Packers going with Lane Taylor to replace Josh Sitton at left guard
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers are going with Lane Taylor at left guard to replace Josh Sitton after the team's surprising release of the three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Taylor, a fourth-year pro, has started two games in his career. He is coming off a preseason finale against Kansas City in which he was penalized twice for holding and once for a false start, and appeared to be late in picking up a blitz that resulted in a sack.
Taylor will slide into the starting lineup when Green Bay opens the season on Sept. 11 at Jacksonville.
Sitton, who signed with the NFC North-rival Chicago Bears on Sunday, was a second-team All-Pro last season and a durable starter who missed only two games over the previous seven seasons.
"I have all the confidence in the world in Lane," coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. "He's earned this opportunity."
While McCarthy said that he likes what Taylor has done in run blocking, "The pass protection and some of the things -- particularly how we do it and what we do -- is something he just needs some game experience at. That's part of the leap when you make changes."
Sitton, 30, was entering the last year of a five-year, $33.75 million extension signed after the 2011 season. The contracts of three other offensive line starters -- left tackle David Bakhtiairi, center JC Tretter and right guard T.J. Lang -- are also due to expire after this season.
In announcing Sitton's release Saturday, general manager Ted Thompson said the move was made "with a focus on what is best for the team and the growth of the offensive line."
Sitton was known to play through injuries. He also caused a minor stir at midseason last year when, during a midweek football show for the Green Bay Press-Gazette newspaper, he said that the Packers' offense had "become too predictable. Teams know exactly what we're going to do every week."
Asked if the Packers were better with Taylor, McCarthy said, "I don't think it's fair to say that about anybody ... Every decision we make is in the best interest of improving all aspects of our program. This is not about one player. This about our football team."