McCarthy Benches Center Jeff Saturday

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Evan Dietrich-Smith would start at center against the Titans on Sunday, Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Moments later at his locker, five-time Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday — who didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday with a neck injury — assured he is healthy enough to play. So, yes, Saturday is being benched with two regular-season games to go.

“As a player, it’s always disappointing whenever someone else goes in front of you,” Saturday said. “It’s a tough thing to deal with but I’m going to deal with it. Here’s the one thing — I can look at my family and I can look at all my players and say, ‘I’ve put the best I can be out there.’ So if that’s not good enough and someone is better, they deserve to play. I’ve always felt like that.”

Last off-season, the Packers opted not to re-sign Scott Wells, who inked a four-year, $24 million deal with the St. Louis. Rather than draft or sign someone younger, Green Bay decided to go with Saturday at $7.75 million over two years. He counts $3.175 million against the cap this season.

On Friday, Saturday took the move in stride. While disappointed, he said he supports Green Bay’s decision.

“Coach McCarthy makes a decision and as a player you’re one guy on the team,” he said. “So whatever decision is made, you support what happens. I’ve got a ton of respect for ‘Dietey.’ He and I have worked together. I think he’ll do a good job.”

Saturday believes he has played well this season, saying “I’ve graded out well. You win 10 games, you win the division. So I’ve got no complaints with that.” As pointed out in Rating the Packers, Saturday has struggled in the run game. When the Packers signed Saturday, they had to be concerned about the tread on the center’s tires, too. He has started more 200 games over 14 seasons.


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