Green Bay Packers OL Faces Tough Test v. Bears

Green Bay Packers center Josh Myers (71) participates in organized team activities with the offensive line Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.Cent02 7g8ov2g8w2qjnxgi71c Original
Green Bay Packers center Josh Myers (71) participates in organized team activities with the offensive line Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.Cent02 7g8ov2g8w2qjnxgi71c Original /

Movement, positional changes, and injuries. That has been the story of the Green Bay Packers offensive line this season.

They, of course, began the year with David Bakhtiari on the PUP list, but they’ve also been without Elgton Jenkins the last few weeks with Yosh Nijman taking his place.

Lucas Patrick began the season at left guard but missed practice time following Week 1 due to a concussion. Jon Runyan would start in his place Week 2 and has started there since.

But that’s not all, rookie center Josh Myers has been battling a finger injury this season and was held out of Sunday’s game against Cincinnati with Patrick then taking over for him at center.

Royce Newman and Billy Turner have been the constants along the offensive line this season while the left side has undergone several changes.

Yet despite these changes, for the most part, the Green Bay Packers offensive line has held up well, all things considered.

Although the Green Bay run game hasn’t really put up gaudy numbers, averaging 4.0 yards per rush this season, outside of the Cincinnati game they have been effective enough, and at the very least, have made opposing defenses respect their ability to run the ball—this has a positive effect on the rest of the offense.

I wouldn’t categorize the rushing attack as great by any means, but it’s done enough to help this offense put up points. Since Week 2, Green Bay is averaging 28.3 points per game, which would rank in the top-10 if we excluded Week 1.

The Packers offensive line has been much more proficient in pass protection, however, ranking 10th in terms of fewest pressures allowed, according to PFF ($$), and third in pass-block win rate per ESPN.

More often than not, Aaron Rodgers has had the time he needs to go through his reads and extend plays if needed.

Green Bay has also had to go up against some very good defensive fronts in recent weeks, but they will face their toughest test on Sunday when they take on the Chicago Bears.

The Bears lead the NFL in total sacks and are second in pressure rate. They are also allowing just 3.9 yards per rush, which ranks eighth. As a whole, Chicago’s defense is giving up just 20.0 points per game—the seventh fewest in football.

Establishing and sticking with the run game — even if it doesn’t always lead to huge gains — is crucial to the success of this Green Bay offense. We’ve seen how quickly things can go south when this offense becomes one-dimensional.

Leaning on the run game and finding success also helps open up the passing game, allows the Packer offense to control the clock, and can limit the impact of the opposing pass rush. To put it simply, the entire offense benefits.

In addition to the importance of the run game, as we all know, the name of the game for the Green Bay Packers is keeping Rodgers clean and upright in the pocket, which is especially true this season.

According to PFF, Rodgers completion rate when under pressure of 36.8 percent ranks 30th out of 34 eligible quarterbacks. His 4.8 yards per attempt ranks 29th, and his 31.0 passer rating ranks 34th. Rodgers also has two interceptions.

Some good news is that both Myers and Jenkins were back at practice on Wednesday. Myers was a full participant while Jenkins was limited, but nonetheless, that’s a positive to see him on the practice field.

Even if Jenkins and Myers are back, this is still going to be a difficult test for this Green Bay Packers offensive line, but having these two available will go a long ways in determining who wins this game.

As is oftentimes the case, the battle in the trenches is likely going to determine the winner of this contest.