Despite having to deal with injuries and some mid-game shuffling, the Green Bay Packers offensive line was impressive against Minnesota.
Although the receiver position dominated the headlines this offseason, one big question entering training camp for the Green Bay Packers was, how is the right side of the offensive line going to hold up?
Billy Turner had an up and down 2019 season at right guard, and a healthy Lane Taylor would be competing with him for starting reps. Then at right tackle, of course, Bryan Bulaga would join the Los Angeles Chargers, and Rick Wagner, who battled injuries and a down 2019 season, was signed to take his place.
As camp progressed, Taylor thrived and looked like one of the better offensive linemen on the field. However, Wagner missed time with an injury, and Turner was ruled out for Week 1. Even almost up to kickoff, not many outside the organization knew who the starting right tackle was going to be, and even against a Danielle Hunter-less Minnesota Vikings team, that was worrisome.
Green Bay would end up rolling with Lucas Patrick at left guard, Taylor at right guard, and Elgton Jenkins at right tackle. The unit looked very good early, and Jenkins looked like a natural at the right tackle position. However, injuries and musical chairs would ensue.
Patrick would have to leave the game with a shoulder injury, and Taylor was carted off with a knee injury. So all of a sudden, Jenkins was moved back to left tackle, Wagner came off the bench to play right tackle, and sixth-round rookie Jon Runyan took over at right guard.
Needless to say, this could have been disastrous for Green Bay, especially that right side, but for the most part, they dominated the Viking defensive front.
Wagner – who I’ve had my doubts about – stepped in for 46 total snaps, including 24 pass-blocking attempts, and didn’t allow a sack or pressure, and he wasn’t called for a penalty either. And keep in mind, this came against Yannick Ngakoue, who is considered by many, one of the better pass-rushers in the league.
Meanwhile, Runyan, who had been practicing at left guard and hadn’t even run with the first team in any 11-on-11 drills this summer, also didn’t allow a sack or pressure in his eight pass-blocking attempts.
And yes, as you’d expect, David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, and Elgton Jenkins were all very good.
Overall, Aaron Rodgers wasn’t sacked once, and the only pressure allowed by his offensive line was given up by Patrick. Rodgers also had big pockets to throw from, and on most occasions, plenty of time. Of those five offensive linemen, according to the Pro Football Focus grading system (subscription required), Jenkins had the lowest grade with a 70.1, which is an above-average grade.
Before the Green Bay Packers take on the Detroit Lions, they’ll have some potential reconfiguring to do once again. Both Patrick and Turner could be back for Sunday’s game, and Matt LaFleur will have to decide if he wants to start Jenkins again at right tackle or go with Wagner this time.
However, before we start looking ahead to Week 2, let’s make sure we acknowledge how impressive this performance was by the Packer offensive line, especially with all of the injuries and movement that has taken place recently.