Left tackle David Bakhtiari, left guard Elgton Jenkings, and center Corey Linsley are all solidly plugged into their respective spots on the offensive line, solidifying the blindside and middle for Aaron Rodgers. But the right side of that line looks to be much more up in the air going into the Week 1 matchup in Minnesota.
Against the Vikings, who will be without defensive end Danielle Hunter for at least the first three weeks of the season after he was placed on the injury reserve, Rodgers will be looking to pick apart the very inexperienced secondary. And with Harrison Smith being the most experienced DB that the Vikings will throw out there, some big-time passing numbers may be in order.
But Lane Taylor, the plugged-in right guard, and Billy Turner, the plugged-in right tackle that saw time at right guard last season, are listed as the starting options on the team depth chart – two names that should not strike fear into Minnesota at all.
Even with Hunter being out, recent trade acquisition Yannick Ngakoue will be leading the team’s defensive line attack, and he is more than a middling fill-in, so wherever he ends up on the line, the Packers will need to devout more attention to. Odds are that Ngakoue will try and exploit the weaker areas of the GB line, which is any of the two right-side options.
Turner has been facing some injuries in training camp, and he still finds himself on the injury report coming into the first game, so offseason signee Rick Wagner could slot into that RT slot, which would be more of a natural fit. However, Wagner was cut loose from the Detroit Lions for a reason, and obviously the Vikings have plenty of tape on him to show their DL how to exploit him, so there are question marks there too.
The left side of the OL is solid, as the Bakhtiari-Jenkins-Linsley trio is quite stout – the potential of sliding the flexible Jenkins over to the right side to then move one of the bigger OL liabilities to the left side and sandwich him in between Bakhtiari and Linsley is an option. But, Jenkins put together an All-Pro caliber season at LG, and while he moved around a bunch at Mississippi State, he proved that LG is his natural spot and one that he should remain at.
Any two-person combination of Taylor, Turner, and Wagner is formidable enough, but with the injury history that has been a part of all three of these players’ careers, concerns will surround this side of the OL for the entirety of the season.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23