Aaron Nagler fielded Green Bay Packers fans' questions in a Facebook Live chat on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 13, 2017. Aaron Nagler/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY - LaDarius Gunter hasn’t played a defensive snap for the Carolina Panthers this season, but coach Ron Rivera said he hasn’t given up on the former Green Bay Packers cornerback’s potential to help his team.
Gunter was the Packers' top cornerback last season when the secondary was depleted with injuries. Regardless, his lack of speed (he ran a 4.69 40 at the combine) always brought a limitation. The Packers released Gunter in mid-September, one day after he played two snaps in their opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
“We really liked his length,” Rivera said.
Gunter’s long arms are ideal for press-man coverage, especially on the perimeter. It’s a characteristic the Packers also appreciated.
Rivera didn’t point to a speed deficiency for the reason Gunter has played only special teams. Instead, he said the timing of Gunter's signing made it difficult for him to learn the Panthers' defensive system on the fly.
“He’s been good,” Rivera said. “We like who he is. The hard part is, he really didn’t have a chance to learn what we do when we got him. We’ve used him sparingly, but we like him in practice, we like the things that he brings to the table. The nice thing is, we’ve had a chance to sit down and talk to him about Green Bay, the things that they do, the way they do it. So we’ve got a little bit of a feel for that.
“But he really is an interesting guy, and we think he’s got a chance to help us in the future.”
Practice-squad shuffle: The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver Max McCaffrey off the Packers' practice squad, adding him to their 53-man roster. McCaffrey had re-signed with the Packers on Oct. 24 after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Packers filled their vacant practice-squad spot by signing wide receiver Colby Pearson, who was with the team for several months earlier this year.
Pearson (6 feet, 194 pounds) signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in June. He remained with the team for the majority of training camp but was released Aug. 28 after dealing with an ankle injury.
Pearson caught 76 passes for 864 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons at Brigham Young.