It appears that Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Tipa Galeai’s season is over. After going on the injured reserve in Week 6 for a hamstring injury, Galeai was designated to return in Week 10. The return designation allowed him to practice with the team for a three-week window without having to count against the 53-man active roster.
That window expired on Wednesday, by when the team needed to make the decision on either activating Galeai or allowing him to revert back to the injured reserve for the rest of the season. According to Aaron Wilson of KRPC, Galeai was not activated today and will go back on injured reserve.
Over the first five games of the season, Galeai was a key special teams contributor who played 85 snaps in the third phase of football. At the time, that was two-thirds of special teams played for the Packers. Despite missing seven games this season, he’s only seven special teams snaps behind Jonathan Garvin, who currently leads Green Bay’s outside linebackers in special teams snaps played in 2022.
One of the pleasant surprises of the Eagles game: Justin Hollins (#47), who was picked off of waivers last week and didn't practice until Thursday pic.twitter.com/pXAdTr9Vya— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) November 28, 2022
So what changed over the last three weeks for the Packers to move in a different direction than to activate Galeai? Well, Justin Hollins, who was brought on to be Green Bay’s new fourth outside linebacker, had a solid debut for the Packers against the Philadelphia Eagles after just two practices with the team. It seems like Green Bay’s plan for the rest of the season is to start Preston Smith and Kingsley Enagbare at the position and allow Garvin and Hollins to contribute on special teams and off the bench as subs on defense.
The Packers continue to maintain an open roster spot after the suspension of rookie guard Sean Rhyan, who won’t be playing for the remainder of the regular season due to a PED violation. After practice squad safety Innis Gaines was swapped out for safety Jonathan Abram earlier this week, two situations to highlight are those of tackle Caleb Jones and running back Patrick Taylor.
Jones was designated to return from the non-football injury list in Week 12, meaning that his three-week window runs through Wednesday of Week 15. Earlier this year, Jones was battling mononucleosis. Prior to his illness, the team was rostering 11 offensive linemen, which is a pretty clear sign that they didn’t want to subject the reserve offensive lineman to waivers after he was promoted off of the practice squad.
The other internal candidate who makes sense to fill that final roster spot is Taylor, who has played in nine games in 2022 and has one more elevation from the practice squad before he must be an active roster member to play in games. The Packers only rostered two running backs, as they do now, early on in the season but ended up giving Taylor the nod to join the active roster after a few weeks. He was then replaced by Kylin Hill, moving Taylor to the practice squad, before Hill was eventually waived by the team.