GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy no doubt wants everyone on his roster to believe he's fighting for a job in training camp, but that's far from the truth.
In fact, there might be fewer open roster spots on the Green Bay Packers this year as compared to recent years, for a few reasons:
General manager Ted Thompson, who has the final say over the roster, signed five veteran free agents: Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks and Jahri Evans on offense, plus Davon House and Ricky Jean Francois on defense. Barring injury, they're locks to make the 53-man roster.
He also drafted 10 players, and everyone knows Thompson likes to keep his draft picks.
It's a deep team that returns all but two starters (T.J. Lang and Jared Cook) on offense -- a third if you count Eddie Lacy, who played in just five games last season -- and lost only two key players (Julius Peppers and Micah Hyde) on defense from a squad that reached the NFC Championship Game and has made the playoffs eight straight years.
By subjective count, there are 40 players who already have roster spots locked up even before they hit the field for Thursday's first training camp practice. That leaves 50 players for the final 13 roster spots, and it will be a battle to the end since the NFL eliminated the cut to 75 players and will allow all 90 to remain until Sept. 2, when rosters must be trimmed to 53.
"Any time you have the opportunity to coach the players longer, it's a benefit to your program," McCarthy said on the eve of camp. "I think any coach in this league would like to have a 90-man roster the whole season. The opportunity to keep coaching guys because the toll of the season is tough on your team -- I think it's a great benefit. How you rep them, I don't really see it changing a whole lot as far as how you go into the preseason games. I think it will be very helpful in the fourth preseason game. I think that's obvious."
With that in mind, here's a look at those who should already have a roster spot locked up:
They could keep as many as seven receivers. Several from the group of Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis, DeAngelo Yancey, Malachi Dupre, Max McCaffrey and Geronimo Allison (suspended for Week 1) will be on the team, but none is a lock.
Tight ends (3): Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks, Richard Rodgers
This group looks pretty well set at three.
Like tight end, this position might not have any spots up for grabs.
The only reason Biegel wouldn't be a lock is if he's not recovered yet from his May foot surgery. They'll likely keep at least one more linebacker, and it could come down to Jordan Tripp, Reggie Gilbert or Johnathan Calvin.
Marwin Evans was on the roster all of last season and could be the fifth guy here.
Specialists (1): Mason Crosby
It's possible the regular-season punter and long-snapper aren't even on the roster at this point. Justin Vogel, an undrafted rookie, will have to prove he's an NFL-caliber punter, while street free agent Derek Hart should be looking over his shoulder to see if veteran snapper Brett Goode is re-signed right before Week 1, like he was last year.