Lane Taylor to start for Packers with Josh Sitton gone


With Josh Sitton's surprising release, a new left guard will start in front of Aaron Rodgers when the Green Bay Packers open the season Sunday versus the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday fourth-year pro Lane Taylor would get the start, saying the 2013 undrafted free agent was "ready" and "prepared."

"I have all the confidence in the world in Lane," McCarthy said, via the team's official website. "He's earned this opportunity. I think he's done a very good job, particularly in the run-blocking phase of his game. There are some things he needs game experience at, but that's part of the leap when you make changes. With that, it's an opportunity to grow."

The move from Sitton to Taylor is not only a downgrade in experience (Taylor has two career starts) but also in pass blocking, where the 26-year-old Taylor struggled last season. For reference, Pro Football Focus graded Sitton 91.1 in pass protection in 2015, while Taylor earned a 45.8 grade in limited snaps. (Rodgers must be thrilled with this swap.)

As for the Sitton situation, McCarthy declined to offer any specifics as to why the Packers jettisoned the three-time Pro Bowl blocker, who signed with rival Chicago Bears.

"There's a lot of things that go into this decision," McCarthy said. "This was not just one thing. With that, it was tough."