The Green Bay Packers will take the field Sunday in Detroit with a mixed-matched offensive line. Again.
In many cases, the previous sentence would be cause for alarm, but not in Green Bay.
Starting center Cory Linsley – the top rated center in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus – is on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.
All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari missed three games this season with a rib injury.
Still, Aaron Rodgers has been sacked just 13 times this season. By comparison, Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz has been taken to the turf on 50 occasions.
“They have certainly dealt with that kind of adversity very well,” Packers Hall-of-Famer Larry McCarren tells Wisconsin’s Afternoon News. “Last week we had four different people in spots they don’t normally line-up in.”
Against an Eagles team boasting more sacks than any team in the NFC, Aaron Rodgers was sacked twice (one of which was a scramble for 0 yards) behind an offensive line that included second year pro Elgton Jenkins at center.
“Elgton Jenkins…they hit a home run with him.” McCarren continued. “If it’s important to him, he’ll be a pro-bowl player for ten years…just an amazing young player.”
Jenkins isn’t the only player pressed into duty at a new position. Rick Wagner, Billy Turner and Lucas Patrick have all shuffled up and down the line. Rookie Jon Runyan has also held the fort when called upon.
“I also think you have to credit the coaches, Adam Stenavich and Luke Butkus. They have these guys ready.”
One of the reasons the Packers lead the NFL in scoring, is the offensive line’s ability to keep Aaron Rodgers upright more than any season since 2008. It’s also one of the reasons Rodgers is in the hunt for a third league-MVP award.