Packers: Will offensive line take a step back in 2021 season?

Green Bay Packers, Elgton Jenkins, David Bakhtiari, Lucas PatrickApc Packerstrainingcamp 0817200320
Green Bay Packers, Elgton Jenkins, David Bakhtiari, Lucas PatrickApc Packerstrainingcamp 0817200320 /

The Green Bay Packers had the league’s highest-scoring offense in 2020, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers winning his third MVP award.

Rodgers was out of this world all season long, but huge credit needs to be given to his offensive line.

Despite being hit with injuries throughout the season, forcing head coach Matt LaFleur to reshuffle his starting five, Green Bay’s offensive line was the best in the league all year.

According to ESPN, the Packers led the NFL in both pass block win rate and run block win rate last season.

Tackles Billy Turner, David Bakhtiari, and Rick Wagner, guards Lucas Patrick and Elgton Jenkins, and center Corey Linsley, were all among the top 10 at their respective positions in pass block win rate. Bakhtiari and Linsley were also in the top 10 for run block win rate.

Rodgers was sacked just 20 times, the fewest in his career since becoming the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008.

Bear in mind that in 2013, Rodgers missed seven games with injury and was sacked 21 times that season. In 2017, he missed nine games and was sacked 22 times.

Last year, when Rodgers started all 16 games, he was sacked fewer times than in the two seasons he missed significant time with a broken collarbone.

Simply put, the Packers’ offensive line was dominant in 2020. But are they set for a step back this year?

New-look offensive line faces tough task to replicate 2020 success

This year’s offensive line will look different.

All-Pro Linsley, the best center in football last season, is no longer on the team. The Packers released Wagner, who started nine games in 2020.

Bakhtiari could miss the start of the season due to a torn ACL he suffered late last year.

It’s possible the Packers could start the season without two All-Pros from their offensive line in 2020, and a tackle who started over half their games.

That’s tough to overcome. The Packers are likely to go from an All-Pro to a rookie at center, and they’ll need to reshuffle the line until Bakhtiari is ready to return, potentially moving Pro Bowler Jenkins to tackle.

Repeating last season’s success up front would’ve been no easy task even had the same starting five returned. But with Linsley and Wagner gone and Bakhtiari’s status for the start of the season uncertain, the Packers’ offensive line could take a step back in 2021.