Lane Taylor named starting left guard

The veteran fended off his rookie challenger and will start next week in the season opener. 

After a training camp and preseason of seeing which contender would be the starter at left guard when the Packers open the 2019 season in Chicago on September 5th, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur went with the incumbent, but made clear that the competition would be ongoing into the season. 

LaFleur, via WTMJ-AM radio:

I just think it’s a comfort factor. You’ve got an experienced player. I think Elgton is a guy that’s got a lot to learn but I think there’s a lot to like about Elgton. I think he’s got a bright future. 

It's going to be a competition throughout the season, but right now Lane Taylor is the starter.

Taylor had what can only be considered a down year in 2018 and there was some speculation that the Packers might move on from the veteran guard if Jenkins won the job.

Personally, I'm happy they stuck with Taylor. I think he's due for a bounce back year and he has shown he can kick out to tackle if necessary. Throw in a promising rookie in Jenkins and suddenly the offensive line looks like it might actually have a bit of depth.

It's been awhile since you could say that with confidence about the Packers. 

5 points

Comments (25)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
sam1's picture

August 30, 2019 at 08:37 am

At this particular point in time finally a good decision by LaFluer!

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carlos's picture

August 30, 2019 at 10:31 am

I agree. Decent OL not easy to hind.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

August 30, 2019 at 01:02 pm

Then all decisions made prior in your view were bad?

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Dzehren's picture

August 30, 2019 at 08:47 am

So GB had 3 picks in the top 44 & we only came away with 1 starter?

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Guam's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:00 am

You use lots of rotational players in the NFL today. Gary and Jenkins will see their share of playing time.

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kevgk's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:03 am

if youre drafting multiple starters, more likely your team sucks

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murf7777's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:12 am

Give it time, Jenkins could just as well be the starter and may be by years end and Gary is going to get a lot of playing time while he learns a new position.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:37 am

That's one way of looking at it. The other is to look at how close Jenkins came to taking a veteran OG's spot. Jenkins is going to be a stud. The Packers depth at OL is as good as its been in years. If Bulaga goes down they have an answer in Turner and Jenkins can take his spot at OG. I'm glad they decided on Taylor instead of saving cap space - starting a rookie against one of the best Ds in the league and one of the best DLs would have been an unnecessary gamble. Also, as LaFleur said, Taylor has to keep is starting spot as the season goes on. There's nothing like intense competition to keep one focused on his job.

If Gary is a productive rotational player while he's learning a new position, I'm fine with that.

I remember Packers fans calling for Davante's head a few seasons ago. Right now none of us knows how this year's draft picks will do...

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 30, 2019 at 11:08 pm

Look over the Packers in the NFL Hall of Fame and tell me which one( s) started as a rookies? Not including Reggie here as he was a Philly guy.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:10 am

Jenkins will be playing a lot. Gary not so much. Huge fail for drafting this project at #12. No one wants to admit it but he looks awful and would be a PS guy based on performance if he hadn't been drafted so high.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

August 30, 2019 at 11:22 pm

"Huge fail" is premature. And the PS comment doesn't take into account the positive reports we read/heard about him in TC. He's freakishly athletic for a man his size. Of course that doesn't make him a football player. But I have been encouraged by reports of his attitude: Everything I've heard/read says he's working hard & asking Bakhtiari & DL line vets for advice. That doesn't guarantee anything either, but it allays the worry about his motivation.

I expect them to use Gary as a down-lineman rushing the passer this season. Clark & Za'Darius will command more attention so he should get 1 on 1s. I expect him to be able to put pressure on QBs. If he doesn't & if he doesn't improve during the season, your opinion may be borne out. But no one knows now & let's all hope your wrong.

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murf7777's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:20 am

JL, I hope your wrong and prefer to take the optimist route on where he may progress. May be propaganda but the people in the know realized it would take some time as he learns the OLB position. The good thing is they have time with the two smiths and fackerell.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:36 am

But why a guy with poor college numbers and no set position having to be taught to play OLB... at the #12 pick? You'd have to believe he's going to turn into Khalil Mack and has anyone seen anything to make you believe that? #12 pick should be a starter, not a question mark. Gute thought he was making a bold move, but he made a bold move later trading up for Savage. One bold move should be enough in the 1st round. Play the percentages with at least one of the two first rounders and take a consensus solid player like Wilkins. Even Haskins when you've got nothing behind Rodgers. Not Gary, especially after you signed the two Smiths.

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Lphill's picture

August 30, 2019 at 10:30 am

So the whole country was wrong when Gary was the number 1 prospect coming out of High School and a projected 1 st round pick which he was?

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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 30, 2019 at 10:45 am

You seem to be influenced by popular opinion. Do you feel the same way about his predraft standing when most of the experts downgraded him for his mediocre college career? He's a Packer now. Doesn't matter where he was drafted at this point. What have you seen so far to excite you?

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Since'61's picture

August 30, 2019 at 10:46 am

First Khalil Mack was the #5 pick in his draft not #12.
Second, I didn’t know there was a league rule that states the #12 pick will be a starting player immediately.

In this era of the NFL there are fewer and fewer 3 down starting defensive players. Players and packages rotate in and out based on down, distance, score, time remaining, and response to opposing offensive packages.

This is a matchup league both at the player and player package levels. In that sense Gary will be worked into one of the rotational packages during the course of the season. After the 4 Packer DBs everyone else on the defense will probably be a rotational player. So in that sense you can consider Gary a starter.

Let’S see where Gary is after 2-3 seasons. Remember he came out as a junior like Clark and we’re expecting Clark to be our best DL this season. Clark had 2 tackles during his first preseason. Very few NFL players, in fact none, have made it to the HOF in their first preseason. Give him a chance to play, preseason doesn’t count as playing.

Gary has the physical tools to succeed, it’s up to coaching to utilize the tools and put the player into a position to succeed. Time and patience for now. Thanks, Since ‘61

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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 30, 2019 at 11:29 am

Sorry '61 but that "league rule" comment is a bit of a strawman argument. No, there's no league rule. His being a #12 pick vs. #5 of Mack falls in that same category, if not disingenuous. The point is anyone taken that high shouldn't be a great risk. And please don't respond they're all a risk. We know, but some less than others. He was universally considered one of the biggest bust possibilities at the top of the board. As to your other points, yes, rotational players are starters, but I don't think he'll be a rotational player based on his performance so far. He can't rush the passer, Keke is better inside, and he certainly can't play OLB. We'll see very soon if I'm right. Finally, that old 2-3 year argument again. That precludes ever being able to make a judgment. So why didn't we wait on Josh Jones or Randal, who is now starting safety, or any of a myriad of others who were dumped early? My only concern is that Gary seems to be playing out in the preseason just as his critics predicted based on four years of college. It's not encouraging, but I'll try to wait the requisite 2-3 years.

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Since'61's picture

August 30, 2019 at 12:22 pm

I’m willing to give a player a chance. I don’t bring any biases or preconceived unsubstantiated assumptions to whether or not a player will succeed or not.

Preseason performances don’t mean anything. We’ve had preseason MVPs before like the LB Crawford a few years back or Hundley or Tolkien. Where are they now? We’ve also had 1st round busts like Nick Perry and Datone Jones.

Speaking for myself I have no idea what the coaches were expecting Gary to do in his preseason performances or what his assignments were on each play. You want to judge him on meaningless preseason games rhat’s fine. I’ll withhold my judgement until I see his performance in games and plays that count. You will probably be right but that’s not what I’m about. The dialogue matters to me more than being right or wrong or judging people. Thanks, Since ‘61

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ShooterMcGee's picture

August 30, 2019 at 02:48 pm

You make a good point that the #12 pick should be a starter and not some kind of project. It seems to me that "learning a new position" is just an excuse by the coaching staff. His athleticism is off the charts and I sure do hope he can translate that into on the field production. Lets give him time, however, we really need an infusion of talent right now due to all the wasted draft picks of the previous few years.

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nostradanus's picture

August 30, 2019 at 09:36 am

I’m sure Jenkins will get plenty of playing time this year so I look at him as more of like a sixth man Starter
Dude can play he’s going to be a fixture in Green Bay for many years on the offense of line. that is all....

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stockholder's picture

August 30, 2019 at 11:55 am

Taylor should have been dumped/traded. I don't believe we need to keep giving second chances. Why is it we let players hang themselves in Green Bay? The packers need really good football players. Jenkins showed up. He should start. I felt even Turner should play LG. Being soft is not a good way to coach. Taylor is a marsh mellow that will be the weakest link. I don't want Rodgers hurt. And until Taylor is out of here, this OL won't give Rodgers the time he needs.

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flackcatcher's picture

August 30, 2019 at 03:48 pm

Nah. Taylor has been the clear winner since day one of TC. I like Jenkins, but his sloppy footwork and forward body lean doomed him right of out gate. But those are technique issues that take a season to straighten out. Only question was Taylor healthy after playing injured over the last two years, he answered that one the first day of training camp and the so-called competition was over. Jenkins will be a starter very soon, but that depends on who's contract is expiring and what positions the Packers can cover. Based on the very short TC, Jenkins will be a core OL who swings in the interior 3 slots, pretty impressive if he can do it. The Packers believe so, and the staff sees him in camp every day. As to MLF, he has a problem with the truth when dealing with position players. Most young HC do. They either give too much information out, or evades or in the this case, outright lies when outside observers can see the difference. Because of that, MLF has built a bad rep among reporter and media types covering this team. As I said before, he needs to stop this now. He is no longer as position coach, he is the man, And his actions reflect on the entire organization. Putting down a veteran, for the sake of trying to force growth in a rookie, is a bad look no matter how one slices it. I hope MLF figures that out.

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Branden Burke's picture

August 31, 2019 at 02:00 am

Who cares how the head coach is with the media or what their opinion of him is? I couldn't care less. Personally, I want him to be to the media exactly how Belichick is in New England. Give them nothing. Make them feel foolish when they ask questions.

What does the media add to this football team? Nothing. The only thing the media has the ability to do to a football team is harm it's chemistry by bombarding and swarming them over their ridiculous stories. People micromanage all of these little things. Now we are talking about his relationships with the media lol. It's too much...

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flackcatcher's picture

August 31, 2019 at 06:51 pm

Your missing the point here Branden. Who speaks for your organization sets the tone for your organization, and how others look at your organization well before any snaps are taken out on the field. This is very basic. Look at the problems of last year for the Packers. No clear voice, not getting your story out there, forcing the HC to become the PIO guy on top of all the football stuff he is doing. Not his job, and doing so puts so much more pressure on him on an area that is not his responsibility. Look at McCarthy, by mid season he was burned out, and the teams play on the field reflected that. To Gutes credit, he has taken that role from MLF, he saw the same thing I did. GM job is to also protect the HC and inform the media on how the Packers the Packers see their team. My statement about MLF stands, he needs to learn. But he needs his GM protecting his backside too.Glad to see IAMGUTE picking up the pace.

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GatorJason's picture

August 31, 2019 at 12:22 am

Jenkins: Pro-bowl caliber pass blocker. Okay run-blocker.
Taylor: Solid NFL blocker in both run and pass.

Jenkins may start before the end of this season. He just needs to clean up somethings before he can be entrusted to be a consistent blocker in the run game. I don't think the Packer coaches sound too worried about Mr Jenkins development.

IRT not starting game one of his career, does that really matter? If Coach MLF is correct in assessing Jenkins will have a long career in NFL because of his work ethic and demeanor, this guy will have a lot of starts for the Packers before his career is over. He was a good, low risk 2nd round investment.

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