You’ve seen all the stories the last few weeks about the Green Bay Packers. The Jordan Love columns, the Aaron Jones features, and the various tidbits about the young offensive weapons. But what about the big guys up front? What about the men in the trenches ensuring those weapons have the time and space to make those big plays? Without the growth of the offensive line this season, I don’t think the Packers would even be sniffing where they are today.

When this season kicked off, everything wasn’t exactly chipper for the offensive line. David Bakhtiari had a re-aggravation of his knee injury that has kept him out most of the last few seasons landing him on IR. Center Josh Myers was struggling, Guard Jon Runyan’s starting job was being threatened, and Bakhtiari’s replacement, Rasheed Walker, was off to a rough start. While the Packers stuck with Myers, Walker and Runyan had their jobs threatened by Yosh Nijman and Sean Rhyan respectively. At the same time, pass protection was shaky, the running game wasn’t the same, and the Packers were losing.

During a rough 6-game stretch with a 1-5 record from late September to mid-November, Jordan Love was being sacked an average of almost three times per game. He was also barely managing 230 yards through the air. The rushing game was also struggling to muster 100 yards per game and was almost ineffective.

But all of a sudden, everything just clicked.

Finding their bearings

As if something was just added to the water in the locker room, the offensive line began imposing their will. Rasheed Walker had fought off the challenge of Yosh Nijman and had become a mainstay at Jordan Love’s blindside. Walker began shutting down some of the best pass rushers of the league and most recently, completely stifled the Cowboys’ star pass rusher, Micah Parsons. Parsons only made two tackles in the game and got in one hit on Jordan Love. A hit that honestly should’ve earned a flag as it was fairly late.

Josh Myers and Jon Runyan are suddenly forces in the middle and outside of them, Zach Tom and Elgton Jenkins continue to have their way with any defenders that get in front of them. Of course, it doesn’t hurt having Aaron Jones back at full strength when you look at this team’s recent success, but even Jones would have to admit that the line has given him lanes to run big enough to drive a truck through. These last four games, Jones has averaged 119 rushing yards per game, at 5.6 yards per carry. Now I’m not a football mastermind or anything, but if one of your running backs are averaging 5.6 yards per carry on 20+ carries per game, there’s a good chance you’re winning the game.

I can’t tell you exactly what has changed this season to fuel this turnaround. But I can say, belief in those around you can go a long way.

Playing for each other

A sound byte from the playoff game vs Dallas was released Thursday of Elgton Jenkins looking at Jordan Love on the sidelines and saying, “What the f*ck was that?” to which Love responded, “I don’t even know” and Jenkins, shocked, said “Oh my God.” They were talking about Love’s touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs just before where Love, off his back foot on a bootleg just suddenly flicked it to Doubs in the endzone between two defenders. A pass that normally would be very difficult, Love just made look like child’s play.

This line knows what they have in Jordan Love. They know what they have in Aaron Jones. They know that these receivers and tight ends are going to make plays if they give them the opportunity. So, they play their best every snap to make sure those guys can make the plays they can.

If you’re an offensive lineman, you know you’re not likely to be the one carrying the ball into the endzone. You’re not going to be the guy they feature in the Monday morning highlight reel. In fact, you don’t even have a stat sheet outside of how many penalties you’ve taken, or sacks, hits, and pressures you’ve allowed. A good game for you, is when no one is talking about you.

The offensive line’s victories come in the form of their Quarterback staying upright to throw that ridiculous touchdown pass. Or their running backs running right passed them into the secondary. The average fan doesn’t recognize their position. In fact, most football video games until the mid-90s never even mentioned a lineman’s name! But they’re possibly some of the most important members of the offense on that field. And with this fan, they will never be forgotten.

Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.