Cory's Corner: Take Back The Line Of Scrimmage

Green Bay's offensive line has been very underwhelming this season, which is why change is necessary. 

Sunday’s game isn’t hard to decipher. 

When you boil it down, tackle football is a simple game. You block, run, catch, pass and tackle. If you cannot block, you cannot do anything on offense. And if you think that’s an oversimplification, take a look at the Packers. 

Aaron Rodgers has been under pressure on 54 of his dropbacks and has allowed 18 sacks. To make matters worse, the Packers are only converting 38.36 percent of their third downs — good for 19th in the league and well below last year’s 43.46 percent.

At the start of the season, the two spots that didn’t need any worrying were at offensive line and on defense. According to Pro Football Focus, the Packers finished the 2020 season ranked as the No. 2 offensive line in the league and No. 14 in 2021. 

The Packers have used three different offensive line starting combinations. The last four weeks the offensive line has been the same with David Bakhtiari at left tackle, Jon Runyan at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Royce Newman at right guard and Elgton Jenkins at right tackle. 

Consistency is always a huge advantage on the offensive line but Rodgers isn’t going to last through a season with a unit that is ranked 20th in pass-block win rate. Even with 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young still recovering from a torn ACL, the Commanders defensive line has been very good. 

“When you decide you want to make a change, you make the change and kind of stick with it, because it’s not going to be perfect right away,” said Packers offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich. “The first day of practice, if it doesn’t look great, you can’t just scrap it, you know what I mean? You got to say alright, this is what we’re doing.”

Basically, Stenavich is saying that he doesn’t want to start musical chairs on the offensive line. Maybe Jenkins isn’t yet right coming back from a torn ACL he suffered in Week 11 last year. How bad has he been? Coming into his fourth pro season this year, he has given up three sacks. But in 2022 he has already tallied two. 

So we can talk about shiny new trade assets or more offensive touches for various people, but none of that chatter really matters if the offensive line doesn’t improve real fast. Rodgers is being pressured 25.2 percent of the time and his average time in the pocket is under 2.50 seconds. 

In order for Green Bay’s offense to actually have a heartbeat, the Packers must block and take back the line of scrimmage. 
 

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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 (37)

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Renllaw's picture

October 22, 2022 at 07:02 am

Adam Stenavich. “The first day of practice, if it doesn’t look great, you can’t just scrap it, you know what I mean? You got to say alright, this is what we’re doing.”

Man I love Stenavich... But this quote is a bad take. If a guy cant play, the starting lineup on an NFL team with playoff goals just isn't where you stand pat. Jake Hanson and Royce Newman are not cutting it. Josh Myers is barely cutting it. We need better to help cover up the rust on Jenkins and Bahk.

You have a proven starting tackle on the bench. You have the preseasons best rookie on the bench.

Move Jenkins to center. Insert Yosh at RT. Insert Tom at G. Cant be worse then whats happening now.

Don't want to trust a rookie on the line? Then move Jenkins to G and And Yosh at RT.

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Coldworld's picture

October 22, 2022 at 08:42 am

“The first day of practice, if it doesn’t look great, you can’t just scrap it, you know what I mean? You got to say alright, this is what we’re doing.”

Odd take from a man who did exactly that In the last championship game. Im starting to wonder if he isn’t a guy who is an excellent technical coach who has grave issues once given wider tactical authority.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 22, 2022 at 12:25 pm

That was EXACTLY my take. Steno and ML defended musical chairs on the OL before the SF playoff game. They said "experience" was the deciding factor to move Turner to LG where he rarely ever played and the lumbering, stiff Kelly to RT. I believe this was one of the major reasons for the Playoff loss in LAMBEAU.

Steno could defend OL changes based on performance and available, unused talent...but NOW he urges caution?

Good grief.

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packerbackerjim's picture

October 22, 2022 at 10:04 am

I agree with moving Jenkins to C. Apparently Nijman can’t play RT or it would have already happened. C. Jones is big enough to provide run blocking which is what the offensive game plans need to prioritize. This OL is a real shitshow created by the failure to address the situation from coaches all the way to Gute.

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Coldworld's picture

October 22, 2022 at 10:46 am

Nijman has been covering Bakh, but if Bakh can largely play complete games, he now should be moved and another back up
Readied in case of need. Probably overdue this week.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 22, 2022 at 11:58 am

Not a ringing endorsement from this guy.

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brenner's picture

October 22, 2022 at 11:44 pm

Why not move Myers to RG and put Jenkins at c if Myers isn't the answer there?

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Handsback's picture

October 22, 2022 at 07:25 am

Biggest dysfunctional group in the Packers team. Coaching, injuries, not enough sleep, whatever it is the offense is going nowhere until they play as a unit.
Frankly, lucky to be 3-3 right now.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 22, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Packers are much closer to being 0-6 than 6-0.

Agree, they are incredibly fortunate to be 3-3 defeating the bares, banged up Bucs, and 3rd string QB Pats.

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NickPerry's picture

October 22, 2022 at 07:44 am

In last week's game, they showed a play where Newman turned to his left and let a free man run right past him on his right between himself and Jenkins. Whether it's a blitz or a stunt, Newman has issues picking it up. He's regressed from last season and that's pretty bad.

Jenkins pass blocking grade on PPF is 59.4 and Newman's is 51.1. That's not going to cut it. My hope this past week was Steno would spend LOTS of time in the O-Line room and hopefully make some changes. I mean Damn, you pulled Newman because he sucks so bad and replaced him with Hanson. That tells me Butkus doesn't have a clue what he's doing. I mean putting in the one O-Linemen who is worse than Newman? Hell, Hanson was getting beat by guys in the preseason who are selling insurance right now, out of football. What in the hell did Butkus and/or MLF think would happen when Hanson came in?

Butkus is this year's Mo Drayton. Mo was in WAY over his head last season and we all saw it week after week. Then when it mattered the most, GAVE the game away in the playoffs. Blocked FG, blocked punt for a TD in a 10-7 game. I don't know how much more LaFleur, Steno, and Butkus need to see, but if they don't make changes very quickly the season is over. It ALL starts up front. Maybe changes will help, maybe not. But you have to at least try.

8 points
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Since'61's picture

October 22, 2022 at 08:00 am

Totally agree Nick. If the Packers don’t make changes this week the entire coaching staff needs to go. They have no excuse not to get Jenkins back to LG, Runyon to TG and Nijman to RT this week against a weak opponent. Reset the OL now and give them a week to get ready for the Bills.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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NickPerry's picture

October 22, 2022 at 08:36 am

I'm right there with you Since '61. Move Jenkins inside to either of the Guard positions and Yosh at RT. CLEARLY, the O-line as constructed now isn't working. If there are no changes this week it could get bad quickly.

Next week against the Bills if they trot out the same 5 who have been playing, it will be a bloodbath. Like you said, make the changes and give them a week before Buffalo.

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jlc1's picture

October 22, 2022 at 11:29 am

The only thing to disagree with here is it "could" get bad "quickly". It is already bad and seems to have happened quickly. But maybe not quickly at all. This team is a hair's breadth away from being 1 - 5. So they have been getting worser and worser, so to speak. I cannot imagine a coach in this league who would not be excited to play this team and scheme against these coaches. Commanders by 11.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 22, 2022 at 12:01 pm

The coaches have to be innovators, not enablers...

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NickPerry's picture

October 22, 2022 at 12:20 pm

James I don't always agree with you but I'm in 100% agreement with you on this comment.

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Guam's picture

October 22, 2022 at 08:48 am

Unfortunately NP, it wasn't just one play, it was a half dozen where Newman slid too quickly out of his gap to help a teammate and created an open path for a free rusher on QB1. The thing I can't figure out is why Newman isn't learning to hold a beat and look around before he slides out of his gap. I played RG in high school more than 50 years ago and my high school coach beat into us the need to look before we vacated a gap. The old adage is "if someone is leaving, someone else is coming".

Newman is not physically overmatched in the pros - when he goes one-on-one with an opposing D-lineman he holds up as well as any other Packer linemen. However his inability to learn to hold a gap is killing him and the Packer offense. Until he makes that mental adjustment, he needs to sit.

I suspect Butkus is as disbelieving as I am and has been waiting for Newman to learn the simple art of not abandoning your gap prematurely. Unfortunately Newman appears to be an exceptionally slow learner. Butkus needs to learn too and sitting Newman may be the best incentive for him to change his errant ways. It is time.

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NickPerry's picture

October 22, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Sigh...You're right Guam, it is more than just the one play I pointed out. I like your coaches adage... Someone will be coming, especially in the NFL. Teams are now taking advantage of it and have been for a while yet the Packers coaching staff does NOTHING about it.

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stockholder's picture

October 22, 2022 at 07:52 am

Fire Adam! Rodgers has had it with this OL. Quote," Hike the ball when I tell you too". The musical chairs were obvious from game 1. And so was his frustration. Obviously the packers are too soft. And that goes back to the pre-season. He challenges everyone on the team. And when you blow him off. Stress management doesn't work in the NFL now. He's not in Denial. But when the adjustments don't work. A loss; usually is the result. Something he knows about, after every season ending game.
I'm all for trades when you have a MVP Qb! WHY; can't Gutey get him what he NEEDS. The major need is a OL now.
It's not about the future. And Rodger's will never stand for being called a loser. Dinking around will only get him hurt.
If they're not here to win. They shouldn't be here!

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 22, 2022 at 12:08 pm

The Silo gang best get a trade in the works on Monday. If not, you know they were never all-in to Win.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 22, 2022 at 08:53 am

I want to ask you one question. How do you get 5 people to play as group?

Answer I have is to play them together for as long as you can. You have preseason to evaluate candidates. Starting the training camp, you need to have answers who will play in the group and who can be replacements for each of the group. Preseason games you should use to force the group to gel.

I understand that EJ and Bakh was more or less unknown if they will be available. But both of them played long together on left side, so you do not have the problem with them. They already gelled in the past and comeback to familiar positions should be faster and much easier. So, what you need to do? Find the best combo for the right side of the line. Two players that should develop mutual understanding and become team on that side. It was too late to do that with Newman and EJ. They had first game together in week one. They play as isolated islands, not knowing what other will do and what to expect.

Second, it looks like Bakh have less problem with rust than EJ. It should be expected. Why? Because EJ never played significant snaps on the right side. Ans muscle memory is tricky thing. In game speed muscle reacts by memory, and act as the memory tells them. If you need to think what to do, you already let pass rusher pass behind you. That is what happens with EJ. It is not rust. It is EJ fighting against his own muscles. Bakh need just to let his memory emerge out and he can play.

So, my suggestion is to try available player who can play RT as he trained to. Walker, despite experience he hasn't. Give him the chance.

RG - I'll try Runyan, despite he played whole season on the left side. He played RG in the past. Also, it is easier to switch possitions inside than on tackle position. But, if that does not work play next best OL. Zach Tom.

That is how I see the situation. If Walker would not be that good, Packers may try Nyman as RT, but I'm convinced Walker should play better at that position.

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Coldworld's picture

October 22, 2022 at 08:57 am

I’m not going to argue that the O Line does not need affirmative action to be fixed, but I do think too many are missing the other half of the picture.

The way our O has been run is perfectly designed to allow opponents to exert the maximum pressure in both the run and pass games and opponents know it, whether they blitz or just overload. In my mind, this is the chicken that laid the egg that is the exposure we see now.

As a lesser extra point, Newman’s struggles are but the worst of a line that is all below par. Part if that is the aforementioned pressure invited, but they also aren’t in synch. What I see is a number of problems.

The reinsertion of Hanson also suggests issues with personnel evaluation over personal projects and an unwillingness to try other options. As many know, I’ve got doubts about Tom being ready. However, how unready would he have to be to be worse than Hanson? Why isn’t Walker considered for some snaps at RT? I’m starting to wonder if this is all part of the problem bringing on Rhyan. You can’t get much worse than Hanson has shown himself to be.

To me the root cause is LaFleurs’ terribly cautious O exacerbating pressure continually further inflamed by increasingly questionable personnel and perhaps fundamental coaching that is making everyone worse as well.

I don’t believe we get better significantly till LaFleur changes his O to stretch the field for defenders. Based on this week he seems to be oblivious to the need to do more than “execute better”, by which he means players. I’d say the execution is worse at the coaching level! I don’t expect much more than a little more Jones and LaFleur seems to be pinning his hopes on Watkins. Watkins was hardly a savior before he went down.

I’m starting to wonder if we get significantly better with Butkus and maybe no OC to give Stenavich perspective. He’s probably complicit in both the fatally flawed O and Butkus’ performance. No head coach should be blind to these types of serial issues and mistakes.

There’s no excuse at this point for this not to have been addressed beyond more than words. There are myriad signs that the entire offensive philosophy is self defeating and even then dysfunctionally coached at all levels. If ever there was a team with all the signs of leadership entropy, this one is it.

2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

October 22, 2022 at 09:15 am

Who thinks we should trade a third-round pick and Amari Rodgers for Steelers WR Chase Claypool? He’d be cheap, and considering our past success of third round picks, it’d actually put ours in 2023 to good use.

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

October 22, 2022 at 09:55 am

Chase Claypool is a basket case and hes soft. He doesnt use his size to his advantage at all. And the Steelers already announced they want a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounder which is absolutely insane for a receiver who has never reached 1000 yards. Hard pass for me. This team is more than a receiver away anyways.

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wildbill's picture

October 22, 2022 at 04:31 pm

What makes you think that anyone in their right mind would trade for Amari?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 23, 2022 at 05:08 am

I know that you specified a 3rd rounder, but if GB parts with a highish pick or picks, I'd like an offensive linemen. Sigh, I suppose that might take a few weeks to integrate even an experienced OG into the lineup.

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Coldworld's picture

October 23, 2022 at 08:45 am

Suppose one did that and got a good one. That doesn’t fix this O as currently designed. Cobb, Lazard and Watkins aren’t going to get it done, even if they stay healthy enough that 2 of the three are active at any one time. To succeed, this team needed to gamble in its rookies and integrate them in a planned way from OTAs. We had no such plan it is now clear. Our plan was to win with Watkins when we couldn’t with Adams essentially.

I am strongly opposed to spending draft capital just to get us a worse pick. We have put a large enough milestone around our future cap already. Unless any acquisitions give us a credible chance to get to the super bowl, we just hurt our future without saving a flawed campaign.

We need to accept that we have to look to the future at this point. This era is ending. Pretending otherwise just risks making that worse by mortgaging the future further and papering over the reasons that it ended in famine. I see no way a G alone changes that.

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Ritzy's picture

October 22, 2022 at 09:16 am

you take Royce Newman, we should take Paul Newman or Edwin Newman. At least they knew what they were doing. Seriously get Royce out of there. I can't stand watching Rodgers running for his life or taking a sack on third down. Putting Jenkins back at guard should be a no brainer.

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

October 22, 2022 at 09:50 am

Ok so everyone knows the pass blocking is weak. Can anyone answer why this team continues throwing 40 times a game knowing that the pass blocking is weak? Is this not the very definition of insanity? Yes, the blocking needs to improve. Thats the low hanging fruit that anyone can see. But can we maybe stop putting the oline in a position to constantly fail by being completely one sided to the pass? Can we maybe stay balanced which has already proven to work and is the only way this team has won games this year? Can they maybe start giving help with chip blocks and the occassional double team? Or are we just gonna keep throwing 40 yard passes repeatedly and expect it to work while 12 keeps getting killed in the pocket? This isnt rocket science. If something isnt working, find a different way to do it or do something else entirely. People completely underrate how hard it is to come out and pass block 40+ times a game. Pass rushers are ridiculous in this league and everyteam has them. You must stay balanced. If you just line up and pass play after play after play, these guys are just gonna pin their ears back and come after the qb.

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Guam's picture

October 22, 2022 at 10:17 am

Point well taken R_T_S. I think the question behind the pass orientation is who is responsible - LaFleur or Rodgers? They certainly seem to be at odds (sometimes publicly) over parts of the offense. I have the feeling that Rodgers is the guy calling the shots in this offense and he is unwilling to learn anything new at this late juncture in his career. Don't know that for a fact, but it would certainly explain why so many components of LaFleur's (Shanahan's) offense (motion, running more, jet sweeps) don't seem very much in evidence.

I don't think this changes until Rodgers retires.

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

October 22, 2022 at 05:18 pm

I think youre right. And im not waiting anymore which is why im switching my allegiance to the Patriots. A team where chain of command and players doing their damn jobs is everything. In done being expected to be a Rodgers zealot. Screw Rodgers, screw Murphy, screw the board of directors who only care about jersey and ticket sales. Im done. I'm gonna go root for a team that wants to win and actually knows how to do it. Ive given this team enough of my money, time, and energy. The days of team football are gone and theyre never coming back. Peace ya'll.

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13TimeChamps's picture

October 22, 2022 at 10:24 am

"Can anyone answer why this team continues throwing 40 times a game"
"People completely underrate how hard it is to come out and pass block 40+ times a game."

GB has averaged 34.8 pass attempts per game this year, hardly 40+. They've actually attempted 40+ exactly once...41 against the Jets.

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

October 22, 2022 at 05:15 pm

Theyre averaging 38 passes in their 3 losses and 31 passes in their 3 wins. Are you really trying to argue semantics? When this team runs, they win. When they dont run they lose. Its that simple.

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13TimeChamps's picture

October 22, 2022 at 05:43 pm

Semantics? You're claiming they regularly pass 40+ times a game. That's not true.

They beat the terrible Bears, the Pats with a 3rd string QB and the Bucs missing their top 3 receivers. But lets pretend it's because they throw 40+ times a game.

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Fubared's picture

October 22, 2022 at 11:14 am

One issue I have that they don't discuss much. If your trying to be a run team you must spend the little time you have in practice practicing run blocking. Thus, unless I'm mistaken, your pass blocking wont be stellar due to the above. If you try to be both 50/50 run pass your kind of going to be avg at both it would seem. Kind of what I'm seeing with the Pack.

To me the issue is lack of time to do both due to union contract rules that have cut practice time way down. One would think, you only have time to really practice one or the other and if you try both, neither skill set will develop fully. Seems the teams I'm seeing that have good passing games tend to also have good blocking o lines as well. They cant all be lucky to have the best o linemen as well? Logic would say it comes down to the fact they practiced one thing and do it well.

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 22, 2022 at 11:32 am

Improve the Pass blocking or the run blocking?

Perhaps the answer lies simply in the talent of the players and their inability to perform one or either to an above average grade. Perhaps the issue is the Illusion of Complexity scheme that eludes them and the coaching staff, utmost and foremost.

It seems that every opponent's Defense knows what rabbit is being pulled from the MLF Hat of Illusion, except the Packer Offense.

5 points
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wildbill's picture

October 22, 2022 at 04:33 pm

The elephant in the room

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Since'61's picture

October 22, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Both the Packers OL and DL must take back the LOS. In addition to the OL being a hot mess, the DL
Has not been effective in the second half of the last 2 games. They need to play more aggressively and hold the point of attack. Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
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