Last week when speaking with the media, offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said that Green Bay Packers center Josh Myers was playing the best football of his career—a statement that left many scratching their heads.
Then on Wednesday, GM Brian Gutekunst echoed similar sentiments, and praised the offensive line unit as a whole for their play up to this point in the season.
"“They’ve done a nice job pass blocking,” said Gutekunst. “We haven’t gotten our run game going as good as we’ve wanted to. There’s been some injuries there as well. But some young players, Rasheed came in there and did a nice job for us. Josh Myers is playing the best football since he’s been here. He’s playing very, very well.“It’s good to have Elgton back out there on a full-time basis. He was working through some things for a couple games there. They’ve done a nice job and they’ve got to continue to improve like the rest of the offense, but they’ve done a nice job.”"
Of course, the General Manager isn’t going stand in front of the media and berate a player or a position group. However, the numbers so far this season tell a very different story when it comes to the play of the offensive line. Through seven games, the Green Bay run game is averaging only 3.8 yards per rush, while Jordan Love has been pressured on the fourth-most dropbacks during the previous four games, according to PFF.
In the midst of a number of unknowns, the offensive line was supposed to be one of the strengths that this inexperienced Packers’ offense leaned on this season. But instead, this group has been wildly inconsistent, which has had a negative trickle-down effect to the rest of the offense.
But I digress. With Myers specifically, Stenavich was asked this Thursday to elaborate on what he meant when he said Myers was playing his best football.
"“From a locker room standpoint,” said Stenavich, “he’s really taken a big leadership role in the offensive line. As a center, that’s a very, very important thing. He’s done a really good job getting the table set, the calls, all that stuff. Him and Jordan working together, you can see they have a really good relationship, communication, things like that.“From a leadership standpoint, that’s been awesome. Then on the field, he’s playing with good physicality. He’s moving really well. Doing a better job in pass pro, using his hands, and playing in good phase. He’s going a good job.”"
A lot of the praise that Stenavich has for Myers has to do with his contributions to this team off the field and pre-snap. On a unit with so much youth, Myers has stepped into a leadership role and is working well with Love, a first-time starting quarterback. There is absolutely value in that relationship and the continuity that has developed between the two.
Pre-snap, as the center, Myers is the signal caller—identifying what the defense is doing, communicating that to the rest of the line, and trying to make sure that everyone around him is assignment sound.
In pass protection, Myers has allowed 10 pressures this season, which ranks around the middle of the pack among centers. In PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency metric, he ranks 13th out of 38 eligible centers. The issue for Myers has come in the run game, where he ranks 37th out of 40 centers in run-blocking grade, and when he misses an assignment or a block, he really misses.
Generally, the numbers don’t always tell the entire story for a player, but in this instance, they seem to reflect Myers’ play fairly well. He’s been okay in pass protection and really struggled as a run-blocker. For a defense, the quickest way to destroy any play is with quick pressure up the middle—as we’ve seen.
Improved play for the offense starts with the play up front—a run game to rely on and consistent time for Love would do him wonders. Although the offensive line has had their struggles, other than there being some competition at left tackle, it doesn’t sound like there will be any other changes made to the Packers offensive line. Zach Tom has played well at right tackle, and internally, the Packers think quite highly of how Myers has performed.