Despite the fact that the Green Bay Packers have the option to elevate two players from the practice squad per week, the team chose to activate just running back Patrick Taylor against the Chicago Bears. Last week, receiver Juwann Winfree and safety Micah Abernathy came off the practice squad to play against the Minnesota Vikings.
In Week 1, Winfree out-snapped Amari Rodgers nine-to-zero on the offensive side of the ball with Allen Lazard missing from the game. Lazard (ankle) was able to practice all week and was officially listed as questionable for the Sunday Night Football matchup. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers...less than enthused about Amari Rodgers’ standing in the offense, Winfree not being activated in Week 2 could be a sign that Lazard will play in the home opener.
Beyond Lazard, the three other players who were given injury statuses on Friday were all offensive linemen. Since the team is carrying a whopping 11 offensive linemen on their 53-man roster, they don’t need to call up an injury replacement at the position, even if all three of David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan Jr. can’t go on Sunday.
Abernathy played special teams for the Packers last week and was one of five safeties who suited up against the Vikings. The only veteran healthy scratch on the roster last week was cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles, due to the team already having nine defensive backs on gameday. With Abernathy no longer playing, there’s a good chance Jean-Charles sees his first action of the regular season this week.
Throughout the week, head coach Matt LaFleur has stated that running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon need more touches than they had last week against Minnesota. In that game, the Packers entered the matchup with just two running backs on their gameday roster, the only two they keep on their 53-man roster. The promotion of Taylor feels like a step toward the team committing to the ground game in Week 2, as there is now a contingency plan for if Jones or Dillon go down with an injury. In Week 1, an injury at the position likely would have meant that whichever back was left would have had to play every single remaining snap of the game.
It’s worth noting that Taylor was promoted ahead of Tyler Goodson, who is also on the practice squad. Goodson saw most of the first-team running back snaps in the preseason with Jones and Dillon sitting out, though, Taylor saw key snaps in specific situations, like as a pass-blocker on third downs and as an inside runner in short-yardage situations. Another running back, Kylin Hill, is on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from an ACL tear and is expected to take over the third running back role when he’s activated.