GREEN BAY, Wis. — With Ryan Taylor’s role drastically declining this season, the Green Bay Packers released the fourth-year player Monday.
Taylor, who’s listed as a tight end, has been much more of a special teams contributor throughout his career with the Packers. He had just eight catches for 45 yards with one touchdown since being drafted by Green Bay in the seventh round in 2011.
Taylor continued to stick around due to his consistency on special teams. However, he was used on just 42 percent of special teams situations this season, compared to 65.6 percent last season.
"Well, I think overall we’ve improved as a roster," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said in addressing Taylor’s release. "I think we’ve got a number of guys that can play well. Ryan did a great job for us and played extremely hard and is a darned good player."
Taylor had 15 tackles on special teams in his first two NFL seasons, but he had two tackles in 2013 and just one so far in 2014.
"In an ideal world, tacklers tackle and blockers block, so if you can do that, your coverage teams would be defensive players and your offensive players would play on the return game," Slocum said. "We’ve been pretty fortunate having a number of safeties up and active each week and those guys have been really productive for us. We’ve played a number of our starters on special teams and I think that’s helping us. What it does, it makes our roster seem bigger on game day because we’re getting more work out of everybody."
Taylor had not been part of the Packers’ offensive plans this season whatsoever. He didn’t play at all on offense in the first four games and only played 10 snaps in Week 5 after Green Bay had taken a 42-0 lead and backup quarterback Matt Flynn was in the game.
The most Taylor ever played offensively in one season was 174 snaps, that coming in 2013.
"It’s unfortunate that that’s part of the game," offensive coordinator Tom Clements said of releasing Taylor. "Ryan did a lot of great things for us and we wish him well, and it’s unfortunate."
The entirety of the Packers’ tight end group has just 12 catches for 148 yards and one touchdown this season.
With Taylor gone, the Packers now only have three players remaining on the roster from their 2011 draft class: offensive tackle Derek Sherrod (first round), wide receiver Randall Cobb (second round) and cornerback Davon House (fourth round). The other seven players drafted by Green Bay that year, including running back Alex Green (third round) and tight end D.J. Williams (fifth round), didn’t even make it this long.
The Packers immediately filled Taylor’s roster spot by signing wide receiver Kevin Dorsey from the practice squad. Dorsey was used a lot on special teams by Green Bay in training camp and preseason.