Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talked about the team needing to get “back to work” after Sunday’s season-opening thrashing at the hands of New Orleans, and their scouting department is wasting no time on that front.
According to the NFL’s transaction wire, the Packers brought in four players for roster tryouts on Monday, September 13, including former Minnesota Vikings rotational cornerback Holton Hill. The workout list also included defensive back Steven Parker, rookie tight end Miller Forristall and former 2018 fifth-round defensive end R.J. McIntosh.
Hill played 28 games for the Vikings secondary over the past three seasons, making six starts and recording a combined 73 tackles with 11 passes defended, a fumble recovery and an interception throughout his tenure. While the Vikings believed Hill had starter ability when they signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2018 and gave him $75,000 in guaranteed money, he struggled to build off of an impressive first season (seven pass deflections, 37 tackles) and fizzled out over the next two years due to multiple suspensions and injury trouble.
The Packers could be seeking additional reinforcements for their secondary after watching Jameis Winston mostly stifle their defenders with a lesser-tier receiving corps in Week 1. He went 14-of-20 passing for an average of 10.1 yards per completion and five touchdowns without his top option, Michael Thomas, in the lineup. Winston also had a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targetting Packers starting cornerback Kevin King, completing two passes for 72 yards with a 55-yard touchdown against his coverage.
The Packers would need to make a corresponding deduction before adding anyone to either their 53-man active roster or 16-man practice squad, the latter of which is the most likely landing spot for any of the Packers’ four workout players if they were to sign.
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Could Injuries Warrant Addition at Tight End or Safety?
Beyond the general humiliation the Saints routing them, the Packers also weren’t able to make it out of their season opener without suffering a few injuries. Tight end Josiah Deguara (concussion) and starting safety Darnell Savage Jr. (shoulder) were both knocked out of Week 1’s loss and, for the time being, remain uncertain to play in next week’s Monday Night Football showdown against the Detroit Lions.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Monday that he does not expect Savage’s shoulder injury to be a long-term concern and is hopeful that he could return in Week 2, but the backup plan is somewhat flimsy if Savage is held out against the Lions. Henry Black is likely the only other healthy safety on the roster aside from Adrian Amos with Vernon Scott missing the opener with a back injury. Even if Scott is cleared to return in Week 2, three safeties don’t offer much in the way of depth.
One obvious way to bolster the safety position would be elevating Innis Gaines from the practice squad, but signing another body such as Parker could alleviate some of the depth concerns.
As for tight end, Deguara is easier to replace as a backup behind Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis, so the Packers wouldn’t be crippled by any means if he was stuck in concussion protocol against the Lions. Nevertheless, it could become a concern with Jace Sternberger still suspended for another game and Dominique Dafney looking unimpressive as both a blocker and pass-catcher in his season debut. If a practice-squad promotion for Bronson Kaufusi isn’t appealing enough, the Packers could be tempted to bring in a young option such as the rookie Forristall.