No bullseye rests more heavily on a Green Bay Packer more than it does for left guard Lane Taylor. Not only will the team return last year’s draft pick Cole Madison but they went out in the 2019 draft and selected a future starting interior lineman in Elgton Jenkins. Now, Taylor’s job at starting left guard for the past three years is in jeopardy.
Taylor and Byron Bell were one of the two worst guard pairings in the NFL last season. The result was constant pressure up the middle which caused Aaron Rodgers to flush out of the pocket to hopefully find an improvised route downfield. You probably know how this story ends.
Just two years ago, the Packers signed Taylor to a three-year extension at a team-friendly price. His previous play impressed the team so much it actually allowed them peace of mind in cutting an All-Pro in Josh Sitton.
However, something about last season was just off with Taylor. Maybe we can chalk it up to injuries but something was not right about a guy the team had put extraordinary trust in a short while ago.
Pro Football Focus had his pass and run blocking numbers at all-time lows since becoming the starter. Taylor also allowed a team-high eight sacks and 36 quarterback pressures.
At the end of the season, he talked about getting back to his old ways. Taylor spent all of the last offseason nursing an ankle injury that eventually required surgery. Later, foot and knee injuries forced him to sit out a game and miss long stretches of others in 2018.
Perhaps Taylor needs the benefit of the doubt that injuries wrecked his season but it doesn’t look like the Packers are taking any chances. Green Bay has three new players who can play guard that weren’t on the team a year ago.
He will have every chance come training camp to be the starter but to pull it off Taylor needs to find the path to get back to his steady play. Hopefully, it all starts with getting healthy.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.