The Green Bay Packers will have their third starting offensive line combination in three games when they take the field against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night this weekend. After initially ruling starting left tackle Elgton Jenkins as doubtful for the game on Friday’s injury report, the team announced on Saturday that they have downgraded him to out.
That will leave a gaping hole at left tackle as the Packers get ready to face a dynamic defensive line featuring Nick Bosa and Dee Ford on the edge. With Jenkins out, the Packers will likely move Billy Turner from right tackle to the left side. Turner’s replacement at right tackle is less certain; veteran Dennis Kelly is one candidate, while the team could also move rookie fourth-round pick Royce Newman out from right guard to right tackle, the position he played in college at Ole Miss.
Jenkins had started the Packers’ first two games at left tackle in place of David Bakhtiari, who started the season on the physically unable to perform list. Last season he started several games at right tackle when Bakhtiari was out with injuries, with Turner playing on the left side. This will be the first game Jenkins misses in his NFL career,
The Packers may also elect to elevate an offensive lineman or two from the practice squad to help ensure depth across the front. Ben Braden and rookie Cole Van Lanen would both be candidates to earn a call-up as a result.
Joining Jenkins as inactive on Sunday will be tight end Dominique Dafney, who was also downgraded to out. Dafney was initially listed as questionable with a hip injury after playing a career-high 29 snaps on Monday against the Lions.
However, Dafney’s absence will be more easily handled. The Packers expect to have tight end Josiah Deguara back on the field, and the two players have similar sizes and skill sets. Expect a heavy dose of Deguara if the Packers can keep the game close and rely on the running game to take pressure off the tackles in pass protection.
UPDATE: Dafney will be out for a longer period than just this game. The Packers announced later Saturday afternoon that they are placing him on injured reserve, which will keep him out for at least the next three games.