GREEN BAY – The interior of the Packers’ offensive line may have a new look this season, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy likes what he’s seen from the unit thus far in training camp.
Veteran Jahri Evans and Lane Taylor have stepped into the starting spots at guard, joining center Corey Linsley, and veteran tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga.
McCarthy has praised the offensive line for being one of the Packers’ bedrocks in recent years. While there have been a few departures – namely Pro Bowl guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang – he believes the potential is still there for the unit to be a cornerstone of this year’s team.
“I think our offensive line will compete to be one of the best lines in the National Football League,” said McCarthy during his Thursday morning news conference. “Lane Taylor is clearly having the best camp of his career. He’s really solidified the left guard position. He accomplished that, in my view, last season. Jahri is playing good football for us. He’s come right in here and I really like the working combination between him, Corey and Bryan Bulaga.”
Taylor, who moved into the starting spot at left guard last September, played in all 19 games last season and led the Packers' offensive line with 1,084 regular-season snaps.
The Packers signed Evans in April to help fill their vacancy at right guard. Known for his durability, the six-time Pro Bowler leads all active offensive linemen with a 169 regular-season games played.
McCarthy said the team hasn’t made a decision on playtime for quarterback Aaron Rodgers or any other players heading into Saturday night’s preseason game in Washington.
The Packers started their in-season schedule this week, meaning Thursday will be spent in meetings and walk-throughs. Players also will participate in the STAA (soft tissue activation and application) program before the team conducts its final practice Friday.
“We have probably four, five guys I’m not sure if they’re going to go,” McCarthy said. “If we can get these guys on the practice field (Friday), it will directly reflect the playtime of other players, especially the quarterback position. … I’m hoping to get some positive information before I leave here tonight.”