The Green Bay Packers added another running back to their roster who will face rivals Chicago Bears in their Week 2 matchup.
The Packers added RB Patrick Taylor to their 53-man roster after losing to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 with just two backs (Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon). Dillon and Jones combined for 15 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown last week, with Jones averaging 9.8 yards per carry and Dillon averaging 4.5 yards per carry when carrying the rock.
Though he ripped it up when he got the ball against Minnesota, Jones only had eight touches (five rushes, three receptions) the entire game. Packers coach Matt LaFleur admitted he plans to push the running game – and Jones – a little further.
“We need to get them the ball more, especially in the running game,” LaFleur said on Sept. 12. “I thought we were running the ball pretty efficiently. We had some explosive runs. I thought our backs, I really love how they competed. I mean, they fought for every inch out there.”
Taylor, an undrafted free agent from Memphis, appeared in nine games for Green Bay last season and carried the ball 23 times for 89 yards (3.9 yards per carry) and one score. In his 45 collegiate games with the Tigers, Taylor had 2,884 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns on 536 carries.
At 6’2″ and 217 pounds, Taylor isn’t a runabout, but he’s a powerful back that could be a nice plug-and-play option with Dillon seated.
According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor had over 3.0 yards from contact per rush last year and he had two explosive rushes of 20 yards or more in his 23 carries, so he showed strobes on limited occasions.
The Bears are also unlikely to have prepared much for him given their pre-game focus was mostly on Dillon and Jones. Thus, Patrick could have some chances to play against a Bears defense that allowed him to rush 176 yards to the San Francisco 49ers Week 1.
This is the 17th straight year that NFC North’s longtime rivals have gone head-to-head in prime time. Eleven of the last 12 of those games have been played on the Frozen Tundra. LaFleur is 6-0 against Chicago, while reigning two-time career MVP Aaron Rodgers is 23-5 against the Bears.
“Oh yeah, it’s going to be electric,” Packers defenseman Kenny Clark said via the team’s official website. “I love this game, I love everything it brings me. I don’t take anything for granted. Every time I get a chance to run out of that tunnel, especially a division rival, the Bears, and it’s the first home game of the season, it’s a dream.”
The Packers were the only team in the league to go unbeaten at home in the regular season last year, winning 9-0 at Lambeau. They need a win over NFC North rivals Bears to keep from slipping to 2-0, which they haven’t managed since the 2006 season.