Ahead of their Week 5 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Green Bay Packers executed three significant roster moves. Let’s break down these moves one by one:
- Packers Sign RB Patrick Taylor: Due to the expected absence of Aaron Jones in the upcoming Monday night game, the Packers found it necessary to bolster their running back position. Patrick Taylor, previously elevated from the practice squad in Weeks 1-3, has now been signed to the 53-man roster. In his limited playing time over the first three weeks, Taylor showed promise, carrying the ball nine times for 29 yards and catching three passes for 23 yards in 49 offensive snaps. He also contributed on special teams with 28 snaps. Taylor is a versatile player with receiving and blocking skills, making him a likely choice as the third-down back for Monday night. Alongside A.J. Dillon and Emanuel Wilson, he completes the trio of running backs on the roster, and it’s possible Taylor will remain on the 53-man roster for the remainder of the regular season.
- Release OLB Justin Hollins: Justin Hollins, who had seen substantial playing time with 84 defensive snaps in the first four games, including three weeks with 20 or more snaps, was released by the Packers. With six outside linebackers on the roster, the decision to release Hollins was likely prompted by the need to make room for Patrick Taylor on the 53-man roster. It’s possible that the Packers are confident in Rashan Gary’s progression towards becoming a full-time player, and they may have favored the potential upside of rookie Brenton Cox Jr. over Hollins’ experience. There’s a possibility that another team may claim Hollins on waivers later in the week.
- Elevate CB Corey Ballentine: Corey Ballentine has been elevated from the practice squad for the third consecutive week, exhausting his practice squad elevations (similar to Patrick Taylor). To continue playing for the Packers beyond this week, Ballentine would need to be signed to the 53-man roster. Over the past two weeks, Ballentine logged 80 defensive snaps and 36 special teams snaps. While Jaire Alexander is expected to return from injury, Ballentine’s elevation provides valuable depth at cornerback and an extra option for special teams. His usage increased last week, particularly when the Packers were defending against the run, as they prefer him over rookie Carrington Valentine in these situations. Notably, Eric Stokes won’t be available for Monday night’s game as he hasn’t been activated to the 53-man roster.
One Point of Interest to Watch:
Pay attention to how the Packers utilize their running backs against the Raiders. Specifically, keep an eye on whether A.J. Dillon remains the clear-cut No. 1 option in the absence of Aaron Jones. Dillon’s current average of 2.7 yards per carry may prompt the Packers to explore other options. Emanuel Wilson offers more agility as a runner, while Patrick Taylor is favored for his receiving abilities. Although Coach Matt LaFleur has expressed confidence in Dillon, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a more balanced distribution of playing time among the running backs on Monday night. The Packers aim to improve their running game and overall production from the running backs in this crucial matchup.