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Packers 2018 additions: Byron Bell falls into starting role

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The Packers never intended Byron Bell to win more than a backup job. Instead, he started most of their games at right guard.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down each position group on the Green Bay Packers and provide insight into how they performed during the 2018 season. Today, we examine the offensive line.

Last offseason, the Green Bay Packers rolled the dice on their interior offensive line. Already set at both tackle spots and center, the front office only brought in late-round pick Cole Madison and “street” free agent Byron Bell to compete with Justin McCray for the starting job at right guard. While none of those players seemed like top-flight starters, the team only needed one to surprise in order to hold down the position.

The plan didn’t’ quite pan out. Madison never reported to training camp (and thus did not merit inclusion on this list) while McCray suffered a shoulder injury early in the season and ended up spending many weeks on the inactive list. That left Bell to start the majority of the Packers’ games at right guard.

Byron Bell

How acquired: Signed as “street” free agent
Stats: 12 game appearances, nine starts, 33 total pressures allowed

Bell, a longtime starting lineman with the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, and Dallas Cowboys, found himself without a team late into the offseason. The Packers scooped him up on a one-year deal on May 30. Bell didn’t offer much on paper, but the team felt that his experience could prove valuable should injuries press the veteran into duty for a few games.

A few games turned into 12, nine of them starts. To his credit, Bell acquitted himself better than McCray, who struggled early and often before a shoulder injury effectively ended his time as the Packers’ preferred starter at right guard. But Bell still allowed 33 total pressures during his 365 snaps, giving him the highest pressure rate of any offensive lineman in Green Bay (9 percent). The offense had plenty of problems in 2018, but the revolving door at right guard proved to be one of the worst.