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Packers vs Jets Matchups: Can Green Bay’s Offensive Line Keep it Together?

Can the Packers offensive line give Aaron Rodgers enough time to throw?

New York Giants v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers need a bounce-back game on Sunday against the New York Jets, but if that’s going to happen, then the offensive line is going to need to get on the same page.

That’s not the only thing the Packers need to focus on after a disappointing performance against the New York Giants in London. From Aaron Rodgers’ questionable decision-making, Joe Barry’s defensive play calling, and the quality of play from last year’s All-Pro linebacker in De’Vondre Campbell, the Packers have more questions than answers right now.

However, Green Bay’s offensive line will be put in the spotlight in Week 6 against the Jets, particularly in pass protection. While the Jets only have 10 sacks through five games, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has them as the fourth-best pass-rushing defense this season.

The Jets are finding a ton of success from an intriguing unit of edge rushers, along with former top draft pick Quinnen Williams on the defensive line. The former Alabama star is off to a dominant start with three sacks and eight quarterback hits through five games.

Williams will put a ton of pressure on the interior of Green Bay’s offensive line, and the Jets could line up their star defender on the weak link of that unit. Left guard Jon Runyan Jr. is off to a great start this year, allowing zero pressures in 167 pass-blocking snaps, but right guard Royce Newman has been a disaster this year.

In 191 snaps in pass protection, Newman has already given up three sacks and 12 total pressures. The second-year guard struggled with twists and stunts as a rookie, but now he’s getting dominated routinely in one-on-one situations.

The entire right side of the Packers' offensive line is a mess right now. Newman isn’t the only one to blame for that, because right tackle Elgton Jenkins hasn’t looked like his old self to start the year.

Coming back from a torn ACL, Jenkins has lacked the physicality and lateral movement that made him such a dominant and versatile lineman for the Packers. He looked much more like himself in Week 5 against the Giants, but he’s already given up two sacks and nine pressures this season.

A logical solution would be to kick Jenkins inside to right guard while he regains his lateral agility, and put a player like Yosh Nijman or one of the rookies in Zach Tom or Sean Rhyan on the right side of the line. However, the Packers have appeared uninterested in shaking things up, especially with Nijman and David Bakhtiari splitting snaps at left tackle.

Regardless of who the tackles are, the Packers will have some tough matchups to take on with New York’s edge rushers. Carl Lawson leads the unit in his first real season with the Jets after missing all of 2021 with an Achilles injury. He’s gotten off to a hot start, too, already picking up 2.5 sacks.

Jermaine Johnson II was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 and was one of the Jets’ first-round picks back in April. While he did not practice on Wednesday leading up to the game, his impact could be felt if he’s healthy, with the young defender already picking up 1.5 sacks.

John Franklin-Myers, Jacob Martin, and Bryce Huff are also having an impact getting to the quarterback. That kind of depth and production is impressive for a team considered to be a pushover before the start of the season, and it’s the kind of depth that the Packers are sorely missing behind Rashan Gary and Preston Smith.

This won’t be an easy matchup for the Packers and their offensive line. If things go poorly, then the offensive coaching staff needs to seriously consider moving some pieces around, because back-to-back losses against the two New York teams will cause the entire fanbase to go into a panic.