Packers Cut Rookie TE to Make Room for Former RB’s Return

Babicz Taylor Moves

Getty Packers rookie tight end Josh Babicz was released from their practice squad on November 25.

The Green Bay Packers have made a few roster moves over the holiday weekend leading up to their Sunday night showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.

According to the team’s transaction wire, the Packers re-signed running back Patrick Taylor — who was waived from their active roster on November 23 — to their practice squad and released undrafted rookie tight end Josh Babicz on Friday, November 25, in a corresponding move that opened up a spot on the 16-man roster for Taylor

One day later, the Packers also elevated Taylor and safety Innis Gaines from the practice squad to their game-day roster for Sunday Night Football against the Eagles. Gaines was originally released during the 53-man roster cutdown in August, but the Packers brought him back for the practice squad in October and are now giving him his second promotion since returning to the team.


No Unexpected Injuries for Packers Heading Into Matchup

The Packers don’t have too many players with injury statuses heading into their prime-time matchup, but two of their safeties — Rudy Ford and rookie Tariq Carpenter — both spent the week battling illnesses, which could explain why the Packers decided to bring up Gaines for the game. Star running back Aaron Jones was also limited for the entire week of practice with injuries to his shin and glutes, hence Taylor’s promotion.

The Packers also listed All-Pro inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (knee) as doubtful and All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle) both as questionable to play against the Eagles on their final injury report. Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs (ankle) was ruled out.


New Packers OLB Justin Hollins Could Play vs. Eagles

The Packers have been trying to supplement their outside linebacker corps ever since star Rashan Gary tore his ACL in Week 9’s loss to the Detroit Lions, which landed Gary on season-ending injured reserve on November 9. They elevated La’Darius Hamilton from the practice squad in each of their past two games, but he has now expended all three of his allotted elevation opportunities (with one used in Week 7 as well).

For that reason, there was some thought the Packers might sign Hamilton to the active roster on a more permanent basis heading into Week 12. Instead, they claimed four-year veteran Justin Hollins off the waivers from the Los Angeles Rams on Thanksgiving and — based on the lack of movement with Hamilton — appear to be content to have Hollins available as their third- or fourth-string EDGE rusher against the Eagles.

Hollins — a 2019 fifth-round pick for the Denver Broncos — has played more than 1,100 defensive snaps over his first four seasons in the NFL and has far more experience than anyone else the Packers currently have available on the outside, aside from Preston Smith. Over his career, he has notched seven sacks, 11 quarterback hits, 97 total tackles and three forced fumbles and even started five games earlier this season for the Rams.

How much Hollins will play against the Eagles will likely depend on how effective Preston Smith, rookie Kingsley Enagbare and Jonathan Garvin are ahead of him in the rotation, but he could at least be incorporated on a rotational basis or on special teams — if the Packers believe he is ready to go after just four days with the team.

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