The Green Bay Packers are reeling after their 24-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. That defeat dropped the team to 2-5 on the season and any chance of a playoff run looks less than bleak. Nonetheless, the front office and coaching staff will continue to make changes to the roster in an attempt to salvage the season.
One of those changes will reportedly come this week and it is along the offensive line.
The Green Bay Packers Benched OL Rasheed Walker And Will Likely Keep Him There
Justis Mosqueda of SB Nation highlighted the situation regarding Walker:
Since Week 2, Walker has been receiving nods at left tackle, despite some up-and-down play. Over his first two starts of the season, the Packers’ pass protection played about as well as you could possibly expect.
Then came the matchup against the Detroit Lions in Week 4, which seems to have been a tipping point for the unit. Since then, the 2023 Packers offensive line has looked nothing like the groups of the past, allowing consistent pressure from just about every individual on the line of scrimmage.
Many wondered if the recent three-game slide would eventually push Nijman back into the starting lineup going into last Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Instead, Walker was the starter at left tackle again — but he only played 18 snaps, as he was benched for Nijman in-game.
Many will point to Walker having an illegal man downfield penalty on the first drive of the game as one reason why Walker was sent to the bench, but that penalty was not his fault. It was a run-pass option play where quarterback Jordan Love was supposed to get the ball out quickly if he were to pass the ball.
The problem? No receiver ran a route, which led to a scramble drill while the offensive line was simultaneously asked to run block in case Love handed the ball off to a back.
Instead, it was the play above — a sack that Walker allowed — that led to the switch. Despite having “chip help” from running back AJ Dillon, who lined up in a wing position on the play, Walker was unable to protect Love from a sack via the Vikings’ “wide-9” defender. Walker finished out the drive before Nijman was inserted into the lineup.
At the moment, the Packers haven’t said one way or another if it will be Walker or Nijman starting at left tackle against the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday. All we can point to is this play, really the only “mess up” Walker was allowed to make against the Vikings, as the straw that broke the camel’s back — at least in that particular matchup.
Below is the aforementioned play that may have cost Walker his job:
— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) November 2, 2023
What To Expect Along The Packers’ Offensive Line Going Forward
It was expected that this young offense could lean on the Packers’ offensive line play in 2023. Sadly, that hasn’t always been the case this year.
The Green Bay Packers rank 21st in the NFL in yards per rushJordan Love’s multiple long runs to that number.
In terms of evaluating a player’s performance, PFF’s grades aren’t the end-all be-all, but it’s worth noting that out of 124 interior linemen, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, and Jon Runyan – who will all have to face Donald at some point – rank 93rd, 111th, and 109th, respectively, in run-blocking.
Consistently making changes along the offensive line isn’t always the most effective recipe for success, however, in a year where you are trying to find better play it may be necessary.
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