The Packers Offensive Line Carousel is one to keep an eye on as the Green Bay Packers head into a home game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. In last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers did not play their two starting tackles in Elgton Jenkins and David Bahktiari due to their knee injuries. David Bahktiari, who has had no less than three knee surgeries since New Year’s Eve of 2020, still has not been back full time. Elgton Jenkins, who injured his knee last season, was not ready to go in Week One, either. So what does this mean for the Packers offensive line on Sunday Night?
Friday’s injury report, not surprisingly, has Elgton Jenkins, David Bahktiari, and Jon Runyan as questionable for Sunday. Jenkins has the better chance of playing between him and Bahktiari considering he was a full participant in Friday’s practice. Jon Runyan, with a concussion, was a limited participant in Friday’s practice and could be ready to go by Sunday Night seeing that he was released to practice.
Because of the injuries heading into last week’s contest, Matt LaFleur said he was going to play the best starting five possible against the Vikings and that ended up being Yosh Nijman at Left Tackle, Jon Runyan at Left Guard, Josh Myers at Center, Jake Hanson at Right Guard, and Royce Newman at Right Tackle. This starting line was not the best. Aaron Rodgers faced what seemed like constant pressure and was hit a lot in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Jon Runyan did not finish the game due to a concussion and was replaced by Zach Tom who looked great. So, with the offensive line looking the way it did in last week’s game and with the current injuries in the group, what will this week’s starting offensive line look like? We could be in for a surprise.
“It’ll be interesting to who lines up as our starting o-line. We’ll find out Sunday. It’ll be a fun surprise for everyone.” – Packers Offensive Coordinator Adam Stenavich
If David Bahktiari is not back (not likely that he will be but maybe), then expect Yosh Nijman to continue to hold down the fort at Left Tackle. He has proven to do well at that position so I would not expect that to change. The other position that seems like a lock on the offensive line is the center position manned by Josh Myers.
The Left Guard position was Jon Runyan’s prior to receiving a concussion against the Vikings. If he is ready to go, then this should still be his position to keep. With Right Guard, there are some questions particularly with the play of Jake Hanson. Jake Hanson struggled against the Vikings pass rush and let up a ton of pressure. This could still be Hanson’s spot but if Jon Runyon can play then maybe the Packers will start rookie Zach Tom instead. Tom looked fantastic in the preseason and against the Vikings in Week One.
At Right Tackle, the Packers started Royce Newman, who did not look all that great in Week One, but maybe the Packers might look to start someone else such as rookie Rasheed Walker if Elgton Jenkins cannot go.
The Packers currently have eleven offensive linemen on their 53-man roster and will have to start five of them. Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff need to put out the best starting five available. Who do they believe that is? Well, I guess we’ll find out Sunday Night against the Bears. Let’s hope they choose the best because if they don’t, it’ll be another long day for Aaron Rodgers and this Packers offense.——————
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.