The Green Bay Packers’ offense is the youngest and most inexperienced in the NFL, and even so, they continue trying to get some looks at even younger, more inexperienced players on the offensive line. On Sunday, the Packers defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 23-20, but as they did so they rotated their left tackles constantly while also getting another brief look at another young player on the other side of the line.
When both players have been healthy in recent weeks, the Packers have been alternating drives with Rasheed Walker and Yosh Nijman at left tackle. It’s hard to make a case that either of the two players is taking hold of the job, as both have had their issues and have given up some untimely and ugly-looking sacks.
Meanwhile, the Packers gave second-year pro Sean Rhyan a full drive at right guard in place of Jon Runyan, Jr. for the second time in three games. And for the second time, Rhyan’s drive ended in a touchdown, with this brief series finishing up with a Jayden Reed touchdown run.
It is unclear whether Rhyan’s brief playing time has been due to minor injuries for Runyan or because the coaching staff wants to see him in a little bit of game action, but his drive this week came on the Packers’ third offensive series, starting late in the first quarter and coming directly after a three-and-out. The fact that the team has scored touchdowns during two of his drives of extended action suggests that it is probably worth giving him some more snaps, however.
Here’s a look at the full playing time numbers from Sunday.
OFFENSE (72 TOTAL SNAPS)
Jordan Love 72
Love had one of his best statistical games of the season on Sunday, setting a career-high with 322 passing yards and completing more than 2⁄3 of his pass attempts. That, plus two touchdowns and no interceptions, equated to a 108.5 passer rating, his fourth game in triple digits this season.
AJ Dillon 52, Aaron Jones 15, Emanuel Wilson 6
The Packers lost both Jones and Wilson to injuries on the final drive of the first half, with Jones injuring his knee and Wilson his shoulder. That left Dillon to carry the load in the second half, but he was particularly ineffective, gaining just 29 yards on 14 carries. He was more productive as a receiver, catching all four of his targets for 32 yards, including a 20-yard gain on a swing pass out of the backfield.
Christian Watson 56, Jayden Reed 50, Romeo Doubs 49, Dontayvion Wicks 24, Malik Heath 15
Reed had an excellent game, as the Packers clearly looked to increase his workload and scheme up some touches for him. He scored the Packers’ first touchdown of the day on just such a play, taking an end-around 32 yards to the house. Reed finished the game with 46 yards on 3 carries and another 46 receiving yards on four receptions.
Watson’s target share dropped significantly in this game, as he saw just four passes come his way compared to three games of 7 or more targets in his last five. He did catch his second touchdown of the year, a great ball from Love, but despite his heavy snap count he was not heavily featured.
Instead, Doubs tied Reed and Luke Musgrave for the team-high in targets with six, catching five passes for 53 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. Doubs got into the act early, with receptions on each of the Packers’ first two plays of the game. Wicks, meanwhile, was on the field for just a third of the team’s offensive snaps, but he got five targets of his own and caught three of them for an impressive 91 yards. Heath finally caught his first NFL pass on his only target of the day.
Luke Musgrave 46, Tucker Kraft 30, Ben Sims 16, Josiah Deguara 1
The Deguara role on offense is all but gone, with Kraft now consistently getting a 40-50% snap share. That’s well enough, and Kraft nearly had his first NFL touchdown with a tremendous catch-and-run from the flat that included a hurdle over a defender, His reception went for 27 yards, as he barely stepped out of bounds before taking the reception into the end zone.
Musgrave caught four of his six targets for 28 yards and did not have a deep target, but he did pick up a few key first downs. Also notable is that Ben Sims earned an expanded role as a blocker in this game, though he was not targeted in the passing game.
Elgton Jenkins 72, Josh Myers 72, Zach Tom 72, Jon Runyan, Jr. 66, Rasheed Walker 41, Yosh Nijman 31, Sean Rhyan 6
The Packers continue to rotate Walker and Nijman at left tackle, but neither one played particularly well in this game. Nijman gave up one awful sack to Khalil Mack while Walker still gets pushed around too much in the run game.
The team also gave Sean Rhyan one drive in this game in place of Runyan, and that came at the start of the second quarter. That drive ended in Reed’s touchdown, but Rhyan never got back in the game again.
DEFENSE (65 TOTAL SNAPS)
Kenny Clark 50, Devonte Wyatt 33, T.J. Slaton 29, Karl Brooks 25, Colby Wooden 5
With the Chargers not a heavy inside running team, Slaton saw his second-fewest number of snaps in a game this season with Wyatt and Brooks getting a bit heavier workloads. Clark continued his heavy snap count, but he delivered a couple of critical plays in the second half: forcing a fumble out of Austin Ekeler inside the Packers’ 10-yard line and breaking up Justin Herbert’s final pass attempt on 4th and 1.
Brooks recorded his third sack of the season and was back near a 40% snap share after a lighter workload last week.
Preston Smith 51, Rashan Gary 45, Kingsley Enagbare 22, Lukas Van Ness 12
Gary got in on a few key plays in this game, posting a sack to bring his season total to 5.5 and adding a recovery on Ekeler’s fumble. He and Smith each recorded a pair of QB hits on Herbert, who was especially difficult to bring down in this game as he scrambled for nearly 75 yards. Enagbare added a tackle for loss, a big run stop early in the second half.
Quay Walker 65, De’Vondre Campbell 41, Isaiah McDuffie 21
The Packers got Walker back after he had missed the past two games, and that was just in time, as Campbell left the game with an injury in the second half. McDuffie stepped in as usual, though with the Chargers relying on their passing game late, he did not appear in the stat sheet.
Walker and Campbell each totaled seven tackles in the game, with Campbell picking up a TFL in the run game.
Anthony Johnson, Jr. 65, Jonathan Owens 65, Benny Sapp 1
With Rudy Ford inactive again, Johnson got the start in his place. The safeties had a rough game, however, as Owens’ missed a tackle that led directly to a 51-yard touchdown by tight end Stone Smartt and generally struggled in coverage.
Corey Ballentine 65, Carrington Valentine 65, Keisean Nixon 55
Like Ford, Alexander missed the game, which gave Ballentine another start opposite Valentine. The two largely held up well enough — Keenan Allen got 16 targets, so his 10 receptions for over 100 yards was no surprise. Still, Valentine was active and had three pass breakups, while Ballentine had one.
Nixon had a few very nice plays in the slot as well and he added a big TFL near the goal line on a tricky pass play that he sniffed out beautifully.
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Kraft 18, Dallin Leavitt 16, McDuffie 16, Eric Wilson 16, Zayne Anderson 14, Kristian Welch 14, Nixon 13, Enagbare 12, Robert Rochell 11