You see that guy on the right? ——>>>>
That’s new Packers center Jeff Saturday. He used to play center for the Colts and snap the ball to Peyton Manning. He was a free agent this offseason and the Packers signed him. Now he’s snapping the ball to Aaron Rodgers.
What’s that? Can you repeat your question? You don’t know what a free agent is?
Oh yes, I’m sorry. You’re a Packers fan and you are not familiar with the term free agent. I know we went over this when Saturday signed, but here’s a refresher:
A free agent is a player who is eligible to sign with any club or franchise, i.e. not under contract to any specific team. The Packers rarely sign free agents, so Packers fans sometimes forget what a free agent actually is and need to be reminded.
Anyway, training camp is now well underway. Most Packers fans are focused on the defense, mainly how the secondary is going to shape up and how the pass rush is looking. There’s also a lot of discussion about the Packers depth at WR and, of course, a lot of attention on Aaron Rodgers because he’s the best player in the league.
Not much attention has been paid to Saturday. And that’s fine. Typically, the less you hear about offensive linemen, the better.
But I think it’d be worth your time to at least keep one eye on Saturday. It’s nice to have rookies like Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy on the team — and both will be very important to the Packers — but Saturday is the most important new player on the roster.
Replacing a pro-bowler is never easy, but that’s what Saturday has to do. Scott Wells played center for the Packers last season and did a damn fine job. He’s gone now, and Saturday was brought in to fill his shoes.
Because of Wells’ leadership in making the offensive line calls, and because of his pass blocking skills, few teams got pressure on Rodgers up the middle. Pressure up the middle is one of the few things that can disrupt this juggernaut of a Packers offense.
Defensive coordinators these days like to try and hide their blitzes, to try and confuse guys like Wells and Saturday so blitzes go unnoticed and large men come flying through the middle of the line with intentions to do harm to Rodgers.
It is now Saturday’s job to prevent that from happening.
Saturday is an ex-pro bowler himself, a five-time pro bowler actually. He’s a proven player. But he’s also old. Old guys tend to get hurt, and they tend to lose their skills quickly.
So far, there’s no evidence of either injury or major regression happening to Saturday. So far, based on what we haven’t heard, all appears to be well at the center position and the transition to Saturday has been seamless.
But keep an eye on the old veteran. Don’t worry about him, just keep an eye on him. If (and it’s a big if) something does happen to Saturday, the Packers don’t have much behind him (unless you’re a big fan of Evan Dietrich-Smith).
Enjoy watching Perry try to help out Clay Matthews. Dig in and analyze who you think will win the Royal Rumble in the secondary. Oooh and aaah at the many spectacular plays made by Rodgers and the wide receivers.
But keep an eye on Saturday. He’s going to be very important to the Packers this season.