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Breakdown of 2021 Green Bay Packers Guards and Center

Breakdown of 2021 Green Bay Packers guards and center. Here are the grades for the Packers guards and center for 2021.

The Green Bay Packers offensive line dealt with injuries all season long in 2021. Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich earned his keep this past season. It seemed he was constantly shifting offensive linemen all season due to injuries. That forced several players to play several different positions during the season. As discussed last time, the offensive tackle position was hit the hardest. That forced shifts in other areas as well. Here is a look at the Packers guards and center.

Breakdown and Grades for Green Bay Packers Guards and Center for 2021 Season

Due to David Bakhtiari recovering from a 2020 knee injury, 2020 All-Pro guard Elgton Jenkins was forced to shift to left tackle. Jenkins, the Packers most athletically gifted lineman, proved he was up for the challenge before a season-ending knee injury ended his 2021 season.

Jenkin’s shift to tackle caused Stenavich and head coach Matt LaFleur to do make additional changes, specifically to the Packers starting guards. With Jenkins at tackle, Jon Runyan Jr. took over as the starting left guard. On the other side, most expected veteran lineman Lucas Patrick to hold down the starting right guard spot. However, instead of Patrick, it was a rookie fourth-round pick, Royce Newman, who started on the right side. At center, Josh Myers was pegged to take over for veteran Corey Linsley, who departed as a free agent.

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Below is a look at each guard and center with grades for their play in 2021.

Jon Runyan Jr., Grade: B+

When the season kicked off, Jon Runyan Jr. was the most experienced interior offensive lineman. His 160 snaps from 2020, his rookie campaign, were more than both Myers and Newman, who were also rookies, had that season. While 160 snaps are not a lot, they were quality snaps and he illustrated that he had some potential to be a starter.

Runyan Jr. saw his snap count climb from 160 in 2020 to 1,053 in 2021. The second-year Green Bay Packers guard started 16 games for the Packers this past season. While he was not in the same class as Jenkins, who he replaced at left guard, he did hold his own.

He still has some growing to do and he will need to improve his strength to improve his run blocking. However, it appears that he is on track to be a solid pass blocker. This past season, he only gave up two sacks. There is a strong chance he will be the starting left guard when the regular season starts in 2022. Jenkins’ knee injury might force him to start the season on injured reserve. When Jenkins does return, Runyan Jr. has shown enough that he could slide over to the right guard spot.

Royce Newman, Grade: C-

Expectations were pretty low for Royce Newman leading up to the 2021 season. The fifth-round pick out of the University of Mississippi was not expected to be much of a contributor before training camp. But after a strong training camp, Newman forced his way into being a starter on the Packers offensive line.

Newman started 16 games for the Packers this past season and played 1,084 snaps. However, even with starting 16 games, Newman showed that he still has a lot of growing up to do. He struggled with picking up twists and stunts. Along with that, he was overpowered by opposing defensive linemen who bull-rushed him.

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In the Packers 13-10 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Newman was left out of the starting lineup. Instead, Lucas Patrick started in place of Newman. Stenavich and LaFleur felt that Patrick was a better option than the rookie Newman.

While Newman was benched in the playoffs, by no means does that mean the Packers have lost faith in him. If not for injuries, it is doubtful Newman would have started as many games as he did this past season. He dealt with a lot of growing pains, but he got some necessary on-field experience.

Josh Myers, Grade: C+

While Newman was not expected to be a starter this season, fellow rookie Josh Myers was. General manager Brian Gutekunst selected Myers in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. With Linsley signing with the Los Angeles Chargers, it was expected that Myers would be the Packers starting center in 2021.

Being the starting center for the Green Bay Packers offensive line brings with it a lot of demand. Being the center requires leadership and intelligence as they are expected to make the calls when the opposing defensive line presents its alignment. Along with that, Packers franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers expects the very best from his center. If Rodgers does not receive the best from his center, he is not afraid to let him know about it.

There were moments when Myers drew the ire of Rodgers. In most cases, it was when Myers did not snap the ball to draw an offsides penalty. But even with those moments, Rodgers complimented the rookie center. Receiving complimentary words from Rodgers is not easy, but the quarterback’s words show that he is developing trust with Myers.

Myers would have graded higher if not for an injury, which caused Myers to play in just six games. Still, those six games gave him experience and by the start of the 2022 season, he should be ready to go.

Lucas Patrick, Grade: B-

When Patrick Lucas lost the starting right guard spot to Newman, he did not get down or quit on his team. Instead, he prepared like he would be a starter and that is what he became.

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When Myers was injured against the Chicago Bears in October, Patrick replaced him at center. While Patrick is not as big as Myers and or as athletic as other Packers offensive linemen, he is very intelligent. And he used that to his advantage and in Myers’ absence, he played well. Patrick also has the backing of Rodgers, which gave the veteran confidence.

Patrick will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season. The versatility he has displayed makes for a good argument in re-signing him. If Russ Ball, the Packers salary cap “wizard” can find the room, bringing back Patrick would be worth it.

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