In 2020, Aaron Rodgers was clearly on fire.
The 37-year-old quarterback led the Green Bay Packers to another 13-3 season and a second consecutive NFC Championship game. He also led the league in touchdown passes and QBR.
But we know all of that.
What we also know that maybe received less attention is just how good the Packers offensive line was. They kept Rodgers upright, as he was sacked less than ever before during the fall.
Players like left tackle David Bakhtiari, guard Elgton Jenkins and center Corey Linsley played a large part in that success. Billy Turner, Lucas Patrick, Jon Runyan Jr. and Rick Wagner all played well for the most part also.
However, the organization let Linsley walk in free agency and cut Wagner. Two of the key pieces in 2020 will no longer be on the field for the Packers in 2021.
Who will the Packers turn to?
That remains to be seen, obviously. But I think there’s one player that will be interesting to watch during training camp and preseason: Jenkins.
Jenkins, the usual starter at left guard, filled in nicely at the beginning of the year at tackle, which led many fans to believe that he might be the answer at the tackle position in the future.
Then, later in the year, when Linsley had back issues and was forced to miss time, Jenkins stepped up and played well again. This, again, caused many to believe he was the answer for that position too.
Now, with Linsley gone, I think it will be interesting to watch where head coach Matt LaFleur and offensive line coach Adam Stenavich initially play him come training camp.
It’s obvious that he can play any position, but what is the one that best gives the Packers success?
Patrick has played at the center position in the past, but when Linsley went down, it was Jenkins who filled in.
Jenkins’ best position on the offensive line is at guard. I’ll be interested to see if the Packers will try to give Patrick more snaps in the offseason and at the beginning of training camp so he can get settled into the role.
Runyan and some young guys will also get more opportunities as well.
Whatever happens, I think Jenkins is the most important key to the offensive line continuing its success in 2021.——————
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.