Since 2000, Jeff Saturday has been Payton Manning’s center. It was always Saturday calling out the Colts’ blocking assignments, and the tandem worked together to produce one of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen.
Those days are over. According to Adam Schefter, Jeff Saturday has signed with the Green Bay Packers, a move that surprises many around the league including yours truly. It was assumed by many, if not most, that Saturday would once again join up with Peyton Manning in Denver.
Saturday will move into Scott Wells’ former position as the Packers starting center. Wells signed with the St. Louis Rams a week ago leaving a big void in the middle of the Green Bay Packers’ line.
Bringing in Jeff Saturday is one of the best things the Packers could have done to fill that void. Saturday isn’t the best blocker in the league, and he doesn’t have the quickest feet in the NFL, but he makes up for it with his decision making. Peyton Manning rarely saw significant pressure in his time with the Colts. A lightning fast release and quick decision making helped, but Jeff Saturday was also a big part of keeping the throwing lanes open for Manning.
The Packers are also gaining one of the most durable linemen in the league. Since becoming the Colts starting center in 2000, Jeff Saturday never missed a game, playing in all of the Colts’ 142 regular season contests. The Colts made it clear that Saturday would not continue playing for the Colts following the 2011 season. They’re busy trying to rebuild their roster, starting with the foundation. Their loss is the Packers’ reward.