Packers Considering Benching Starter, Per Matt LaFleur

Getty Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has a tough decision to make.

The Green Bay Packers are still trying to figure out their identity on offense. Getting key contributors back into the starting lineup, especially on the offensive line, has led to conversations about whom to bench to keep the best 11 players on the field.

Coming back from a torn ACL last season, right tackle Elgton Jenkins has yet to look like his former self. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Jenkins gave up a team-high three pressures and a sack in the overtime win against the New England Patriots.

His performance has led to discussions about kicking Jenkins inside to guard as he gets his feet back under him. That would bring Yosh Nijman back into the starting lineup at right tackle and leave Royce Newman as the odd man out.

Head coach Matt LaFleur revealed at his October 3 press conference that the team has considered moving Nijman to right tackle, according to Justis Mosqueda of Acme Packing Company.

“That is something we have definitely talked about,” LaFleur said about moving Nijman to tackle. “We’ll continue to do the best job we can, in terms of repping these guys throughout the course of the week and practice. That’s definitely been something we’ve talked about and haven’t made a decision on that yet.”

If the Packers roll with that strategy, someone is going to have to be benched, and that player is likely going to be Newman.

Has Yosh Nijman Played Right Tackle?

Nijman did an admirable job of stepping in at left tackle after both David Bakhtiari and Jenkins missed the majority of the 2021 season with knee injuries. However, with Bakhtiari and Jenkins both out on the field, it could be time for Nijman to play on the other side of the offensive line.

Unfortunately for the Packers, Nijman has very little experience at right tackle at the pro level. His only logged snaps at the position came in a single preseason game back in 2021, although the Packers did have the former undrafted free agent practice at right tackle this offseason.

Niman does have significant experience at right tackle at the college level. In his final season with the Virginia Tech Hokies, Nijman started 10 games at the position.

It’s easier said than done for an offensive lineman to switch positions on the line. However, if Nijman can show that he’s capable of playing on the right side of the line, it could give the Packers an opportunity to get their best five offensive linemen on the field at the same time.

Will Nijman Be Able to Play in Week 5?

The Packers suffered a late scare prepping for their October 2 game against the Patriots. The night before the game, Nijman was a late addition to the injury report, listed as questionable with an illness.

Nijman wound being able to play, but he was used only sparingly with Bakhtiari returning at left tackle. It’s unclear whether Nijman’s illness kept him from playing more.

Regardless, Packers fans will be keeping a close eye on the injury report to see if Nijman is healthy enough to be a full participant at practice, especially if the team plans on giving him reps at right tackle.

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