GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers elevated running back Patrick Taylor from the practice squad for Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears. What does that transaction mean?
RB Patrick Taylor
Green Bay faced the Vikings last week with only Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon in the backfield. Afterward, coach Matt LaFleur lamented the fact those players got only 23 touches. The elevation of Taylor, even with Jones and Dillon being healthy, doesn’t necessarily suggest this will be a run-centric game plan – though that’s a huge potential advantage for Green Bay – but the plan will revolve around his multitalented backs.
“I think we’re mindful. I wouldn’t say limited,” LaFleur said of any limitations with only two backs on the roster. “But you don’t to wear them out. Certainly, if you have a huge package and then something happens to those guys, then that package goes bye-bye and there goes half your offense or however big of a package that is.
“So, I think you’ve got to be mindful of that. Is it a little bit of a feel thing in terms of where we are in a game? Yeah, but certainly having those two guys on the field I think presents some problems for a defense. They’re two of our better players, I think everybody recognizes that, and they’re versatile.”
Taylor, who took over as the No. 3 back late last season, entered training camp looking to make a bigger impact.
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“I feel so much more comfortable with the offense and knowing where certain holes are going to hit and being in tune with my body mechanics such as my cutting ability, reading the holes, being decisive and stuff like that,” Taylor said before getting married. “Having this past year under my belt, seeing the speed of the game isn’t as far as I thought it was from college. It’s just everybody’s fast, right? Being able to make that split-second decision quicker – you’ve got to hit that hole quicker or jump-cut out there – I feel a lot more confident going into this season.”
Move That Wasn’t Made
Perhaps more interesting than elevating Taylor is that the Packers didn’t call up receiver Juwann Winfree for a second consecutive week. Perhaps that signals veteran receiver Allen Lazard, who was inactive last week due to an ankle injury and was limited participation at practice all week, will make his season debut.
As it stands, the Packers have veterans Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins, rookies Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure, and second-year player Amari Rodgers. The Packers might think that group is enough, even if Lazard is given one more week to mend and with Toure and Rodgers not getting any action against the Vikings.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s not a big deal. I already knew,” Rodgers said this week about not playing vs. Minnesota. “We knew what was going on inside the building, inside the team. I’m a return guy right now, waiting for my turn on offense. That’s just how it is. I’m still going to stay positive about it, continue to put my head down and work hard. When my number’s called, just make sure I’m ready.”
Getting Lazard on the field could provide a huge lift, and just because he’s a reliable threat for Aaron Rodgers.
“It’s always nice to have those veteran guys,” offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said. “Not so much, ‘All right, this stuff’s set up for Allen,” but if he’s in there, he’s going to do the dirty work, the blocking, the things that you might not see on the stat sheet where you know you’ve got a reliable guy in there that’s going to be physical. But then in the pass game, good route runner, steady hands, someone for ‘12’ to lean on. And then also, he does a great job getting the younger guys lined up while they’re out there with splits and details – just things you don’t see every day. He’s just a guy that really, in the big picture, just helps everyone do the right thing.”