The Green Bay Packers appear to be struggling to decide on a backup (or multiple backups) for quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the 2019 preseason and training camp. DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle are competing for the #2 job behind Rodgers, with undrafted rookie Manny Wilkins getting a handful of preseason snaps late in the team’s first two games. And although the two QBs have had their ups and downs, the team has at least been seeing them under fairly ideal circumstances.
This is due to the offensive line, which has largely kept the quarterbacks clean and afforded them time to go through their progressions properly and get the football out on time. Pro Football Focus mentioned this in a Thursday article, noting that the Packers’ offensive linemen lead all teams so far this preseason in overall pass-blocking efficiency. Green Bay’s lines have a 94.1 mark in that number, an excellent overall value, thanks to just six pressures allowed on 59 passing plays.
The line has had its share of issues, particularly when the second-team and third-team lines are on the field. They have been flagged for several holding penalties through two games, but all told the group has held up particularly well in pass protection.
This has allowed Kizer and Boyle to work the offense largely as designed, going through their reads and showing their decision making in ideal situations. Some quarterbacks may excel when the play breaks down (looking at you, number 12) but being able to drive the offense and make good throws and decisions when not under duress is critical for any player at the position at the NFL level.
Some of the credit here also should go to Matt LaFleur and his offensive scheme, however. Just as the line helps the scheme function, the scheme helps the line by dictating quicker throws in rhythm by the quarterbacks, thus reducing the time it takes to get the football out and the amount of time that the pass-rushers have to reach the quarterback.
With each side helping the other function well, that creates a cascade effect that will hopefully carry over into the regular season and will allow an Aaron Rodgers-led offense to function smoothly — hopefully leading to fewer sacks than he has taken in recent years.