GREEN BAY – Jeff Saturday’s veteran presence is already being felt in the Green Bay Packers’ locker room, and not just when the five-time Pro Bowl center plays the straight man while fun-loving guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton
Speaking on Tuesday’s edition of Green & Gold Today, Lang said Saturday already did something in the first offensive line meeting that he’d never seen during his previous three years with the team.
“Last year, there were probably five or six guys in the O-line room whose phone numbers I didn’t have, where I couldn’t call them if I needed something or wanted to tell them something,” Lang explained. “And the first day Jeff got here, he said, ‘Everybody get up on the board, write your phone numbers down.’ So we all have our numbers, we all can get together and do some stuff. I looked at him and said, ‘Wow, I don’t think we’ve ever had anybody do that here.’ That’s pretty awesome, that he shows up and shows that he cares about us already, right off the bat.”
Lang said Saturday, whom the Packers signed to replace departed free-agent center Scott Wells, has some of Wells’ qualities but is a bit looser than the serious, meticulous Wells was.
“Him and Scotty, they have some similar characteristics, but they’re completely different people,” Lang said. “Scotty was more of guy who was very serious about his job. And obviously had a big family, so he was a guy who was still a fun guy, don’t get me wrong … but with Jeff, you can tell it’s a little bit more relaxed with him. He likes to have fun, we’ve been out with him a couple times golfing. He likes to have the team bonding experiences.”
Lang joked that Saturday also serves as the “mediator” when he and Sitton get a bit off-track.
“He’s an older guy, so he’s somebody that can be a father figure to me and Josh when we’re getting out of line,” Lang said with a laugh. “Jeff’s a good guy, he likes having fun, too. Looking at his track record, it’s going to be really exciting to get to play with him.”
Actually, Saturday has been leaning heavily on Lang and Sitton as he learned the Packers’ offense after spending his first 14 NFL seasons in Indianapolis with the Colts.
“I feel a little bit like a rookie. I’m in the book a lot more than I’ve ever been, or at least the since the ‘90s,” Saturday said following last week’s first organized team activity practice that was open to the media and the public. “It’s fun, too. It kind of refreshes you. You get back in the book. You look at different things and you see how different philosophies pick things up in different ways. Obviously I haven’t’ got the whole thing figured out Day 1, so it’s going to take me some time.
“Nothing is transferable. I tell them all the time, my calls were either exactly opposite, but you can’t bring anything from one of the offenses to the other. Everything I’m learning is brand new. The great thing about here is Josh and T.J. both do a great job of communicating, the tackles pass calls along, so we’re going to work as a unit. An offensive line is five guys strong and you need all five contributing, you need all five playing as well as possible and communicating with each other. Hopefully I just add on to that.”
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