There were many great performances by individual Green Bay Packers players in their 27-10 victory over the Chicago Bears. Aaron Jones had 170 total yards and two touchdowns. Sammy Watkins had three receptions for 93 yards. Preston Smith had two sacks and led the team in tackles. Jaire Alexander iced the game with an interception. Of course, Aaron Rodgers was his usual brilliant self against the team that he owns. However, there are some players whose contributions do not show up in stat sheets: offensive linemen. Last night, Elgton Jenkins made his return to the field after tearing his ACL in Week 11 last season. Also last night, Matt LaFleur stated he does not think the Packers win the game without Jenkins on the field. He reiterated that praise today.
Matt Lafleur on Elgton Jenkins:
"I said it last night and I'll say it again, I don't know if we win that football game without Elgton Jenkins."
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) September 19, 2022
Coach LaFleur’s full press conference can be seen in the Tweet below:
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 19, 2022
The Packers Offensive Line Was Improved, but not Great
Obviously, the return of Elgton Jenkins to the starting right tackle spot was a much needed boost. Aaron Rodgers navigated the pocket with more comfort and trust. However, he was still sacked three times. One of those times was on a play in which Jenkins got beat.
— Bearlissimo (@Bearlissimo1) September 19, 2022
The other two sacks were given up by Yosh Nijman, who was starting at left tackle. In addition, center Josh Myers had a brain fart and snapped the ball too early leading to a fumble.
In Week One against Minnesota and again against the Chicago Bears, it is obvious that Yosh Nijman is not the answer at left tackle. Myers will not make that mistake again, and the Packers do not need to worry about him. However, Nijman has a history of struggling with top pass rushers. It is no coincidence that most of the Packers’ big plays were to the right side of the field, away from Nijman.
The Packers Options in Week Three
Of course, the big question is whether or not David Bakhtiari will be healthy enough to play in Week Three against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If he is, Nijman will revert to a swing tackle, a role he is perfectly suited for. If he is not, might the Packers move Jenkins to left tackle, as they did last season? It is certainly an option, but that, too, comes with its drawbacks. Jenkins played well, but showed some rust. Is he entirely ready to protect Aaron Rodgers’ blindside if need be? And if the Packers feel he is, who starts at right tackle? Nijman? Zach Tom?
These are questions that will become clearer as the week progresses. The best case scenario is that Bakhtiari is healthy enough to play. In this case, the Packers starting offensive line, from left to right, would be Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Royce Newman, and Elgton Jenkins. If he isn’t, the Packers may need to get creative.