With Aaron Jones unavailable for Monday Night’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Green Bay Packers signed running back Patrick Taylor to the 53-man roster and released edge rusher Justin Hollins to make room.
Taylor was signed to the active roster rather than being elevated from the practice squad like he had previously because his three elevations had already been utilized during the first three games of the season.
In his three appearances this season, Taylor has primarily played on special teams, but also seen 49 snaps on offense, used mostly as a blocker, where he has held up very well, and on occasion in the passing game. Taylor has nine carries for 29 yards this season and three receptions for 23 yards.
"”The thing about it, he’s got better from where he was,” said running backs coach Ben Sirmans. “He’s a guy that definitely you rely on because we trust him in those situations. Any time he gets his opportunity, he’s going to go all out. That’s one of the things you do appreciate about him.”"
With AJ Dillon as the lead back for most of the season, the Green Bay run game has struggled to get going, which has then negatively impacted the passing game by putting Jordan Love and this young offense in obvious passing situations. Dillon has not played his best football, but it’s not as if the blocking has been very good either. Matt LaFleur has also taken responsibility for some of the play calls not putting the run game in the best position.
In Jones’ absence, Dillon has handled the bulk of the carries, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Emanuel Wilson with more opportunities against Las Vegas. In his limited snaps, he has shown a greater ability to create for himself and overall playmaking.
If the offense as a whole is going to be more consistent, it starts with moving the ball on first and second downs, which is often when teams run the ball. The offensive line will have its current preferred five on the field with Elgton Jenkins available, and this is a Raiders defense that has struggled to stop the run this season. The opportunity for Dillon, Wilson, or Taylor to find some success is hopefully there.
"“The biggest thing is just making sure he’s not overthinking when he’s out there,” said Sirmans. “Looking at different games he’s had last year, he’s looked like his old self. There’s been runs this year where he’s looked that way. I think for him it’s just a matter of not trying to press to try to be something and be great.”"
To make room for Taylor, the Packers released Hollins, who was the fifth member of that rotation, not including Brenton Cox, who has been inactive for three games. Rashan Gary was not on the injury report this week, which hopefully means he will be taking on a full workload versus the Raiders, which minimizes the need for a fifth edge rusher. Outside of Gary, the edge rusher group as a whole has been quite inconsistent, including Hollins, who recorded only two pressures this season.
The final move the Packers made was elevating Corey Ballentine from the practice squad. It’s been reported that Jaire Alexander is expected to play, so Ballentine’s role will be as a special teams contributor. Ballentine has 36 special teams snaps in just two games this season. He is also now out of practice squad elevations moving forward—meaning that if the Packers want him active beyond Week 5, they’ll have to sign him to the 53-man roster.