Packers Face Key Decision on Patrick Taylor Ahead of Week 4 vs. Lions

Patrick Taylor, Packers

Getty Patrick Taylor, Packers

When the Packers were making their 53-man roster cutdowns back in late August, running back Patrick Taylor was very much on the bubble. There were two other contenders for the No. 3 running back spot, Tyler Goodson (who had been with the Packers last season) and rookie Emanuel Wilson.

With the Packers seeking to churn much of the roster, Taylor appeared to be in some trouble—he’d already been around for three seasons, was older (25) than Goodson (22) or Wilson (24) and had gotten just 16 carries (for 55 yards) in the preseason, well behind Wilson, who led the league in preseason carries (38) and rushing yardage (223).

The Packers kept Wilson as the No. 3 back. But Taylor stuck around, too, on the practice squad, and with running back Aaron Jones trying to recover from a Week 1 hamstring injury, the depth Taylor provides (he is a very good blocker in pass-protection) and his experience with special teams was useful to Green Bay.

But if the Packers plan to move forward with Taylor, they will have to shake up the back end of the roster. That’s because the Week 3 win over New Orleans marked the third time Taylor has been elevated from the practice squad, meaning that the next time he moves up, he will have to stay on the 53-man roster—meaning Wilson, or another player, will have to be bumped.

Patrick Taylor -Jordan Love ‘Miscommunication’ Was Costly

Taylor has had nine carries for 29 yards this season, as well as three catches for 23 yards as a receiver, all of which came in the Week 3 win over the Saints. Taylor was targeted four times in that game, and it was the one that did not connect—a fourth-down throw from Jordan Love on the Saints’ 13-yard line to open the fourth quarter—that stood out the most.

Taylor pulled up on the play, as if expecting Love to throw it to his spot, while Love threw it ahead of Taylor, expecting him to keep running.

The play cost the Packers a key first down and, potentially a touchdown. Love chalked it up to a “miscommunication” but was clearly frustrated with Taylor after the play.

Matt LaFleur Had Compliments for Taylor

Still, Packers coach Matt LaFleur was complimentary of Taylor after the game.

“I thought Patrick Taylor has done some great things for us,” said Matt LaFleur in his postgame press conference on Sunday. “Obviously being on the practice squad, coming in and contributing not only on the special teams, but doing things on offense from not only a pass protection standpoint, but also catching the ball out of the back field and blocking.”

His knowledge of the Packers’ special teams plays could be the deciding factor for Taylor. He has been in on 49 snaps offensively, and has been in on 28 snaps on special teams. That’s 11th on the team, and could be a deciding factor if the Packers have to pick between Wilson and Taylor—Wilson has not played on special teams at all this season.

For now, the Packers can keep Taylor on the practice squad, but if they want him on the field for Thursday’s game against the Lions, someone will have to go—especially if Jones returns to action, which is looking more probable for Week 4.

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