Packers RB sidelined with new injury amid roster pursuit


Patrick Taylor #27 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball against the New York Jets in the second half of a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 21, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Green Bay Packers are considering replacement Patrick Taylor as a possible third running back for their rotation to start the 2022 season as Kylin Hill recovers from an ACL injury, but first he will have to prove he can stay in healthy.

Taylor missed Wednesday’s training camp practice for the Packers with a new groin injury that could spell trouble for his pursuit if it keeps him out for an extended period. The 24-year-old running back was initially placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list with an unspecified injury at the start of camp, but was activated on July 27 and ultimately did not miss any practice.

The Packers also held newly signed wide receiver Osirus Mitchell with a quad issue.

Taylor has been an easy favorite to start the new year as the Packers’ No. 3 running back with just two undrafted rookies competing against him for depth roles. He spent the final two months of the 2021 regular season on the team’s active roster and played in each of their last nine games, rushing 23 times for 89 yards and scoring his first career NFL touchdown in the week 18 final against the Detroit Lions.

However, the longer the third-year pro stays on the sidelines, the more likely the Packers will have to look elsewhere to fill out their rushed rotation. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are a surefire duo to lead the charge this season, but neither is likely to get many reps in preseason games. And if Taylor isn’t available to take them, the heavy lifting would fall on rookies Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor.

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Several key packers remain on injury lists

While Taylor and Mitchell were the only two new additions to injured lists on Wednesday, the Packers still have a handful of key players out of practice in week two of camp.

The Packers currently have four players working from ACL tears, including three – Robert Tonyan, Elgton Jenkins and Hill – who suffered their injuries during the 2021 season. David Bakhtiari, their five-time All-Pro left tackle, is also progressing in the process of recovering with an ACL injury, but he clarified to reporters during the first week of camp that his recovery was no longer focused on the ACL but rather some of the other damage besides his knee left suffered during his injury on December 31, 2020.

For now, it is difficult to say what the expectations of each of the four of them are. The three players who tore their ACLs in 2021 will have spent at least nine months recovering by the time the Packers start the 2022 season on Sept. 11, but Bakhtiari’s grueling recovery could make Green Bay take even longer to bring them back. in the lineup, especially with starters like Jenkins and Tonyan. As for Bakhtiari himself, he says his level of concern is “low” but has no official return timetable.

Otherwise, the Packers have only two other players on the PUP roster at the moment with veteran kicker Mason Crosby and rookie receiver Christian Watson both recovering from knee surgeries before camp. Special teams cornerback/ace Keisean Nixon also remains on the non-football injury list, while rookie center Cole Schneider and wide receiver Malik Taylor missed two days of practice as DNPs. did not participate).

Watkins returns to team drills

In more positive injury news, Sammy Watkins has participated in 11-on-11 team drills with the Packers since the start of week two of camp, marking another step towards a full recovery for the veteran receiver after initially landed on the non-football injury list with a hamstring problem.

The 29-year-old was the only experienced receiver the Packers signed in free agency in 2022 and could become a valuable weapon for Aaron Rodgers in the coming season after losing Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason. The trick for Watkins will be to stay healthy as he has missed a combined 27 games due to injuries throughout his career. The Packers won’t take any chances with him either.

“It’s just a progression,” LaFleur told Watkins Aug. 2. “We’re going to be smart with him and limit his reps until we feel like he’s on the other side of everything he had. I think every day you will see an increased workload, as long as he feels good. Because it is of no use to us if it is not available to us.

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