Thursday Thoughts: O-Line Shuffle

It’s been quite a week for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Who would’ve thought the man who so capably hosted Jeopardy would be ridiculed by everyone from NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to shock jock Howard Stern just seven months later? For a person who loves to read, Rodgers must’ve missed the quote from legendary writer Mark Twain that opines, it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt. Anyway, here are a few more Packers-related thoughts that ran through my mind recently:

1) David Bakhtiari was activated off the physically unable to perform list earlier this week, and he’s expected to start at left tackle on Sunday. The 5-time All-Pro hasn’t played in a game since injuring his knee last New Year’s Eve. The return of Bakhtiari will allow his fill-in, Elgton Jenkins, to move to either left guard or center. If the goal, as Matt LaFleur always says, is to get the five best players on the field, expect Jenkins to start at center with Jon Runyan at left guard and Lucas Patrick at right guard. That would mean sending struggling rookie Royce Newman to the bench. The line figures to reshuffle again in a few weeks when another rookie, center Josh Myers, returns from IR. At that point, Jenkins would likely move back to left guard, and either Runyan or Patrick would play right guard.

2) As the overanalysis of Jordan Love’s debut continues, not enough has been written about something the young quarterback actually did very well against the Chiefs. The former No. 1 pick gave his team a chance to win by not making mistakes. That’s easier said than done when the quarterback in question is 23 years old and found himself getting hit on a majority of his pass attempts. Love secured the ball in the pocket and when scrambling, and while he was fortunate that a few of his earlier passes weren’t intercepted, he didn’t actually throw a pick until midway through the fourth quarter. In the meantime, Love gave the undermanned Packers a chance to win, and despite his struggles, that very easily could’ve happened had the special teams simply functioned at even a high school level.

3) Green Bay is reportedly interested in adding a big-name wide receiver during the middle of the season (Odell Beckham Jr.), but that’s where the comparisons to what happened with Andre Rison in 1996 need to end. Back then, the team was decimated at the position. Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman were sidelined with serious injuries, leaving Don Beebe, Derrick Mayes, and Terry Mickens at the top of the depth chart. Then-GM Ron Wolf had no choice but to claim the controversial Rison off waivers. Things are much different now. The Packers are four-deep at the position (Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Randall Cobb), and GM Brian Gutekunst doesn’t have to take the risk of adding a volatile personality to the locker room. That doesn’t mean he won’t or he shouldn’t; it just means things aren’t nearly the same as they were about a quarter-century ago.

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Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

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