is that is that After a few injuries in Sunday’s game, the Green Bay Packers lack some depth at defensive tackle and offensive tackle. Perhaps Gutey should give Jared Veldheer or Snacks Harrison a call.
The Green Bay Packers cruised to a relatively stress-free victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1; however, it came with some significant injuries. First, Lucas Patrick would leave with a shoulder injury, then Kenny Clark left the game with a groin injury, and Lane Taylor was carted off because of his knee.
At the time of me writing this, we don’t know the severity of Patrick’s and Clark’s injuries, but Taylor’s sounds like it could be season-ending.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that the offensive line still held up well, despite having to play musical chairs. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t sacked once, and he had plenty of nice pockets to throw from, but without Patrick or Taylor, depth is a real concern. Then when it comes to the run defense, well, they can’t get by without Clark.
All offseason, many fans have been waiting for the Green Bay Packers to sign either Jared Veldheer, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, or perhaps both. And while obviously, it hasn’t happened yet, now would be a great time to make one of those moves.
At guard, the Packers have Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan – we don’t know whether or not Billy Turner will be back for Week 2 – while at tackle, they have David Bakhtiari, Rick Wagner, Yosh Nijman, and potentially Turner. However, Nijman has zero regular-season snaps, so I can’t say that I’d be feeling great if he had to take the field.
Of course, Veldheer – who by all accounts appears ready to go if Green Bay calls him – was a midseason addition in 2019 who ended up playing some important snaps for the Packers. Between Weeks 17 against Detroit and the NFC Divisional Round against Seattle, Veldheer was on the field for 58 pass-blocking snaps and didn’t allow a single sack, hit, or pressure. He also wasn’t called for a penalty either.
Even if Veldheer doesn’t come in and start right away, he gives the Packers a solid backup if needed. And considering that Wagner has only played all 16 games just one time since 2014, chances are Veldheer will be needed.
Meanwhile, on the defensive line, given that the Vikings were playing from behind for much of the day, they didn’t post ridiculous rushing numbers by any means, but Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison did average 5.5 yards per carry. Also, I’m sure we all remember how much the Packers struggled against the run last season.
Enter Snacks Harrison, who certainly isn’t going to replace Clark, but is someone who can provide this run defense with some reinforcements. By Pro Football Focus’ Run-Stop percentage metric (subscription required), which measures the rate at which a player makes a tackle that results in a loss for the offense, Harrison ranked 11th among all interior defensive linemen in 2019. Before that? He ranked first from 2014 to 2018, and second in 2013.
Recently on this Twitter account, Harrison would confirm that the Green Bay Packers did reach out to him, but didn’t disclose why the two teams couldn’t come to an agreement. Perhaps if Green Bay reaches out this time, things will be different.
While the Packers don’t have a ton of cap space available – $9.67 million according to Ken Ingalls – signing either Veldheer or Harrison isn’t going to break the bank, and it provides them with some much-needed depth at two positions that are currently lacking in that department. And while I’d certainly love both players in Green Bay, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen. Heck, odds are they may not sign either.
This offseason, GM Brian Gutekunst, has shown that he is very confident in the players already on the team, and everyone should be incredibly thrilled with yesterday’s performance against Minnesota. However, as we all know, it’s a long NFL season, and at two positions now, the Packers lack depth with two viable options still available in free agency.
Maybe now is the time to try to bring in Jared Veldheer or Snacks Harrison.