Return of Elgton Jenkins gives stability to Packers offensive line

Elgton Jenkins is back at practice, which is a great thing for the Packers offense.

I was a very happy guy on Sunday afternoon.

Nope - it wasn't because I was super excited for the upcoming work week. It wasn't because I got to watch the Packers play football a couple nights before. It wasn't even because I went on a picnic with my wife earlier that day.

All those things were nice. But none of them held a candle to the feeling of seeing three key Packers players unexpectedly coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Tight end Robert Tonyan, wide receiver Christian Watson and offensive weapon (lineman) Elgton Jenkins all returned to practice on Sunday.

I know that was a few days ago, and it's pretty much old news, but seeing those players (who will all be valuable members of the Packers offense) back on the field was incredibly exciting.

And seeing Jenkins, specifically, back at practice made me breathe a sigh of relief.

It's no secret that one of the position groups that had the most question marks throughout the first couple weeks was the offensive line. Without Jenkins and David Bakhtiari in the fold, the coaching staff was trying out a number of players in different spots in order to find the right combination of guys in the starting group.

Outside of Josh Myers at center and Yosh Nijman at left tackle, the other three spots seemed to be a rotating cast of players getting reps in the No. 1 group. Jake Hanson, Royce Newman, Jon Runyan Jr., and even Zach Tom were getting mixed and matched.

But with the return of Jenkins, one of the best all-around lineman in the NFL who tore his ACL in Week 11 last season, the Packers get some needed stability with their top group up front.

Jenkins was a Pro Bowler at left guard in 2020, and has played center and both tackle positions well at different points throughout his short career.

"It's very exciting," Aaron Rodgers said on Tuesday. "We're watching a walk-through rep, and I'm watching 74, and it's just different. He has such a great feel, and it's wild because he started left guard for us, both tackle spots, center... The guy is a really special player and it's nice to have him back."

On Monday, we caught a glimpse of what the starting offensive line could look like in Week 1. Jenkins opened up at right tackle, Newman was at right guard, Myers at center, Runyan Jr. at left guard and Nijman at left tackle.

I don't know about you, but that's a combination of guys that I feel more confident about.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of camp shakes out with those guys in the trenches.

Go Pack Go.

__________________________

Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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11 points

Comments (17)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
T7Steve's picture

August 17, 2022 at 12:13 pm

Hope 74 starts getting reps soon with the 1s. We need him badly.

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mnbadger's picture

August 17, 2022 at 12:50 pm

Find the perfect balance between repping for game preparedness and rehabbing for season long durability and health. GPG!

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dobber's picture

August 17, 2022 at 02:16 pm

A little under a month to get there? Hopin' that works out.

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BuckyBadger's picture

August 17, 2022 at 12:45 pm

I would like to see him back at his natural LG spot. He is a good tackle and I think can play it just fine but he is a special player at guard. If Bahk doesn't return the Packers might not have much of a choice but to play him at RT.

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dblbogey's picture

August 17, 2022 at 12:45 pm

I hope either Newman is greatly improved, or someone beats him out. He was a weak link last year. Also, whoever made the call not to play Yosh in the playoffs should be fired.

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mnbadger's picture

August 17, 2022 at 12:49 pm

If not fired, at least forced to write an essay about the decision making process. Then post the essay for us fans to absorb.
The decision makers are aware of things we'll never know.
I'd either like to learn something from it or rightfully cast blame/punishment if it was truly a terrible decision.
GPG!

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T7Steve's picture

August 17, 2022 at 01:45 pm

Or made a head coach on another team or made an offensive coordinator on the packers.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 17, 2022 at 05:36 pm

I see what you did here...

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Coldworld's picture

August 17, 2022 at 02:04 pm

Newman actually graded out very well in the final third of the season, both in absolute terms and compared to Runyon, who was good all year. I would greatly have preferred to see Newman just focus on guard in this camp. I hope that won’t stop him continuing where he left off.

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Coldworld's picture

August 17, 2022 at 02:04 pm

Newman actually graded out very well in the final third of the season, both in absolute terms and compared to Runyon, who was good all year. I would greatly have preferred to see Newman just focus on guard in this camp. I hope that won’t stop him continuing where he left off.

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GregC's picture

August 17, 2022 at 09:20 pm

It was probably Matt LaFleur who made that call, no? He's the head coach. I had a sinking feeling when the opening lineups were announced. One good thing: No matter what happens this year, Billy Turner will not be playing left tackle for the Packers in the playoffs.

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LLCHESTY's picture

August 17, 2022 at 10:34 pm

Steno said it was on him during a presser before OTAs I think. Obviously LaFluer agreed with the reasoning.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 17, 2022 at 11:02 pm

Trying to forget about last year entirely because of that decision. Yuck.

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Turophile's picture

August 18, 2022 at 03:49 am

Starting 2022 line up if players are all fit, seems like it is:
Bakhtiari, Runyan, Myers, Newman/Rhyan, Jenkins.

That starting right guard spot probably ends up as Rhyan, but maybe not this year. It will probably be Newman's job until Rhyan passes him ability-wise.

Nijman and Tom make eight OL kept. I'd guess the Packers keep nine there, so is the last spot Hanson ? Possibly, but I don't see him as a long term keeper.

Caleb Jones and Rasheed Walker have the feel of PS candidates. Not sure if Menet and Clary are in the Packers plans for the future - they are trying to jump over Hanson. I just don't know about CVL, if Tom plays C better than Hanson, then maybe Hanson is gone and CVL kept. Lots of moving parts here to shake out.

If pushed to select a final 53 with no if/maybe attachments, it would be:
Bakhtiari, Runyan, Myers, Newman, Jenkins - - - Nijman, Rhyan, Tom, CVL. That should be one of the best OL units in the league.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 17, 2022 at 02:54 pm

I think that he ends up playing on a spot that the team feels to be the weakest link or most vulnerable on the line. As much as I would love to have him return to his LG spot, I agree that he would probably start at RT.

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Rarescope's picture

August 17, 2022 at 04:36 pm

This is a terrible article. It makes no mention of Jordan Love, so no opportunity to use the comments section to talk about what a failure he will surely be :P

In all seriousness though, stoked that Jenkins is back. Not only does he provide stability, but also flexibility. Our oline injuries have been a nightmare the past couple of years. Not that they haven't been able to field a serviceable group, but it's surely been a factor in our playoff performances the past couple years. Here's to 2022 being the year we get to wake up!

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Johnblood27's picture

August 17, 2022 at 05:37 pm

let's not get woke.......

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