Green Bay Packers: Adam Stenavich Remains an Unsung Hero

Aug 28, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive line coach Adam Stenavich prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 28, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive line coach Adam Stenavich prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

The offensive line can be a forgotten unit in the game of football, especially when you have a Green Bay Packers offense that consists of Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Robert Tonyan.

But despite the game constantly changing and evolving throughout the years, ultimately, football is still won and lost in the trenches.

For the Green Bay Packers, they had the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense in 2020, and they also ranked first by DVOA–that doesn’t happen without their stellar offensive line play.

By several metrics, Green Bay had the best offensive line unit in the NFL last season According to PFF ($$), the Packers gave up the fewest pressures and the second-fewest sacks. They also ranked first in each of ESPN’s run-blocking and pass-blocking win rate metrics.

What makes this feat even more impressive is that the Green Bay offensive line was this dominant even though they battled injuries and position changes over the course of the season.

They were without David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley at times, Lane Taylor — a Week 1 starter — ended up on IR early on, while Billy Turner and Elgton Jenkins played multiple positions, and Rick Wagner along with Jon Runyan filled in off the bench.

First and foremost, this is a credit to the players, but offensive line coach Adam Stenavich deserves his share of praise as well.

"“The versatility is really a credit to the players. But I would say that the teaching that those two guys (Adam Stenavich and Luke Butkus) do is incredible,” said Matt LaFleur last December following another Packers win. They’re great teachers, great communicators, and they put a lot of time and effort into what they do. The players know that. They know that they care about them, and I think that’s why you’re seeing good results.”"

This season, the offensive line has been presented with new challenges. Bakhtiari is on the PUP list to begin the year, Jenkins missed Week 3 with an injury, Lucas Patrick — the Week 1 starter — missed a week’s worth of practice in concussion protocol, and Green Bay has two rookies starting along the interior.

However, once again, with plenty of movement and position changes taking place, the offensive line continues to hold up quite well, all things considered. The 26 pressures given up is the ninth fewest, according to PFF, and the Packers rank 6th in pass-blocking win rate and 11th in the run.

Against a stout San Francisco pass-rush led by Nick Bosa and in a hostile road environment, the Green Bay Packers had four of their five offensive linemen making their first true road starts, and excluding Billy Turner; the other four offensive linemen had five combined starts between them prior to this game.

One of the big storylines was Yosh Nijman making his NFL debut at left tackle, but with a little help, he played a clean game, not allowing a single pressure. As a whole, the offensive line was credited with only giving up one sack and just five total pressures.

While there weren’t any gaudy rushing numbers, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon were able to average an effective 4.0 yards per carry, and Rodgers had the time he needed to carve up the San Francisco secondary.

Once again, credit to the players, but this is a deep offensive line room that GM Brian Gutekunst has put together and one that Stenavich has left his mark on.

Jenkins, Nijman, Royce Newman, Josh Myers, and Jon Runyan were all rookies at some point during Stenavich’s three years in Green Bay as the offensive line coach. Patrick also had his best season in 2020, and Turner has provided stability at right tackle.

It can be easy to forget about the offensive line, especially when they are playing well because they’ll often go unnoticed, and it’s even easier for the offensive line coach to be forgotten. But what the Green Bay Packers have done the last two years, absorbing injuries, shuffling players around, and continuing to play at a high level, is not typical–just take a look around the NFL.

"“Coach Stenavich, along with coach Butkus, they’ve just done such a great job,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said via the Wisconsin State Journal. “I give so much credit to those players, too, (but) it’s just the whole group — how everybody works together and communicates and talks. They’ve just done a good job getting that whole group to be together.”"