Aaron Rodgers’ first season as the Packers starting quarterback was in 2008 and the starting interior lineman were 3rd year LG Daryn Colledge, 5th year Center Scott Wells and 3rd year RG Jason Spitz.
In 2011, we saw the additions of TJ Lang (3rd year LG) and Josh Sitton (4th year RG) into the starting lineup, playing together for the first time. Shortly thereafter, in 2014, the Packers drafted a rookie Center from Ohio State named Corey Linsley. Add the starting tackles from that 2014 team into the mix (Bakhtiari, Bulaga) and Green Bay probably had the most dominant offensive line in the NFL.
Not to mention, a real fun-loving group of 300 pound, beer-drinkin’ men in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
8 years later, most of the players are different but the expectations remain high. The Packers have done a very good job with their offensive line through the Rodgers era, despite the inevitable in-season injuries and poor performances that naturally occur over 14 seasons. Heading into 2022, the Packers should be optimistic towards their OL while recognizing the questions and challenges.
The Packers went marching into Jacksonville last September with Lucas Patrick (LG), Josh Myers (C) and Royce Newman (RG) as their opening day interior lineman. They concluded the season with Jon Runyan (LG), Josh Myers (C) and Lucas Patrick (RG) as the starters.
With Lucas Patrick signing with the Chicago Bears in free-agency, that opens the door for Newman, who started 16 games as a rookie for the Packers at RG last season, to re-capture his starting spot in which he lost late last season. Newman, a 2021 4th round pick from Ole Miss, played in 97% of offensive snaps in an up and down rookie campaign. Heading into Year 2, he looks to take another step forward in his development.
“(I) don’t have to worry about where I’m going like when I first got here,” Newman said. “I can just play faster. I had an offseason to get stronger. The mental game is evolved where I can play faster.”
A stronger and faster-playing Newman would go a long way in helping him secure a starting spot over rookies Sean Rhyan and Zach Tom, who were selected by the Packers in the 3rd and 4th rounds of the 2022 draft.
Another player forging along into his sophomore season is Josh Myers, the Packers 2nd round pick in 2021. Like Corey Linsley in 2014, the former Ohio State Center earned the starting spot for Green Bay to open the season last year and was effective when on the field. According to Pro Football Focus, Myers did not give up a sack and allowed just one quarterback hit in the 7 games he played in. He missed the other 11 games due to a torn MCL, a tibial plateau fracture and an infected broken finger.
“(I) learned a lot about myself, how to battle back”, Myers said after the 2021 season.
Myers, who didn’t miss a game in college, is recovered and ready to roll in 2022. Aaron Rodgers trusts him and the Packers Center, who turns 24 today, is fully expected to be Green Bay’s starter at the position come Week 1.
“I like his disposition, I like his steadiness. He wants to do it right and he learns from his mistakes”, Rodgers said of Myers.
At Left Guard, it’ll be 3rd year player Jon Runyan who likely starts for Green Bay when they take the field in Minnesota on opening day. Similar to Newman, Runyan started 16 games for the Packers last season and played in 94% of offensive snaps. The 2020, 6th round pick and son of 14 year NFL veteran Jon Runyan has come a long way in two seasons and at only 24 years old, continues to build on his solid foundation. Runyan is putting in extra work too, as he was one of 4 Packers players with 2+ years experience to attend the final session of voluntary OTA’s (Rashan Gary, Mason Crosby and Pat O’Donnell were the others).
Heading into the upcoming season, the current trio of Runyan (LG), Myers (C) and Newman (RG) are the youngest starting interior lineman group Aaron Rodgers has played with in his career. While it remains to be seen if Newman is able to retain his starting position, the core group of lineman the Packers have built along with Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins (recovering from injury) and mainstay All-Pro David Bakhtiari (also recovering from injury) could be one of the best groups of players Green Bay has had at the position. Tack on the potential of rookies Tom and Rhyan, in addition to the ascending talent of Tackle Yosh Nijman and the Packers have a group of lineman who should be mainstays for years to come.——————
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a Packers guy. Alex\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.