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Cheese Curds, 8/15: Packers’ offensive line should take a big jump with Elgton Jenkins back

The versatile lineman can plug in anywhere, but the downstream effects from his return are the biggest benefit.

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Green Bay Packers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Elgton Jenkins’ ACL tear last season could have been a death knell for the Green Bay Packers. With David Bakhtiari out for almost the entire season with his own ACL issues, Jenkins locked down the left tackle position and played there at a very high level as he followed up a Pro Bowl appearance in 2020 at guard. Jenkins’ ability to play anywhere on the line has come in crucial for the Packers in the past, but last year he was needed, and needed pretty badly, on the left side.

That injury to Jenkins took place in week 11 of last year, just before Thanksgiving. But on Sunday, he was back on the field in pads and his helmet, returning from the PUP list to give the Packers’ line a huge shot in the arm — one that is desperately needed with Bakhtiari still working his own way back. That’s less than nine months from injury to a return to practice, for those who are counting.

With Jenkins out last season, Yosh Nijman stepped in at left tackle and did a very solid job. In fact, Nijman was so solid that he may hold down that spot until Bakhtiari’s expected return, with Jenkins likely slotting in at right tackle instead. That’s how it appeared, at least, with Jenkins primarily doing right tackle footwork drills while awaiting his return to team periods.

So far, the Packers’ number one offensive line has consisted of Nijman, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Jake Hanson, and Royce Newman, from left to right. If Jenkins is indeed back and ready to play — maybe getting a few snaps in the preseason finale on August 26th, perhaps? — that could kick Newman back in from tackle to guard, pushing Hanson back out of the starting lineup. Remember that getting an elite lineman back doesn’t just improve the top end of the line; for the Packers, who value versatility, it allows them to drop the 5th-best starter off and replace him with a Pro Bowl player. That’s a massive upgrade that should thrill Packers fans, especially since Jenkins will have nearly another month to get ready to play in a regular season game.

Here’s a look at practice from Sunday and the reactions from around the Packers media sphere.

Return of Elgton Jenkins to provide ‘big boost’ for Packers offensive line | Packers Wire
While Christian Watson's and Robert Tonyan's returns from the PUP list are exciting, Jenkins should be by far the most impactful of the three should he be ready for week one.

5 things learned at Packers training camp – Aug. 14 |
Amid the return of the injured Packers, there were some exciting performances in team drills. Rookie Kingsley Enagbare had a huge day with at least three pressures with the number one defense -- a couple of which likely would have ended in sacks.

Lets talk about Mesh, baby | Packer Report
This is an excellent look at how the Packers used the Mesh concept to create their biggest offensive play of the game on Friday, a 68-yard catch-and-run for rookie running back B.J. Baylor.

NFL QB Betrayal Index: Drew Brees, Justin Herbert and Tony Romo top the list - The Athletic ($)
This great look at modern NFL quarterbacks finds that the difference between the Packers' offensive performance under Aaron Rodgers and the performance of its defense and special teams is bigger than all but four other QBs since 2012.

Dispute over fries leads to arrest of man out on bond for murder | FOX 5 Atlanta
Look, I don't want to tell you how to act at McDonald's, but being polite and asking nicely to get replacement fries because your first order isn't hot enough is probably the way to go -- especially if you have an outstanding warrant.