Cory's Corner: Offensive Line Deserves Plenty Of Praise

Great coaching and amazing depth have kept this offense going. 

First, All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari started the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning he would miss the first six games. 

Next, Pro Bowl offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins injured his ankle in the Week 2 Monday nighter vs. Detroit. He hasn’t played in the last two games. 

Added to the mix are Josh Meyers and Royce Newman — two rookies that have started since the season opener in Jacksonville. And another newbie — Yosh Nijman — who made his first career starts at left tackle the last two weeks and had the unenviable task of facing Nick Bosa and T.J. Watt. 

If you had any doubts about the unit that was in charge of protecting a future Hall of Fame quarterback, who is the main reason why the Packers sit 3-1 with eight touchdowns and no picks and a passer rating of 119.44 in the last three weeks, it would be completely understood. 

Obviously offensive line/run game coordinator Adam Stenavich and assistant offensive line coach Luke Butkus had other ideas. 

“Preaching playing with great fundamentals and playing with great effort,” said Stenavich after the 49ers dramatic comeback win in Week 3. “And if we do those things, we’ll give ourselves a chance to be really good.”

That may sound boring, but boring works. Especially when you’re dealing with guys that don’t have a lot of experience. The mechanics are the building blocks as to why a lot of these guys made the pros in the first place and it will be the mechanics that keep them in the league. 

And when it comes to the one player on the offensive line that everyone in that unit looks to emulate right now, it’s easily right tackle Billy Turner. He’s played left guard, right guard, left tackle and now right tackle. He is the model of versatility and a great teammate. 

“He’s such a great example for everybody to look at in terms of how he goes about his business on a daily basis,” said coach Matt LaFleur. “You'll see him … doing the little things in the training room, taking care of his body, because he knows that for guys to go out there and play at the best of their ability they've got to get their body right.”

The results have been amazing. For quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks, Rodgers has only been pressured 36 times, which puts him third behind Joe Burrow and Jimmy Garoppolo. Rodgers’ throwaways are also way down as well as the number of hits that he absorbs as he throws. 

The amount of depth that the Packers have on the offensive line is remarkable, coupled with how well Stenavich and Butkus have dodged the injury punches. 

The offensive line never gets the praise, but it is really the heart and soul of a football team. If a team is doing well, it’s because the offensive line is owning the line of scrimmage and not allowing the defense to get much of a push. 

Meyers may not play this week in Cincinnati with an injured finger, but as we have learned, there’s no reason to be worried. Jenkins may play but don’t be surprised if Stenavich and Butkus unearth another gem from their mechanics stable. 

The Packers may have figured out how to win in San Francisco, but the blueprint starts with the offensive line. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (8)

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Savage57's picture

October 09, 2021 at 07:14 am

Great article, Cory, citing the amazing job all of these young bucks and veterans have done. Coalescing as a unit is one of the hardest choreographies in football. That goes to coaching and assignment savvy players.

Anyone who's ever played in the trenches knows whoever controls the most valuable two yards on a football field for the majority of the game usually emerges victorious.

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Lphill's picture

October 09, 2021 at 07:35 am

Turner has had some solid play but he may be a cap casualty next season especially with the emergence of the younger guys . I have also wondered was Bakhtiari really worth a 100 million dollar contract ?

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PeteK's picture

October 09, 2021 at 09:53 am

It was worth the money as he has played to a high level. It's not fair to criticize the contract during an injury. If his play drops off, there is a cap savings out after 2023. Also, Nijman might be a possibility at RT.

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jont's picture

October 09, 2021 at 08:39 am

Dear Mr. Murphy,

Please pay coaches Stenavich and Butkus more. Don't let them leave.

Sincerely,
A long-time fan

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Since'61's picture

October 09, 2021 at 08:56 am

The OL coaches have been great!!!

If Jenkins is ready to go versus Cincy. I would return him to his LG position, leave Yosh at LT to give him more experience and have Patrick play Center until Myers returns.

We’re only a few games away from Bak’s return and hopefully having our complete starting OL again. GPG!
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Gman1976's picture

October 09, 2021 at 09:32 am

For continuity sake, the coaches may just change the center with either Jenkins or Patrick. It will be fun to see what they do.

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Swisch's picture

October 09, 2021 at 11:34 am

A wonderful surprise as to how well these offensive linemen are playing individually and en bloc.
With all the injuries along the line, it'll be interesting to see if the unit can continue to earn its stripes against the Bengals.

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Handsback's picture

October 09, 2021 at 09:14 pm

Great article about one of the best rebuilt/ next man standing position groups of any NFL team.
Green Bay will go as far as the oline takes them.

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