The Green Bay Packers concluded their preseason last Thursday with a 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. However, the far more important takeaways than the final score involve playing time and performances by the players on the roster bubble.
Perhaps the most intriguing bubble battle from Thursday took place at the running back position, where undrafted rookie Tyler Goodson got far and away the bulk of the playing time with the first-unit offense in the first half. He and Patrick Taylor are likely battling for one spot on the 53, and although the two both finished with the same number of total snaps, the breakdown of those was markedly different. Additionally, Goodson flashed significantly as a receiver and provided the Packers with a jolt of life in the first half, recording the team’s only touchdown on an impressive 24-yard run.
Here’s a look at how the overall snap numbers from Thursday may impact the Packers’ roster decisions on Tuesday.
OFFENSE (67 TOTAL)
Jordan Love 43, Danny Etling 24
Love had another middling day on the stat sheet but his numbers belied some nice throws, particularly to the likes of Samori Toure and Ameri Rodgers. Love finished the day 16 of 26 for 148 yards and one interception, that coming in an end-of-half situation as he just lofted up a low-risk, high-reward attempt deep over the middle.
Etling solidified a likely spot on the practice squad, going 10-of-13 for 97 yards.
Tyler Goodson 27, Patrick Taylor 27, Dexter Williams 13
In the first half, it was the Tyler Goodson show, as the rookie out of Iowa accounted for 47 total yards on ten touches. He had 25 yards on the ground on six carries, but one of those was a 24-yard touchdown that saw him make some impressive moves to break tackles. He would see a few more snaps after halftime, adding another three-yard carry and a four-yard reception.
Patrick Taylor, on the other hand, played only one series before halftime, a bit of a surprise given that he and Goodson appear to be in a battle for the RB3 job. It was a long drive, on which he had three carries for 16 yards and one reception for five yards, but he also sat out in the second half in favor of Williams until, surprisingly, he came on for the Packers’ hurry-up offense with the team down a touchdown late in the game. That usage could instead be an indication that he has the RB3 job locked up, as the team trusted him over Goodson for those reps in a two-minute drill. Then again, the Packers might just let them both go and try to sign one or both to the practice squad and use elevations for a few weeks until Kylin Hill returns from the PUP list. Who knows?
Samori Toure 43, Juwann Winfree 41, Ishmael Hyman 32, Amari Rodgers 30, Travis Fulgham 24, Romeo Doubs 17
Although the Packers hoped to get Christian Watson some game reps on Thursday, he ended up not playing. Doubs played fairly little, mostly early in the first half, as Green Bay focused on the likes of Winfree, Rodgers, and Toure.
It was a rough game for Winfree, however, as he caught just one of six targets for seven yards. Contrast that against Toure’s six catches for 83 yards on eight targets. Perhaps that sets up a tough decision between the two at final cuts, though Winfree still saw important special teams reps.
Tyler Davis 24, Nate Becker 16, Sal Cannella 16, Alize Mack 13, Josiah Deguara 12
While Davis got the start, a whole host of young tight ends rotated throughout the second half. There was little production to be had here, however, with Cannella and Becker each getting just a couple of targets.
Zach Tom 50, Rasheed Walker 50, Jake Hanson 43, Royce Newman 35, Yosh Nijman 35, Sean Rhyan 32, Caleb Jones 32, Michael Menet 24, Jon Runyan 17, Josh Myers 17
The Packers bumped Walker up to the second-string left tackle in this game, playing ahead of Caleb Jones. The team started the same group as in the first two games, however, going Nijman, Runyan, Myers, Hanson, and Newman from left to right before Tom came on at right tackle,
DEFENSE (54 TOTAL)
Chris Slayton 35, Jack Heflin 33, Jonathan Ford 30, Devonte Wyatt 27, T.J. Slaton 10
The battle for a sixth defensive lineman spot went down to the wire with Slayton, Heflin, and Ford all still in the hunt. Heflin had the biggest play, a run stuff on 4th-and-1 that saw him get into the backfield unblocked; that was the Packers’ only TFL on the day, and he also added a forced fumble. Slayton, meanwhile, had the Packers’ only QB hit on the day.
Kobe Jones 33, JJ Enagbare 32, Ladarius Hamilton 28, Jonathan Garvin 15
It was a less than impressive day for the Packers’ edge group, who had to work without the services of Tipa Galeai. None of these players recorded a hit or tackle for loss, with Jones the only player who had more than two tackles (he had three). Other than Enagbare, there’s no player in this group who is sure of a roster spot.
Ty Summers 24, Ray Wilborn 21, Isaiah McDuffie 21, Quay Walker 15, Krys Barnes 11
The Packers already have released Summers, moving on from him on Sunday. That comes after a game that saw him make just one assisted tackle on defense despite leading the linebacker unit in snaps. Instead, Walker put his stamp on the defense early with five total tackles in just 15 snaps, while Barnes had a pass breakup.
Micah Abernathy 49, Tariq Carpenter 28, De’Vante Cross 16, Shawn Davis 15
Perhaps no player had a bigger opportunity and saw it go unrealized than Innis Gaines, who was hurt on special teams before he had a chance to get into the game. Instead, Abernathy and Davis started, with Abernathy playing almost the entire game while Davis came off the field to give snaps to Carpenter and Cross.
Shemar Jean-Charles 49, Kiondre Thomas 40, Rico Gafford 37, Kabion Ento 14, Keisean Nixon 11
The snaps for Jean-Charles are intriguing, given that he seems to have a roster spot pretty well locked up. Still, he’s continuing to play deep into games on the outside and inside while the Packers rotate the likes of Thomas and Gafford on the boundary.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Summers 17, Wilborn 16, Abernathy 15, Kobe Jones 14, Taylor 13, Gafford 12, Thomas 12, Hamilton 11, Jean-Charles 11