Aaron Rodgers has learned over the years that he doesn’t really need to worry about the offensive line, especially this time of the year. The Green Bay Packers quarterback remains confident in the status of the offensive line and is excited about where it could go once everyone is healthy. Rodgers said he likes the personnel and trusts the coaching staff, including Adam Stenavich, who was promoted from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator.
“I like where the line is at. They are very well coached. Now our offensive lien coach from last year is the offensive coordinator,” Rodgers said during minicamp. “Every time you look at the line during training camp you’re thinking, ‘Who is going to be the No. 5, who is going to be the No. 10?’ And then you get into the season and you have guys playing who you may not have expected to play well and they are out there balling. I don’t really worry about that group over the years. They’ve been coached so well. And they’ve played pretty damn well over the years too.”
The Packers lost starters Billy Turner and Lucas Patrick this offseason, challenging the depth of the group, but the biggest question marks surrounding the offensive line are likely injury-related. David Bakhtiari missed all but one game last season while enduring several setbacks in his recovery from an ACL injury. Elgton Jenkins, who replaced Bakhtiari at left tackle, tore his ACL in Week 11. Both worked with the rehab group throughout minicamp.
Even without the pair, and adding the caveat that offseason practices aren’t in pads, Rodgers said the group looked strong during camp. And it would only get better once everyone is healthy. “It looks pretty good right now,” Rodgers said of the offensive line. “You put 69 and Elgton back, that’s a real good offensive line, I think. So we feel good about it.” Improvement from young players will also be vital. Josh Myers is entering Year 2 as the starting center, while Royce Newman could start again at right guard after playing 16 games there as a rookie.
Rodgers specifically mentioned Newman as looking heavier and possibly better prepared to play guard in 2022. “Royce looks heavier,” Rodgers said. “His belly got a little bigger, but that might make him a better right guard. And he played a ton of football for us.” Newman will have to beat out several young players, including third-round pick Sean Rhyan and fourth-round pick Zach Tom.
Bakhtiari’s status might be the biggest storyline entering training camp. He’ll be roughly 20 months post-injury by the start of camp. The Packers need him back at left tackle. Rodgers said Bakhtiari is “working really hard” to get back and he remains hopeful that Bakhtiari will be “full go” by the start of camp.
In theory, an offensive line featuring Bakhtiari at left tackle, Jon Runyan at left guard, Myers at center, Newman or one of the rookies at right guard and Jenkins at right tackle could be one of the best in football. “If we get 69 back and Elgton back, that’s a pretty damn good line I think.”