Packers: Rodgers loss is huge, but O-line is biggest concern


Packers fans are feeling the loss of Aaron Rodgers, much like that of a family member, but it’s the state of the O-line that concerns me most.

With three-fifths of the starting offensive line ending up on the bench during Sunday’s disaster in Minnesota, there is legitimate concerns over whether this offense can fully recover.

Even if Aaron Rodgers had stayed under center yesterday, he would have struggled with the line that was on the field late in the game.

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Brett Hundley, thrown to the wolves when Rodgers went down, didn’t have a chance of success later in the game when the line began to disintegrate – especially with that Minnesota defense pinning its ears back and coming after Hundley.

Hundley’s greatest successes came early in the game when he led the team to one touchdown and then shortly after had the team poised for another, only to have seven points taken off the board when Ty Montgomery couldn’t control the ball as he dove toward the end zone.

Had that touchdown stood, it would have tied the game at 14-14 and provided a much different scenario.

But that was before the offensive line began to crumble.

Left guard Lane Taylor went down first, followed by Bryan Bulaga, who suffered a concussion, and left tackle David Bakhtiari, who aggravated the hamstring that kept him out four straight games.


As the Packers offense took the field late in the fourth quarter, they had Justin McCray at left tackle (he’s a guard by trade) Ulrick John at right tackle and Lucas Patrick at left guard

Combined with center Corey Linsley and right guard Jahri Evans, it was the team’s sixth different starting O-line in six games.

Though it appears Monday morning that the injuries that sent Bakhtiari and Taylor to the bench probably aren’t significant, but we all know how these injuries that don’t seem significant can force a player to sit for weeks.

We all know that head coach Mike McCarthy will have his hands full trying to come up with creative ways to allow Brett Hundley to thrive in the National Football League.

You know that defensive coordinators are going to be licking their chops while preparing for the Packers now that Aaron Rodgers is on the shelf and the team has a QB who will be starting his first game next week.

Let’s begin with the New Orleans defense that ripped apart the Detroit Lions yesterday with three defensive touchdowns against Matthew Stafford, a veteran and the highest paid quarterback in the league.

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 27: Tackle Bryan Bulaga
GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 27: Tackle Bryan Bulaga /

With an offensive line that could include only two starters next Sunday – center Corey Linsley and right guard Jahri Evans – you know the Saints are going to be drawing up every type of blitz and stunt known to man.

Their objective is going to be to rattle Brett Hundley, to get him to throw early, to get him to make bad decisions.

How does Mike McCarthy counter that?

Not easily.

But he will have to adapt to the talent he has on the field.

If that means drawing up quarterback draws, rollouts, naked bootlegs, screens, and running back draws, then so be it.

But that’s just one half of the equation.

McCarthy is going to have to work with an offensive line that won’t have much time to prepare as a unit. Getting that unit to gel isn’t going to be easy, but in the NFL it’s about the here and now.

Well, the here has arrived and the time is now.

If the Packers are going to move on from the loss of Aaron Rodgers, they have to get things straightened around quickly, and while the quarterback position is important, I feel it’s in pretty good hands with Hundley.

He has the talent, the smarts and the arm to make things happen.

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But getting the running game going and providing the protection he’s going to need to make things happen is the key this week.

Get the O-line straightened out and I feel the Packers will be OK heading into Week 7 and beyond.

And that’s just the offensive line – we haven’t even considered the defense that went into yesterday’s game without their two top cornerbacks – Davon House and Kevin King – and their starting safety, Morgan Burnett.

During the game, the Packers also lost cornerback Quinten Rollins to an ankle injury.

What do you think?