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Cheese Curds, 12/1: Tavon Austin is essentially Tyler Ervin

The two players have similar size and skill sets; does Austin’s signing suggest that Ervin will be limited moving forward?

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Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With Tyler Ervin out due to a wrist injury over the past few weeks, the Green Bay Packers have had to scramble to find ways to replace his impact on offense and on special teams. With no like-for-like replacement on the team’s roster, head coach Matt LaFleur has turned to a jet motion-by-committee approach to fill Ervin’s role on that side of the football.

Two games ago in Indianapolis, the Packers used a lot of Davante Adams on jet motion. Against Chicago, however, it was receivers like Equanimeous St. Brown, Allen Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling taking the bulk of the creative motion, something that gives the Packers a bit of added blocking ability from that spot. On returns, Darrius Shepherd filled in to start, being replaced by Malik Taylor on kickoffs for the Bears game.

But now the Packers appear to have a drop-in replacement for Ervin’s role after signing Tavon Austin from free agency. Austin spent the first half of the season on the San Francisco 49ers’ injured reserve list with a sprained knee before receiving an injury settlement about a month ago. The speedy, diminutive Austin has the skill set to do all of the same things that Ervin did for this team and potentially more, and the signing could be a shrewd move, much like claiming Ervin a year ago.

Of course, the likelihood of Austin making a huge impact is low. The offense is well-established with Adams and Aaron Jones as the key players, while Robert Tonyan, MVS, and a now-healthy Lazard serve as the secondary options. A handoff or two per game to Austin is probably all one should expect; but that threat of pure speed should return a bit more if he works his way into the offense, and at the very least he should be able to provide some help on returns if Ervin’s injury lingers.

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The obvious spot for Tavon Austin is to play the Tyler Ervin role, both with jet motion on offense and on returns. Austin will almost certainly take over for Darrius Shepherd on punts, after he was already removed from kickoff returns last week.

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Need a gift for your Vikings fan friend or family member? This will be the perfect addition to their coffee table or bookshelf.

(Trust us. Read the reviews.)