After Sunday’s 34-31 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on the road, there’s plenty of things I could’ve chose to write about. Not all of them are positive.
The defense surrendered over 400 yards, the Packers offense played uninspired for much of the second half and Marques Valdes-Scantling’s fumble in overtime had me laying face-down on the couch for about 10 minutes.
However, there were plenty of positives to take away from the game, and I’ve been trying to be a positive vibes only kind of guy lately.
The biggest positive for me that’s gone mostly unnoticed until Sunday was how good second-year offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins has been. His versatility has allowed him to play almost every one of the positions on the offensive line without the offense missing a beat as a whole.
On Sunday, when Corey Linsley went down with a back injury, Jenkins stepped up and slid over to play center for the remainder of the game. And, for the most part, he played very well.
At the start of the year, when tackle Rick Wagner was returning from an injury in training camp, and Billy Turner was out for the first couple games, it was Jenkins who stepped in to play tackle. He played so well that he had some Packers’ fans and beat-writers questioning if Jenkins’ future was at tackle.
Now, after Sunday’s game, those same fans and beat writers are wondering if he’s the future at the center position – especially since Linsley will be a free agent soon, and he’ll likely ask for a good chunk of change. Also, it appears that rookie guard Jon Runyan Jr. has been taking the right steps at maybe becoming a starter in the future.
While I won’t get into the what-ifs and the scenarios for the future, I will commend Jenkins for what he’s done all season long.
On the offensive line, versatility is something that not every player possesses. In fact, it can take months or years for a player to feel comfortable at one position, let alone two or three.
The player has to understand the playbook as a whole, and the responsibility of every position before a coach even thinks about moving the player around. On top of that, the player has to be athletic and talented enough to do the simple things, like switching your stance and how your pass sets, run blocks and aiming points change at each position.
In only his second year, Jenkins has done it effortlessly.
“The fact that he can go anywhere on the offensive line is absolutely incredible,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. “I’ve never been around somebody like that, that has that ability.”
That’s high praise from a head coach.——————
Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.