Packers 2016 Recap: G Lane Taylor
- 16 games played
- Pro Football Focus: 73/100 (41st out of 72 qualified guards)
Expectations going into the season: High
Expectations were: Exceeded
Analysis: Shoved into the spotlight, Taylor excels
Midway through the Packers’ 2016 training camp, there was little reason to believe that Lane Taylor’s ongoing career narrative was about to change in any way.
A former undrafted free agent, Taylor was maintaining a slight (if tenuous) lead for one of the Packers’ backup offensive line spots. The battle may not have gone exactly to plan, but with an offseason contract extension in hand, Taylor figured to be the top contender.
Then, as training camp closed, the waiver wire revealed an interesting transaction: Josh Sitton had been cut. Taylor was suddenly the Packers’ starting left guard.
The particulars of Sitton’s release are irrelevant as they pertain to Taylor. Whether Sitton was a locker room malcontent or a misunderstood cherub didn’t change Taylor’s situation one bit. He still had to start at guard, and start he did.
Though he’s not the overwhelming presence Sitton was, Taylor capably held his own throughout all 19 of his starts, counting playoffs. If the least a starting player can be asked to do is “don’t screw it up,” then Taylor was just fine. But one play in particular is telling as to what people think of Taylor inside the locker room, and he’d seem to be more than “just fine” if this is any indication.
In one of the Packers’ “absolutely gotta have it” moments of the season, Aaron Rodgers delivered a laser-guided strike to Jared Cook to put the team in position for a game-winning field goal. Rodgers famously made the throw while rolling to his left to buy time.
The next time you see the play on a highlight reel, take note of who’s rolling right with Rodgers. It’s Lane Taylor, the man charged with replacing one of the best Packers offensive linemen in a generation, that’s acting as bodyguard for the face of the franchise in one of the season’s key moments.
That says more about Taylor than anything we could ever write.