GREEN BAY — The secret to Lane Taylor’s success was simple: Work as hard ever, and not try to be someone he wasn’t.
The approach paid dividends as the Green Bay Packers left guard signed a three-year contract extension Monday.
The deal not only locks him up through the 2020 season, it rewards the quiet grinder who replaced three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton a year ago when the team cut ties with arguably its best offensive lineman at the time — and went with the largely unproven Taylor.
“I didn’t think of it as replacing Josh,” said Taylor, whose extension, according to the NFL Network, is worth $16.5 million, including a $5 million signing bonus and $7.8 million in total 2017 pay. “I didn’t want to be like Josh — not in a bad way — I just wanted to be myself. Play my own game. Don’t try to be something I wasn’t. And just play the best that I could. I wasn’t trying to be a hero or anything. Just do what I can do.”
Taylor wound up delivering with a solid 16-game season in 2016, diffusing a potentially volatile situation after Sitton — extremely popular with his offensive linemates but sometimes seen as abrasive by others — was cut. Had Taylor flopped, the Packers’ once-dominant offensive line could have crumbled. Instead, Taylor — having entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State in 2013, the same year the Packers picked left tackle David Bakhtiari — came through. Bakhtiari signed an extension on the eve of last year’s opener.
“He deserves every penny of it,” said Bakhtiari, who was among the team’s most disappointed players when Sitton was let go. “It’s awesome for him. I know it’s not going to change him and his work ethic. I’m nothing but excited. That means we’re going to be working together for a while.
“I’ll be honest, I’m surprised with how much he was able to progress. I had seen him play, but I never had really gotten to work extremely closely with him. When we worked together and went through our growing pains, to see where he’s come, I’m nothing but proud. It’s amazing. He worked hard for it.”
Added coach Mike McCarthy: “I think any time your players are rewarded financially, that’s a very good day here. He’s done all the right things, he’s earned it the hard way. He was here all summer. I don’t think there was a day that I was here at work that he wasn’t here. He’s earned it. He’s put a lot into this, and I’m very happy for him and his family.”
Adams at practice
Given how cautious the Packers have been with fourth-round pick Vince Biegel following his May foot surgery – the ex-University of Wisconsin outside linebacker opened the season on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he will miss at least the first six games – it was mildly surprising to see rookie third-round pick Montravius Adams on the practice field Monday, just five weeks removed from a foot injury.
Adams, a defensive tackle from Auburn, did drill work during the portion of practice open to reporters, but he admitted afterward that he’s not yet 100 percent. That could mean he’ll land on injured reserve, then be eligible to return after eight weeks, in accordance with the NFL’s new policy. Unlike past years, teams can bring two IR players back later in the year instead of one.
Backup offensive lineman Don Barclay was put on IR Sunday.
“I don’t really get to make that decision, but I think I’ll be ready before eight weeks,” Adams said. “But that isn’t my decision.”
Adams had not practiced since July 28 and still hasn’t taken part in a practice in pads in the NFL.
“I don’t know when I’ll get to do that, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I haven’t been in pads since like the Senior Bowl. It’s been a long time for me, but I’m looking forward to it.”
The Packers are in remarkably good health entering the opener, as the only player from the 53-man roster who didn’t practice Monday was starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who sprained his right ankle in practice on Aug. 23. He said at the time that he did not expect to miss Sunday’s opener against Seattle. … Outside linebacker Clay Matthews (groin), outside linebacker Nick Perry (ankle), defensive lineman Dean Lowry (knee), cornerback Kevin King (groin) and safety Kentrell Brice (shoulder) practiced.