The Green Bay Packers are facing uncertainty at the quarterback position ahead of a week two meeting with the Minnesota Vikings. After last week’s heroics, it appears that Aaron Rodgers will attempt to play through his Week One knee sprain. If Rodgers is sidelined, DeShone Kizer will get his first start in green and gold. Whoever lines up under center will be facing one of the NFL’s most feared pass-rushing duos in three-time Pro Bowler Everson Griffen and his newly minted counterpart Danielle Hunter. Protecting an injured Rodgers or inexperienced Kizer will be paramount to a Packers victory. The Packers offensive tackles face a tough test at Lambeau Field as the team attempts to go 2-0 for the first time since 2015.
Green Bay Packers Offensive Tackles Face Tough Test Against Minnesota Vikings
Last Week’s Performances
Mixed Bag for Packer O-Line
David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga had their work cut out for them in week one. The Bears’ newly acquired Khalil Mack lined up against Buluga for most of the evening and completely dominated the first half. Mack only recorded one sack against Buluga but he provided constant pressure throughout the game. Bulaga also allowed the initial pressure that led to Rodgers’s injury.
On the left side, Bakhtiari looked to continue his string of All-Pro nominations. As pressure accumulated from the right, Rodgers repeatedly rolled towards Bakhtiari in the second half. The left tackle continued his play as one of the league’s premier pass-blockers. Leonard Floyd finished the night with just two tackles while spending most of the night lined up against Bakhtiari.
Vikings Defensive Ends Dominate
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was under constant duress in last week’s meeting with the Vikes. Both Griffen and Hunter each recorded four tackles and a sack despite seeing constant double teams. Hunter had another sack called back due to a defensive holding penalty. The extra help needed on the outside allowed defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to have a strong performance of his own. Six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley and rookie first-rounder Mike McGlinchey aren’t pushovers on the O-line, yet they had their hands full all day.
What to Expect This Sunday
After a sub-par performance against the Bears last week, the interior offensive line for the Packers must take a big step forward. Lane Taylor and Corey Linsley have shown they can hold their own, but fourth-year pro Justin McCray looked overmatched at right guard last week. All three will be needed in one-on-one matchups while extra attention is focused on the edge.
Look for offensive coordinator Joe Philbin to keep additional blockers in on passing downs. Expect free agent addition Marcedes Lewis to make his presence felt in this game as a blocker. He and running back Jamaal Williams will be counted on to aid the offensive tackles in protecting Rodgers or Kizer.
If the Packers are going to move the ball on Sunday, they will have to utilize a quick rhythm passing game. Rodgers won’t have his typical mobility and the bookend rushers won’t give him the time he needs for longer-developing plays. It would be wise to carry an extra blocker on most downs, but spreading the defense out and getting the ball out quickly will be equally important. Still, the pressure resides with Bakhtiari and Bulaga to win the majority of their matchups against Hunter and Griffen. If they can’t, it will be a long night for the Packers quarterback.
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