Taylor Treats NFL Debut Like Child's Play

After a slow adjustment to the speed and skill of full-pads practices, Lane Taylor is "getting better and better," offensive line coach James Campen said on Wednesday. His development is key, both for the team and his growing family.

Lane Taylor became a father and made his move for a roster spot.

Not a bad 29 hours for the rookie guard.

"My wife's water broke Wednesday night after we got let out of here after walkthroughs, and so I rushed home, we rushed to the hospital and then we were there for another 22 hours," Taylor said earlier this week. "And then she finally had the baby at 5:18 on Thursday (evening). I slept there with my newborn daughter and my wife there at the hospital, and then the next morning I came up here to practice and get ready for the game, and I played the game that night."

Taylor was a four-year starting guard at Oklahoma State. He was a unanimous all-Big 12 first-team selection as a senior and didn't allow a sack in his final two seasons, with the Cowboys ranking third nationally in scoring in 2012 and second in 2011.

Despite those credentials, Taylor went undrafted. He chose the Packers among four other offers, he said, based in part on his predraft visit.

Expected to make a push for a roster spot — especially with a team-high $7,000 undrafted signing bonus — Taylor got off to a slow start during the first week of training camp. He hit his stride during the second week of camp, and played well against the Cardinals on Friday night.

"To his credit, he played his butt off," offensive line coach James Campen said on Wednesday. "He played 55 snaps in the game and his daughter was born (the previous) morning. I know he was tired but he did a heck of a job and he has done better in practice. He's playing under his weight (listed at 324) but he's a stout guy that has a strong anchor. He's a 325-pound man that when he gets his hands on you, you have issues.

"He's getting better and better. He was in a similar offense to us his freshman through junior year but his senior year they switched over to that Johnny Manziel (style) offense. He had to change all of that and now he's getting back to the power-type sets. He's progressing well."

Veteran Ryan Pickett has squared off with Taylor on several occasions.

"Lane Taylor's good. He's good," Pickett said. "He came into camp hungry and his play has shown it. He's strong, physical and he's going to go hard every time. He's a pretty good player."

The daily one-on-one pass-protection drill paints an incomplete picture, to be sure. His growth, however, is evident in our unofficial standings. From the start of training camp to the Family Night Scrimmage, Taylor went 7-6. However, he went 8-2 in the week leading to the preseason opener.

"I hate getting beat," Taylor said. "Even when my technique's bad and I do good, I don't even like it. I just want to keep my quarterback clean. That's my job and that's what I'm going to do."

Highlighting Taylor's performance in the game was a pancake block of veteran Frostee Rucker to help James Starks gain 4 yards on third-and-1. In 33 snaps of pass protection, he did not allow a pressure, according to ProFootballFocus.com.

"I feel like I'm starting to really clean up my technique and get fundamentally sound and it's starting to pay off," Taylor said. "You just have to keep plugging at it. You'll get beat – it's the NFL. I keep plugging at it and I'm starting to see some results."

Other than the loser of Don Barclay vs. Marshall Newhouse at right tackle, the battle for the three backup spots on the offensive line is wide open due to the health of Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod and the disappointing development of the other young interior linemen. With Taylor hitting his stride, he's put himself in position to make the roster.

That's a good thing — not only for the Packers but for Taylor, who has a little girl to provide for.

"I have a special little daughter I want the best for," Taylor said of Bryleigh. "She's my little angel."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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