Guards Part of Reason Saturday Joined Packers

In an exclusive interview that's the basis for a lengthy feature in Packer Report Magazine, Packer Report talked to new center Jeff Saturday. While most observers assumed Saturday would follow Peyton Manning to Denver, Saturday had several reasons why he chose Green Bay.

When all the football world assumed Jeff Saturday would follow Peyton Manning to Denver, the five-time Pro Bowl center signed with Green Bay because of T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton.

"When I came here, I just felt like this was the best fit for me," Saturday, who signed with Green Bay on March 23, told Packer Report in an exclusive interview on Monday that is the basis for a lengthy feature in Packer Report Magazine. "It fits my lifestyle, my family. I have kids who are entering middle school and I was looking for an area that fit everything, from my family to football, and I felt like this was the best place by far. They've got two great guards — that was something I was looking for. They've got a good offensive line. Their offense was No. 1 in the league last year and it's been at the top the past few years. You like going into a team that has the ability to win a bunch of football games."

Sitton and Lang are equal parts class clowns and no-nonsense performers. They've spent plenty of time getting Saturday acclimated to the offense.

"Both of those guys are very smart guys. They've been a big help," Saturday said. "They obviously have a great grasp of the offense and what they need to do, and they do a good job of communicating. The fit's been pretty good being between two guys who know the offense as well as those guys do."

While there are some broad-brush similarities between the Packers' and Colts' offenses, Saturday called the schemes "night and day" different. That means plenty of conversations with Lang, Sitton and offensive line coach James Campen so Saturday can have the offense running smoothly for the start of organized team activities the week of March 21.

"There's no carryover from what I've done the last 13 years to now," Saturday said. "This is a completely new system. The philosophy and everything is completely different, but I'm excited about the challenge. It's exciting to go back and hit the books and study and have to relearn a little bit of offensive football."

After spending most of his career thinking in unison with Manning, working with Aaron Rodgers held obvious appeal.

"Going from one MVP of the league to another, I think I've done pretty well," Saturday said. "I've been very fortunate to play with quarterbacks who were leaders in the game and take care of their business on the field, so I'm excited to work with Rodgers. He's been a good guy to get to know already, and I'm looking forward to playing with him throughout the season."

While the no-huddle hasn't been a starting point of Green Bay's offense like it was in Indianapolis, it's a big part of coach Mike McCarthy's game plan. Saturday likes how that up-tempo approach challenges a defense physically and mentally.

On top of that, so much of Green Bay's offensive success started with the synergy between Rodgers and Pro Bowl center Scott Wells and their ability to outwit opposing defenses at the line of scrimmage. It was the same story in Indianapolis, where Manning's line-of-scrimmage brilliance wouldn't have been possible if not for Saturday's ability to get his linemates on the same page in a matter of seconds.

Saturday appreciates the freedom and responsibility allowed by McCarthy. The word made Saturday laugh, but playing any other style would have been "boring."

"When you get accustomed to that, going back to a normal just-line-up-in-the-huddle-type thing, it's definitely not as challenging," he said. "I enjoy the challenge of the game. I enjoy what it does to the defensive players. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense to be able to stay at the line of scrimmage or make all of their adjustments and that chess match that goes back and forth between the offense and defense. That's a fun thing for me to be a part of and I've always enjoyed that part of the game, and it's no different here. It's exciting to watch how these guys make changes and adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Every one of those guys up front know what they're doing and it's fun to watch it."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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