The Green Bay Packers announced on Saturday that they have placed receiver Sammy Watkins on injured reserve, promoted running back Patrick Taylor from the practice squad to the active roster and elevated receiver Juwann Winfree from the practice squad to the gameday roster against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Watkins appeared on the injury report this week with a hamstring injury after he brought in three catches for 93 yards against the Chicago Bears last week. Watkins has a history of injuries, as he hasn’t played a 16-game season since his rookie year of 2014.
Taylor was the one activation from the practice squad in Week 2, and it’s no surprise the team made this move. With only two running backs on the active roster and the team now leaning on the ground game more than ever, it made sense for the Packers to add another running back to the roster when a roster spot became available. It’s worth noting here that last year’s third-team running back, Kylin Hill, is on the physically unable to perform list for a 2021 ACL tear. Hill is eligible to start practicing with the Packers in Week 5, when he can open a three-week window to practice with the team without having to be activated to the 53-man roster.
Like Taylor, Winfree has already been elevated off of the practice squad once this season: in Week 1. Winfree has actually played more offensive snaps this season (nine) than either Amari Rodgers (one, a kneel) and Samori Toure (zero), who are receivers on the 53-man roster. The NFL changed its practice squad promotion rules this season, allowing players to be called up three times from the practice squad per season. This means that if the team wants to use Winfree in more than one game from Week 4 on, they’re going to have to sign him on the 53-man roster to do so.
Beyond just Watkins, the Packers have other injuries at receiver that could have influenced the elevation of Winfree. Randall Cobb (illness) and Christian Watson (hamstring) were listed as questionable by the team on Friday. Cobb hasn’t practiced with the team all week while Watson missed back-to-back practices after being a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. Allen Lazard, coming off of an ankle injury that kept him from playing in the season-opener, missed practice on Thursday and was limited on Wednesday and Friday but is expected to play against the Buccaneers.