical chairs” on the offensive line, but they certainly value position flexibility from their backups. Dietrich-Smith has value as a reserve center and offensive guard, while Barclay can play both the tackle and guard positions.

At just over 300 pounds, Van Roten could be developed as the Packers’ center of the future once Jeff Saturday calls it a career.

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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  • zac5

    Looks like Sherrod’s recovery is not going according to plan.

    • zac5

      I hope I’m wrong.

  • http://www.southerncargopackers.in/ Packers and Movers in Mumbai

    Good news.

  • Dan

    Sherrod and House’s injuries are taking way to long…..so is Jennings

  • Ron LC

    Van Roten is the best they can do at this time. Let’s remember Sherrod never played LT at an acceptable level. He did ok at RT. He won’t be back for quite a while, if at all.

    The big problem with the Oline is they have all regressed. But more important their run blocking style is seriously flawed. None of them can get off the line and move the Dline back. Maybe Sitton is the exception. It’s a matter of ballet vs. attack mentality.

    Tonight’s game is a must. If they lose tonight they will have to go 9-1 the rest of the way to have a chance at the playoffs. 10-6 is probably not going to be good enough.

    To do that the Oline MUST play football instead of hoping the rusher will trip over their prone body.

  • Oppy

    Sitton and Lang have both proven to be more than capable run blockers… Lang is extremely physical in the run game. Bulaga has proven when healthy (which he clearly isn’t at the moment) to be an adequate run blocker as well.

    Newhouse isn’t physical enough yet, but he’s still an improvement in the run game over the last five years of Clifton’s career- Cliffy couldn’t bend enough to cut the backside effectively anymore and wasn’t fast enough to get to the second level.

    Saturday is the weakest link in the run game at this point with both age and size against him. Wells wasn’t a good run blocker, either, as he was also undersized, but he was definitely a bit better than Saturday.

    All told, I would love to see Van Roten declared an eligible receiver a few times vs. the Texans, brought in as an extra blocker at the TE position, like Sherman’s old U-71 package that featured back up OT Kevin Barry lined up as an in-line TE next to Tauscher.

    Will probably not happen, but when the Packers acquired Van Roten the thing that jumped out to me on tape was Van Roten’s mobility and strength in the run game- he moved laterally quite well and was extremely heady in his ability to identify the proper defender to pick up and block in space to spring the RB.

    With GB’s lack of receiving TE’s heading into tonight’s game, as well as Jennings missing again, AND the offensive passing game struggling a bit.. AND the loss of Benson..AND the need to slow down the Texans pass rush..It would be a great time to get creative and help Green/Starks/Saine be successful any way they can.

    • Chad Toporski

      I would like to see Saine involved with some screens and passes in the flats to help keep the pass rush at bay.

  • aaronqb

    I liked Van Roten in training camp. I liked his toughness and he clearly has some athletic talent. He missed a few assignments, but that is correctable. Great story so far. Hope he develops into a good interior lineman.

  • http://mozilla Ivy savant

    Saw this kid play against my team for 3 years. Played out of position at Penn.Glad he is gone now. Should have been a guard or center. Has no problem with big interior lineman and had the speed to go out and get lb’s and corners.On run plays exhibited incredible push. Very good leg strength. If moved to center he will be a huge asset if he is to assist on a double team with a guard. my guess , would make a great center.