Packers’ Offensive Line Falters For First Time vs. Lions

Jon Runyan Jr., Zach Tom, Rasheed Walker, Josh Myers, Royce Newman, Packers
Packers Coverage, NFL Analysis Network

The Green Bay Packers have had to do some shuffling along their offensive line in the 2023 season because of injuries. Left tackle David Bakhtiari hasn’t been able to get back onto the field since Week 1 because of his balky knee. Left guard Elgton Jenkins suffered a knee injury in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons and hasn’t been on the field since.

Rasheed Walker has played at a solid level in place of Bakhtiari, but Royce Newman has struggled mightily while attempting to replace Jenkins. It isn’t easy replacing Pro Bowl-level talent, which the Packers are learning the hard way.

Despite the injuries, the unit had been playing at a serviceable level for the first three weeks of the season. However, the wheels came off on Thursday Night Football in Week 4. The short week isn’t easy to bounce back for, which the offensive line proved.

The Packers have struggled all season when it comes to run-blocking, but their pass-blocking faltered for the first time against the Detroit Lions. Being competitive, let alone winning, is a near impossibility when your quarterback is under siege as often as Jordan Love was in Week 4.

22 pressures were allowed by the unit, as all five starters gave up multiple. Zach Tom was the only player to not be credited with giving up a sack, as the Packers allowed five on the evening along with six quarterback hits.

Love was pressured on 47 percent of his dropbacks, while Lions’ starting quarterback Jared Goff faced pressure on only 29 percent of his. No quarterback is going to find much success being pressured that frequently, and Love certainly struggled.

When facing pressure, he completed only 6-of-14 pass attempts for 48 yards and an interception. When the Packers were able to keep a clean pocket, he completed 17-of-22 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown. 

Once Love can figure out how to mitigate disasters when facing pressure, he will ascend to that next tier of quarterback rankings. For now, he has half of the formula down, as he has been very productive when given time in a clean pocket.

Getting the offensive line back on track will be imperative for Green Bay to start piling up wins. They will have their hands full in Week 5 when they face off against the Las Vegas Raiders, who have a star edge rusher in Maxx Crosby.

But, it is a one-man show in Las Vegas currently. The Raiders don’t have a very strong pass rush overall, ranking 28th in pass-rushing grade in the NFL entering Week 4. If the Packers cannot keep them out of the offensive backfield, things could get ugly for this offense moving forward.