Packers offensive line update: David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins on track to return vs. Bears – Sporting News

  • September 18, 2022

Aaron Rodgers had a bad day last Sunday against the Vikings, there’s no way around that. But it looks as if he’ll be getting some reinforcements for Week 2 as the Packers host the Bears on “Sunday Night Football.”
Offensive linemen David Bakhtiari (knee) and Elgton Jenkins (knee) practiced during the week and appear to be on track to play Sunday, which should give Rodgers more protection up front. Although fill-in Yosh Nijman was good overall last week, Bakhtiari, when healthy, is among the best tackles in the league, and there’s no denying his familiarity with Rodgers.
Rodgers was sacked four times against the Vikings and pressured on 11 of his 38 dropbacks. His 2.57-second average time to throw was in the bottom half of the NFL, and the relationships he’s cultivating with his revamped receiving corps suffered because of it.
The return of Bakhtiari and Jenkins may help to normalize things for the Packers, but they aren’t sure things yet. Both players practiced last week, too, but ultimately didn’t play.
MORE: NFL power rankings: 49ers, Packers, Cowboys slide after Week 1
The Packers returned all five starters from a year ago, a testament to the trust the team had in them following last season.
For a quarterback like Rodgers, who requires perfect timing, just one squeaky wheel can throw the entire axle off-kilter. Tyler Brooke at Acme Packing Company has an excellent breakdown of where the line went wrong Sunday.
* Rookie
Note that three of the backups are rookies, so depth could be a concern. But the Packers do tend to draft well up front.
Jenkins was a full participant at practice Friday while Bakhtiari was limited. Left guard Jon Runyan (concussion), who was another bright spot Sunday, didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday but did practice Friday. All three were listed as questionable on the team’s Friday injury report
If Runyan can’t go, rookie Zach Tom would likely start. Look for the Bears to try to exploit that change.
It bears repeating that Bakhtiari and Jenkins also practiced last week but could not go. If they come back this week, the offense should show improvement. If they don’t, it could be another long week as the Packers take on their second NFC North rival in a row.

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