The only thing worse than putting a player on the injured reserve between games? Putting two of them on the list.
The Green Bay Packers announced Saturday they were placing starting left guard Lane Taylor on the injured reserve list with a biceps injury that held him out of Friday’s practice, clearing the way for rookie Elgton Jenkins to make his first career NFL start at noon C.T. Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
The team also signed offensive lineman Adam Pankey from the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad as Jenkins’ backup after Pankey spent time with the Packers during training camp before getting waived for roster cutdowns.
Starting defensive lineman Montravius Adams was listed as doubtful for the Week 3 matchup with a shoulder issue, while tight end Jimmy Graham (groin), linebacker Kyler Fackrell (shoulder) and wide receivers Jake Kumerow (shoulder) and Darrius Shepherd (hamstring) were all listed as questionable.
Unlike earlier in the week when an ankle injury forced the Packers to make another IR designation with safety Raven Greene, who also sees action at WILL linebacker, the loss of Taylor is one that comes amid competition for his starting job.
That’s not to say Taylor had done anything substantial to risk losing his position coming into Week 3, but the challenge behind from rookie Elgton Jenkins — who some speculated could have swiped the starter job coming out of training camp — is enough to give the Packers something of a safety net at a position critical to their offense.
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Another Bump in Lane Taylor’s Road
Taylor hasn’t shied away from the not-so-great 2018 season behind him, which began with an offseason ankle injury that wiped out four months for him and never saw him fully return to strength with a foot injury also causing him to miss a game.
The Packers took action during the 2019 NFL Draft and scooped up Jenkins in the second round after his standout career Mississippi State, despite Taylor being in the second of a three-year, $16.5 contract extension that keeps him in Green Bay through the 2020 season.
Packers first-year head coach Matt LaFleur has talked up Jenkins numerous times since the preseason rolled around and maintained that the left guard position was an ongoing competition and rotation. Jenkins played 18 snaps in the Week 2 win over the Vikings, but Taylor had a little more impact with a nice block that cleared the way for a Jamaal Williams touchdown.
Packers Line Must Stay Improved
Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times in the Packers’ season-opening win at the Chicago Bears, as the offense scraped by on a single touchdown while the defense delivered the win, but things looked better Week 2 against the Vikings. Rodgers still hit the turf twice against the Vikings last week, but the line improved his protection as the Packers scored on their first three possessions.
Replacing Taylor with Jenkins subtracts experience from the equation, even if Jenkins has been effective in his afforded snaps. He has yet to play a starter’s load of snaps in a regular-season game and thus remains with a question mark above his head as the Packers venture into no-turning-back territory.
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