The Green Bay Packers were obliterated by the Detroit Lions 34-20 on Thursday night in what was the poorest game played by both the offense and defense all season long. One of the most glaring weaknesses that was exposed during the loss was the lack of quality depth on the offensive line. Once believed to be one of the Packers’ biggest strengths (PFF even ranked Green Bay’s offensive line as the NFL’s best going into the game), the combination of backups and second-tier starters were a big reason why the Packers lost.
All game long, the Packers’ offensive line was overpowered by the Lions’ defensive front. While Detroit has a stout front seven, the Green Bay pass blocking is supposed to be better. However, as PFF’s pass blocking grades for the game showed, it was their biggest weakness.
The 5 Green Bay Packers Starting on the Offensive Line Were PFF’s Lowest Graded Pass Blockers
According to PFF, the Packers’ top five pass blockers on Thursday night were:
- AJ Dillon (79.1)
- Josiah Deguara (74.0)
- Tucker Kraft (73.1)
- Ben Sims (71.5)
- Luke Musgrave (70.2)
Any grade above a 70 is considered to be above average. Considering the fact that Kraft, Sims, and Musgrave are all rookies, their being on this list is quite impressive. Additionally, whoever is in playing tight end needs to be able to protect Love well.
Unfortunately, none of the players list above are offensive linemen, whose primary job it is to protect the quarterback. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the Packers’ starting offensive linemen were the the worst five pass blockers against the Lions on Thursday night:
- Royce Newman (42.5)
- Jon Runyan (49.2)
- Zach Tom (59.8)
- Josh Myers (62.7)
- Rasheed Walker (68.6)
The positive takeaway from these grades is that, at the very least, Green Bay has a suitable replacement for David Bakhtiari in Walker. It should also be noted that Tom was playing on one good leg after injuring his knee against the New Orleans Saints. Typically, Tom is graded as Green Bay’s best offensive lineman.
Where Do Jordan Love and the Passing Game Go From Here?
The good news is that the Packers do not play again until October 9, a Monday night football game against the Las Vegas Raiders. After that game, they have their Bye Week. In other words, now is the time for injured players to get healthy.
Of course, Bakhtiari will not be back any time soon, if ever. Therefore, it is easy to assume that Walker will be the starting left tackle for the remainder of the season. Walker and a healthy Tom are good tackles, both of whom were drafted by Brian Gutekunst last year. Along with fellow 2022 NFL Draft picks Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, they will be part of a great young foundation on offense that will thrive in Green Bay for years to come.
Elgton Jenkins, who missed his second straight game with a sprained MCL that he suffered against the Atlanta Falcons, is not expected to be out for much longer. Since the Packers are notoriously conservative with injuries, it is likely he will not play against Las Vegas but will return after the bye.
Once Jenkins returns, their line will be, from left to right, Walker, Jenkins, Myers, Runyan, Tom. Aside from missing Bakhtiari, that is their same offensive line from Week One.
In other words, the quality of play can only go up as guys get healthy. The problem, however, is that both Myers and Runyan have been underperforming all year. Walker and Jenkins are more than capable of holding down the left side, but the right guard and center positions are glaring weaknesses.