Packers Annual Checkup: Ryan Taylor
FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Ryan Taylor, tight end/special teams
Season stats: 15 games (174 snaps; 17.5 percent of total offensive snaps); six catches, nine targets, 30 yards, zero touchdowns, one fumble, two dropped passes, forced zero missed tackles, zero penalties committed; four special teams tackles
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: minus-7.6 on offense; minus-3.5 on special teams
Best game: Week 3 loss at Cincinnati (played 34 of 81 snaps; two catches (three targets), 11 yards, zero touchdowns, zero dropped passes; minus-0.8 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 17 win at Chicago (played 13 of 78 snaps; zero catches (zero targets); minus-1.7 PFF rating)
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were … Met
Looking live: Through his first two seasons with the Packers, Ryan Taylor hadn’t contributed much to Green Bay’s offense. He was a solid special teams player, but Taylor only played 32 offensive snaps as a rookie in 2011 and 143 snaps in 2012. Early in training camp, though, Taylor had a few moments that made it seem as if he might become a bigger part of the Packers’ offense in his third season. On Day 4 of camp, Taylor was recognized in FOXSportsWisconsin.com’s Training Camp Report series when he scored a touchdown on a short slant pass from Aaron Rodgers. "Obviously I’ve made strides in the receiving game, but I’ve always just been a player that does what’s asked of him," Taylor said on Aug. 1, 2013. "If that’s what they need me to do is be more impactful in the passing game, I’ve been preparing for a long time to be able to do it. It’s something that I’m ready for, and if that’s what they need me to do, then that’s what I’ll do." Taylor continued to be a core special teams player, participating on multiple units right from the start of camp. During the Family Night scrimmage, Taylor injured his knee, forcing him to miss five practices and the first preseason game. FOXSportsWisconsin.com accurately predicted that Taylor would make the Packers’ active roster in 2013, noting that his special teams play would play a factor in that decision.
Upon further review: Taylor entered the 2013 regular season with low expectations because he’s a prime example of a player being what he is. For better and for worse, Taylor’s ceiling wasn’t much higher than his current level of play, but it was his hard-working attitude that earned him a spot on an NFL roster for a third consecutive year. Taylor played more offensive snaps in 2013 than he did in his first two seasons, but not by much. His 174 snaps were just slightly more than the 143 snaps he played in 2012. Taylor did catch six passes, far surpassing his previous career total of two receptions. Taylor isn’t on the field because he’s a receiving threat, though. He needs to be a dependable blocker, but he didn’t deliver in that area, especially when blocking in the running game. Not only was Taylor not the Packers’ blocking tight end, he was arguably their worst. With the season-ending injury to Jermichael Finley, Taylor had plenty of chances to make a difference on offense, but it didn’t happen. On special teams, he continued to be a serviceable piece, but with nearly every aspect of special teams struggling in 2013, Taylor could be replaceable there.
Overall 2013 grade: C-minus
Status for 2014: Eighty percent chance of being on Green Bay’s active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Andrew Quarless was re-signed this offseason and Brandon Bostick could be the team’s future at the position, but Taylor will certainly be given every opportunity to stick with the Packers for a fourth season. Plus, Finley’s future is uncertain due to his status as an unrestricted free agent, and, more importantly, because of his recovery from neck surgery. It’s on special teams where Taylor will have to once again prove himself, so it will be interesting to see how patient Shawn Slocum and Ron Zook are with the returning players who were part of a group that didn’t perform well in 2013.
Next: Quarterback Scott Tolzien
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