Green Bay Packers Center Jeff Saturday Benched For Week 16
The Green Bay Packers made a big offseason splash last summer, signing veteran center Jeff Saturday. In a weak offensive line, the Packers were counting on Saturday to help improve the line. However, after starting all 14 games this season, Saturday will be sitting on the bench this week due to a coach’s decision.
Saturday’s replacement is four-year player Evan Dietrich-Smith and the veteran Saturday calls this a changing of the guard. Saturday has been a starter since 2000 and was only a backup in his rookie year in 1999. With the offensive line still struggling, head coach Mike McCarthy is looking to make some changes for a playoff run. However, even though a change has been made, it was not said whether or not this change is permanent or just a one week thing. There is the possibility that McCarthy just wants to get some of his veterans like Saturday some extra rest before the Packers start their playoff run. McCarthy is known for resting his players just like he did last year in the final week of the season when the Packers already clinched the number one seed in the playoffs.
Saturday is battling with a neck and shoulder injury, but he should be ready to play for this weekend’s game which clearly makes this a coach’s decision. With the Packers facing a struggling team in the Tennessee Titans, this a good time to make a change to see what Dietrich-Smith can do and get quarterback Aaron Rodgers comfortable handling snaps from him. Rodgers has been sacked a league-leading 45 times through 15 games. While all the sacks are not Saturday’s fault, as center he is in charge of calling out blocks and blitzes at the line. The Titans are 18th in the league in sacks with 31 so they do not have one of the best front lines, but this should be a good test for the young center.
This will be Dietrich-Smith’s first start of his career and this is only the seventh game that Saturday has not started since 2000. At the age of 37, Saturday may have lost a step and this could be an indication that he is ready for retirement.
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