Earlier this year, I wrote about how the Green Bay Packers success this year will ride on the play of the offensive line. Now, at 3-5, I still resonate with this take.
Many have pointed fingers at the defense, who have played below its standards of course, or the lack of wide receiver depth in the team, which can also take some blame. Some have even blamed Aaron Rodgers for not playing at an MVP level.
From watching each game during this four-game losing streak, I look at how the offensive line is constantly putting the offense in bad positions. Whether it’s failing to get everyone healthy or moving pieces around, they haven’t been able to figure it out.
If you would’ve told me before the season they were getting David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins back, I would’ve had no concerns with them alongside Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr., and even Royce Newman, who wasn’t horrendous last season. However, there are still issues that are holding the Packers back.
My reasoning for blaming the offensive line over the suboptimal wide receiver room is this: almost every third down the Packers are in, Rodgers is either sacked or pressured into a throwaway. One play that comes to my mind is the first fourth down against the Bills.
On that play, rookie Zach Tom, who was at guard in place of Elgton Jenkins, got bullied into Rodgers lap and an incomplete pass was forced. While Tom had a solid outing at tackle against the Commanders, when Bakhtiari missed the game, he looked lost at guard all game.
Tom is partially innocent as he is simply not a guard, hence his impressive performance at left tackle the week prior. But, that has been part of the problem with the offensive line this year. They have yet to get their five best guys out there.
Before they inserted Yosh Nijman at right tackle, they had Newman and Jenkins on the right side. Even in the win against the Patriots, Jenkins was poor to put it nicely. From that game on, I was begging for Jenkins to move back inside until they finally did it against Washington.
Unfortunately, Bakhtiari missed that game and they didn’t get to see how the five of Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Myers, Runyan, and Nijman work together. The following week against Buffalo failed to yield any better luck as Jenkins was ruled out after trying to give it a go in warmups.
Despite all I’ve said, both the line and the offense as a whole improved in the second half in Buffalo. Whether it be because they committed to the run or that the Bills simply played off, they looked like a true offense for the first time all year.
Hopefully, the injury gods can leave the Packers alone this week and they get their best five out there. To me, this will help the Packers get going and potentially spark a run. There’s disappointment in not getting a wide receiver at the deadline as there is every year as a Packers fan. But, if this offensive line can get back on track, I think packers fans will have a lot to be happy about.