Quick thoughts on Packers position groups: Questions along the interior offensive line?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27: Jon Runyan #76 and Josh Myers #71 of the Green Bay Packers in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27: Jon Runyan #76 and Josh Myers #71 of the Green Bay Packers in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

As one part of my training camp preview, I have been examining each of the Green Bay Packers position groups as they currently stand on the 90-man roster.

In this series, I have been taking a closer look at each position, specifically sharing my thoughts on what I’ve both seen and heard during the open practices throughout OTAs and minicamp. I’ll also discuss my expectations within the position groups, questions I still have, and just about anything else that is on my mind.

Up next is the interior offensive line. If you’ve missed any of the previous articles in this series, you can find them below.


Running back

Tight ends 

Offensive tackle

Current roster: DJ Scaife, Jake Hanson, Josh Myers, Chuck Filiaga, Jon Runyan, Elgton Jenkins, Royce Newman, and Sean Rhyan

– Once Elgton Jenkins moved back to left guard last season, he once again was playing at a very high level. Once moving back there in Week 7, Jenkins was one of only three guards to allow fewer than five pressures, according to PFF.

– There is a good amount of experience along the interior for the Packers, but also some uncertainty. Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said prior to OTAs that we would see Zach Tom taking snaps at right guard and center, in addition to offensive tackle. Through the offseason programs, any snaps that Tom did take at right guard or center were with the second and third-team offenses. Josh Myers and Jon Runyan were still the starters.

– Both Myers and Runyan held their own in pass protection for the most part, but one reason why the Packers may be willing to add Tom to that mix is because of how each fared as run blockers. Aaron Jones would average 5.2 yards per carry for the season but just 3.5 yards per attempt when running between Myers and Runyan. AJ Dillon would also average only 3.5 yards per carry when running between them as well.

– In addition to run blocking, another area where the interior, specifically Myers and Runyan, can improve is with their communication and how they handle stunts and blitzes from opposing defenses.

– As I mentioned when discussing the offensive tackles, my guess right now is that Tom is the starting right tackle to begin the season. He played well there last season, and until I see otherwise, I’ll give Myers and Runyan the benefit of the doubt. Ultimately, Tom is one of the best five offensive linemen that the Packers have, and the decision on where he plays will be determined by where there is the largest talent gap, more so than where his best fit might be. Offensive line play is very much the sum of the parts is greater than any one individual.

– Royce Newman has come under a lot of heat from fans, but I fully expect him to be on this team. He has a lot of qualities that the Packers covet. Newman is experienced, starting nearly his entire rookie season. Although it’s not ideal that he plays tackle, he has the ability to, and during OTAs and minicamp, he was firmly planted at left guard with the second-team offense.

– I do not, however, see Jake Hanson making his way onto the final roster again, even though the coaching staff does really like him. The one game in 2022 where he saw significant playing time was in Week 1 against Minnesota where he gave up four pressures. Hanson was still sidelined during the open practice sessions after being placed on IR last season. Right now, I have him, at best, as the sixth interior lineman on this team behind Jenkins, Myers, Runyan, Newman, and Rhyan. There just isn’t enough roster space.

– We’ve seen the Packers move on rather quickly from third-round picks Amari Rodgers and Jace Sternberger, but my guess prior to training camp is that Rhyan is given the benefit of the doubt after a horrendous rookie season, where he was often a healthy scratch on game days before being suspended for PEDs. With that said, he is going to have to perform well this summer, or he very much becomes a cut candidate. In addition to playing guard, Rhyan has taken snaps at center as well.

– There is a lot of depth at the tackle position but not so much along the interior–or at least not from an experience standpoint. After the starters of Jenkins, Myers, and Runyan, Newman is the only other player with any significant playing time. Another reason why my guess right now is that Rhyan and his draft pedigree get another opportunity.

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– I made a similar point when discussing the offensive tackles, but I’m going to say it again here–any sort of success the Packers offense may have begins with the offensive line play. Green Bay needs a run game to lean on to help set up play-action and to put them in manageable second and third-down situations. Falling into long down and distances with a young quarterback and skill position players is not a recipe for success. It also goes without saying, but if Jordan Love doesn’t have time in the pocket regularly, I can’t imagine things are going to end well. A big contributor to the offense’s struggles last season was due to the injuries along the offensive line through the first half of the season.