Packers: 4 players to watch in season opener vs. Saints

Green Bay Packers, Josh Myers (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Josh Myers (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers, Royce Newman (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Royce Newman

We’re sticking with the offensive line here as the Packers are set to start with two rookies in their front five. It’s not an ideal situation to have two inexperienced linemen next to each other, but Royce Newman has been outstanding over the summer and very much deserves this spot.

Newman is listed as a starter at right guard on the unofficial depth chart, the biggest sign yet that he’ll be lining up next to Myers and Billy Turner on Sunday.

The Packers will be hoping his dominant performances from the preseason can translate into regular-season success. According to Pro Football Focus, Newman played 42 pass-blocking snaps in the preseason, not allowing a single pressure. Forget giving up sacks, Newman didn’t even give up a pressure.

The competition will be that much tougher against the Saints’ defensive line, and the tempo will be faster in the regular season. Both Newman and Myers are going to be tested by the Saints, who are fully aware neither has played a regular-season snap before.

But there’s good reason to have confidence in Newman. He had to earn this starting job. The Packers had other good options including Jon Runyan Jr. and Ben Braden. Had they needed to, Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins could play there, although he’s currently shifting to left tackle to cover for David Bakhtiari.

Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich has done a tremendous job in recent years and always has his players ready. Not to mention the Packers have a great track record of drafting offensive linemen.

Newman could be the next long-term starter found on Day 3 of the draft, but he’ll be tested on debut.