Lane Taylor will spend a second straight year watching the Green Bay Packers from the sidelines after the veteran right guard suffered a season-ending knee injury during Sunday’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
The worst was feared when Taylor was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of Week 1’s win over the Vikings and quickly ruled out with a right knee injury, leaving a cloud of uncertainty over the 30-year-old veteran who missed the majority of 2019 with a separate injury.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the injury was confirmed to be season-ending on Monday afternoon and will require Taylor to undergo surgery. The Packers will expectedly place him on injured reserve at some point this week.
#Packers RG Lane Taylor suffered a season-ending knee injury that will surgery, source said.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 14, 2020
“That’s significant,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Monday without directly outlining the Packers’ plans for Taylor. “My heart goes out to him, just battling back from the significant injury he had last year and to get to a position where he was in our starting lineup. Certainly, he will be missed. I feel bad for him as an athlete, as a man. It takes a lot to come back from a significant injury, and he put the time in and put himself in a great position to have a great year. It’s always tough to see when somebody goes down.”
Taylor had spent the 2020 offseason getting back to full strength following the biceps injury he sustained in practice during Week 3 last season and even took a pay cut — saving the Packers about $3 million in cap space — to secure another opportunity with the team. He thrived in training camp and won the starting right guard job coming into the season, becoming even more valuable with guard/tackle Billy Turner mending a knee injury of his own.
Now, the Packers find themselves hurting at the guard position with Taylor done for the year and Turner’s injury status still unknown heading into Week 2 against the Detroit Lions.
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LaFleur Encouraged by Rest of Packers’ O-Line
The Packers’ plans for their offensive line started less than ideal on Sunday and only became more complicated as the day went on.
Once Turner was ruled out prior to kickoff, the Packers got creative and shifted Jenkins — who was an All-Rookie left guard in 2019 — out to play right tackle while backup Lucas Patrick covered his guard spot on the opposite side. The lineup didn’t hold for long, though, as Patrick was knocked out of the game early with a shoulder injury, causing the Packers to move Jenkins back to left guard and insert veteran Rick Wagner at right tackle.
The Packers made it until the fourth quarter before they were forced to make another substitution on their offensive front, bringing in sixth-round rookie guard Jon Runyan Jr. to replace the injured Taylor at right guard after he spent the majority of camp playing on the left side.
“For him to step inside there on the right side and perform at the level where there wasn’t a drop-off, that’s a tremendous credit to his mentality and his preparation,” LaFleur said of his rookie’s step-up performance against the Vikings. He also commended both Jenkins and Wagner for efforts in upholding the integrity of the Packers’ line.
How the Packers’ offensive line looks for their home opener next Sunday against the Lions will depend on a few lingering health questions. LaFleur was optimistic about Turner’s status for Week 2 on Monday but said the team will learn more as they progress through the week.
The Packers could also potentially have back Patrick for the next game with Pelissero reporting Monday the interior offensive lineman received good news on his shoulder tests and “should be probable” to play against the Lions. He signed a two-year contract extension with the Packers last December and is expected to factor heavily into the team’s future plans.