The Green Bay Packers took their first steps Tuesday in addressing their growing need for offensive line depth when they signed one rookie to the active roster and added another to the practice squad.
The Packers elevated tackle Yosh Nijman to fill their last available roster spot after placing backup Cole Madison on the injured reserve list last week with a torn ACL. Rookie tackle Cody Conway, who spent time with the Tennessee Titans, replaced him on the practice squad to round out a series of moves announced Tuesday afternoon.
A 6-foot-7, 324-pound rookie out of Virginia Tech, Nijman has been on the Packers’ practice squad for the entire regular season but could soon see his first NFL snaps with the team now down two linemen who had been healthy less than a week ago. The Packers are also expected to be without starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga after he suffered an MCL sprain in the first quarter of Sunday’s 37-8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Issues up front were on full display against the Niners as Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times and defensive ends Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead wreaked havoc on the Packers, who gained just 81 passing yards in their most ineffective performances of the season. Backup tackle Alex Light struggled in his relief of Bulaga, but problems were apparent from the start.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Light’s experience against “one of the best” defensive fronts in the league will serve him well for the rest of the season, but he also admitted the Packers might try something different without Bulaga this week against the New York Giants.
“We have some other thoughts potentially to make sure we put our best five our there,” LaFleur said Monday afternoon.
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No Minced Words From LaFleur
The Packers owned up to it right from the start. From Rodgers in his postgame press conference to the rest of his Packers teammates in the locker room, nobody tried looking on the bright side for long after a prime-time knockout. Passes were dropped, coverages were blown and protections were collapsed.
“I think there was some good,” LaFleur said Monday. “Overall, I would say this: That was probably our worst game up front all season overall, so it wasn’t good enough. Again, I always want to look at myself critically and making sure that we’re doing everything in our power to put those guys in a good position, and I don’t think we did. That’s on me.”
LaFleur also accepted blame for Aaron Jones’ lack of involvement in the offense in Week 12 after the dynamic running back was held just 38 yards on 13 carries and kept without a touchdown for only the fourth game this season. Though he has more than 350 receiving yards on the year, Jones has been targetted just once in the passing game over the past two games.
“I think we definitely need to involve him more,” LaFleur said. “I think a little bit (Sunday) was a product of that scheme. There’s not a lot of (opportunities) for the backs, and then when we try to get the ball to the backs out of the backfield, they did a nice job of having vision on our halfbacks. That falls on me right there. I gotta do a better job of making sure he’s in the game when some of those plays are called for the halfbacks.”