The Green Bay Packers made a significant roster move on Saturday that will give their struggling offensive line a massive boost heading into their week 16 game against the Tennessee Titans. Center Corey Linsley is back, as the team has reactivated him back onto the active roster from the injured reserve list.
Linsley’s return to the active roster likely means that he will be in the starting lineup on Sunday night. That should push Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins back to his normal position at left guard, which means the team will have a question to answer about the right side of the line. There are two realistic options: the team could put Lucas Patrick on the bench and leave Billy Turner at right guard and Rick Wagner at tackle, the positions that the two have played in the past three games, or they could move Patrick back to right guard and Turner back out to tackle with Wagner as a key reserve.
Without Linsley, the Packers had three solid games of production in the running game, but the team’s pass protection largely fell apart against the Carolina Panthers last Saturday, as they sacked Aaron Rodgers five times. Much of the struggles came from Patrick at left guard, who had trouble with Derrick Brown all game long; those difficulties that he displayed could land him on the bench, particularly with Turner and Wagner working well together on the right side.
In any case, Linsley’s return is a welcome one. When he takes the field next, he will be wearing a special patch on his jersey signifying his status as the Packers’ nominee for the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Additionally, the Packers elevated two players from the practice squad for gameday availability this week: running back Dexter Williams and defensive lineman Brian Price. Williams will likely serve as insurance for the running game if Jamaal Williams is unable to play, with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon expected to get the bulk of the work in the backfield. Price appears poised to play a reserve role on defense.
Finally, the Packers made two other practice squad transactions, adding another specialist. Punter Ryan Winslow joins the team for the stretch run; the former University of Pittsburgh punter played in two games for the Arizona Cardinals last year and should provide insurance behind JK Scott. This transaction is likely serving a similar role as the signing of kicker JJ Molson earlier this week — there are no known significant issues with the Packers’ specialists, but if something were to happen to either Scott or Mason Crosby, the team will have a fill-in replacement ready to go without having to wait on COVID intake protocols. To make room for Winslow, the Packers released tight end Dax Raymond.