After receiving a butt-whopping from the New York Jets, the Green Bay Packers now need to seriously consider making significant adjustments to the offensive line, beginning with the right guard position, which is obviously a weak spot. If the Packers want to significantly improve up front and as an offense overall, Royce Newman cannot be the starter, and it appeared on Sunday that Matt LaFleur and Adam Stenavich were willing to acknowledge that reality. Royce Newman was substituted by Jake Hanson during the first half.
According to PFF, against the Jets, Royce Newman gave up a sack and five total pressures. A screen or run-pass option was not used in any of the five pressures, which all occurred in “true pass sets,” or true drop back snaps. Hanson sustained an injury and was unable to return, therefore Newman, who was pulled on the last series of the first half, entered the game for the second half.
The offensive line gave a dismal performance as a whole. In total, Aaron Rodgers took nine hits and was sacked four times. Along with Newman, Elgton Jenkins at right tackle and Jon Runyan at left guard both performed poorly.
When questioned following the game, LaFleur responded that “everything is on the table” regarding the future design of the offensive line. Could a few changes be harmful? For a crucial game on the road in Washington, the Packers have alternatives and a week to prepare the new starting five.
A few things to think about are:
– David Bakhtiari, a left tackle, recently completed a full game (essentially, he was pulled for the final series).
– Jenkins was a guard in the 2020 Pro Bowl and is capable of playing any position along the offensive line.
– With Bakhtiari gaining strength and self-assurance, the Packers now have the chance to use Yosh Nijman more frequently at right tackle. They view him as a starting-caliber player.
– Newcomer Zach Tom has tackle and guard experience and has shown promise as a blocker throughout summer.
– Hanson might be out for a while after suffering a biceps injury against the Jets.
A few options:
– The Packers might switch Jenkins to right guard and Nijman to right tackle.
– The Packers could switch Runyan to right guard, Jenkins to right tackle, and Tom to left guard (where he spent time in camp). Alternately, keep Tom at right guard while keeping Runyan at left guard.
– The Packers might switch Runyan from right guard to left guard (Jenkins’ Pro Bowl position in 2020) and have Nijman play right tackle.
LaFleur was correct when he claimed that until they improve their blocking, the offense won’t improve. The Packers offensive line’s performance on Sunday was the worst in recent memory, especially during the LaFleur era. Nothing else on offense really matters if you routinely lose the line of scrimmage, and Green Bay was crushed up front.
Before the matchup on Sunday, Washington will have a couple extra days of rest and boasts strong defensive front players. In Week 7, the Packers’ offensive line must perform better or a two-game losing streak may easily turn into three.