What makes the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line special?

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Packers’ offensive line has been one of the NFL’s best in 2020. What is it that separates it from the rest of the pack?

The biggest storyline entering the Green Bay Packers‘ 2020 season centered on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the team’s decision to select Jordan Love with their first-round pick in April’s draft.

To make matters even more awkward, not only did the Packers select a quarterback with their pick in the late-20s, they traded up to do so, simultaneously stocking up for the future and deferring on numerous offensive weapons who could help the franchise bring home its fifth Super Bowl title.

Green Bay figured to compete for an NFC North title, but few suspected them to be legitimate championship contenders; the team was coming off a somewhat flukish NFC title game appearance the season prior and seemingly avoided adding short-term – or even medium-term – impactful offensive talent like the plague.

All of the signs pointed to the Packers moving on from their all-time great quarterback at some point in the not so distant future and undergoing a full-on rebuild.

However, to say that that isn’t exactly how the 2020 season has played out would be an understatement.

The Packers currently sit at 9-3 overall as the second seed in the NFC; they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the first-place New Orleans Saints (10-2) and are three games ahead of the Minnesota Vikings with four games remaining on the schedule. Rodgers is once again among the favorites to win the league’s MVP award and the dynamic running back tandem of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have combined for 1,690 total yards and 12 touchdowns.

The majority of Green Bay’s offensive weapons returned – though none of significance were added – and many of their key defensive contributors from the previous season – namely Preston Smith, Dean Lowry, and Kenny Clark – have disappointed. So how is it that the Packers are significantly better?

The main reason: the offensive line has been really, really good.

Anchored by left tackle David Bakhtiari and center Corey Linsley – both of whom rank as the best at their respective positions according to Pro Football Focus – Green Bay possesses one of the best and most versatile offensive lines in the NFL.

However, while Green Bay’s run blocking has been good, it’s their pass blocking that sets them apart from nearly every other team in the NFL. Rodgers has been sacked a grand total of 13 times through 12 games.

That’s the equivalent of a three percent sack percentage, which is tied with Philip Rivers of the Indianapolis Colts for second-lowest; only Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers (2.3 percent) has been sacked on a lower percentage of dropbacks among quarterbacks who have started at least half their games.

But while the numbers are impressive on their own, the fact that Green Bay’s offensive line has been so effective is made even more so when it is considered that both Bakhtiari (chest) and Linsley (knee) have missed multiple games this season due to injury. Elgton Jenkins’ ability to play multiple positions – and do so incredibly effectively – and the improved play of Billy Turner, Rick Wagner, and even tight end Marcedes Lewis have been a boon for the team all season.

If the Packers are to make yet another deep run in the playoffs and contend for a Super Bowl title, they will need to do so behind the strong play of their offensive line. If they can continue to play at the level that they have through the first three-quarters of the season, Aaron Rodgers may just bring home his second Lombardi Trophy while donned in green and gold.