It's Time For the Packers To Give Sean Rhyan A Shot

The Packers need an upgrade at LG while Jenkins is out

Elgton Jenkins' injury was a big hit for the Green Bay Packers offensive line. The Pro Bowl left guard suffered had an MCL sprain, which will make him miss playing time — he isn't expected to go on the injured reserve, but he has already missed a part of the game against the Atlanta Falcons, the entire game versus the New Orleans Saints, and isn't expected to play on Thursday against the Detroit Lions.

So far, the Packers coaching staff decision has been to replace Jenkins with Royce Newman, who has significant starting experience in the NFL. However, his performance hasn't been good whatsoever. It's time to give second-year player Sean Rhyan a shot.

Performance

During the game in Atlanta, it made sense to put Newman when Jenkins got injured. After all, it could be risky to go with a completely inexperienced player in Rhyan without the proper preparation. But, even though Newman didn't allow any pressure, he was still the fourth-lowest graded (52.3) offensive player against the Atlanta Falcons.

Before the Saints game, head coach Matt LaFleur left the door open for a competition, but ended up going with Newman again for the home opener. Newman's performance at Lambeau Field was concerning (for Jordan Love's health reasons, especially).

The left guard played 55 pass protection snaps, allowing a team-high four pressures, according to PFF. He was the second lowest-graded offensive player according to Andy Herman, ahead only of Jon Runyan. By PFF, he was the third lowest-graded (50.1) offensive player, ahead of Runyan and Josiah Deguara.

A high-floor can't be the reason why he's playing.

Ceiling and future

If the floor isn't the reason, the Packers should think about ceiling. And there's not much doubt that Sean Rhyan offers a much higher one. A third-round pick in last year's draft, Rhyan hasn't played any offensive snaps in the NFL. Nonetheless, he showed signs of improvement comparing training camps and preseasons from his rookie year and 2023. In preseason, he played over Newman for most of the time. Rhyan might not be great, for sure, but there's also a decent chance of him being an upgrade.

You could ask why the Packers wouldn't have done it already if Rhyan had played well in practice. That's a fair argument, to be sure, but LaFleur has a long track record of overvaluing experience on the offensive line: he chose Lane Taylor over Elgton Jenkins, Rick Wagner over Yosh Nijman, and Yosh Nijman over Zach Tom. This is nothing new.

Moreover, everyone knows at this point that Royce Newman is not a preferred starter — and most likely will never be. But Sean Rhyan still can be. If he plays well while Jenkins is out, he could become a quality long-term starter. It would open the option of Rhyan himself moving to right guard over Jon Runyan, or maybe moving Jenkins to center over Josh Myers.

This is pretty much an evaluation year for the Packers. Good things are happening faster than expected for the offense, so why don't they follow the same logic to give Rhyan an opportunity?

Photo: Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Wendell Ferreira covers the Green Bay Packers for Zone Coverage and Cheesehead TV. He is a Brazilian journalist with over a decade of experience covering the NFL, soccer, NBA, and MMA. Follow him on twitter at @wendellfp  

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9 points
 

Comments (57)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
KKB's picture

September 27, 2023 at 11:25 am

It is still amazing to me - that Newman is even on this team.
The guy is terrible.

11 points
11
0
dblbogey's picture

September 27, 2023 at 04:06 pm

I've been yelling that for 2 years. He's not a player. Same with Jake Hanson, it was obvious to everyone but the coaches. Fans and "experts" were going on about our strong O line was going to be this year, while you had Bakh's health questions, Myers and Runyan as below average run blockers, and Newman as your top back up guard. We got a steal in Zach Tom, a nice surprise in Rasheed Walker, but we really need to rebuild the interior line.

4 points
4
0
SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 27, 2023 at 05:09 pm

Putting these pieces together is the puzzle I've been watching with the keenest interest, mostly because our passing game depends on a running game that's at least viable. I hate all talk of Jenkins at C; he and Bakh are dominant. Not that either is ready to go anyway. Zach Tom's best position is C. I don't know that he's ever played a single NFL down at C? Neither do I know how big an ask it is to move him to the position without extended practice time there such as TC. Failure to make this adjustment is just as bad as bringing back Amari Rodgers as a returner last season, the year before we knew he wasn't a returner. And yet that doesn't mean he's not a serviceable WR, and he went on to do ok. Could have traded him for at least some value before the deadline rather than simply releasing him and getting nothing at all.

Once C is upgraded then and only then can JRJ be evaluated properly at RG. It would be surprising if Myers plays better in that position but it certainly would be worth experimenting with, again in TC after Tom is solid at C. Which side they want Nijman on, there's still Walker and Mt Caleb to work with. OT should be just fine without #50. Which is why he should have been playing C all off-season. Rhyan is the only other guy shorter than 6'6", if that's an issue at interior OL.

Also on the PS is Michael Jordan, listed as 6'6" 315#. I know nothing about him so I assume he was added after cutdowns.

0 points
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1
Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 06:51 pm

Jordan was Myers’s predecessor at C in college. Drafted by the Bengals in the 4th round, he’s only played LG in the pros, with moderate success only due to issues as a pass protector. We signed him off the street after the Panthers waived him at cut downs.

-1 points
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KKB's picture

September 28, 2023 at 02:35 pm

EVEN IF Rhyan sucks! it is no worse than Newman, after 3 years of wasted reps

NOTHING TO LOSE !!!!!!!!!!!

0 points
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Ima Payne's picture

September 27, 2023 at 11:28 am

Why doesnt the team tell Bakh your playing. No more pussy footing around, put him out there on the dam field and let him take his medicine, He took the money its time to play the game. Seems like he has the upper hand and is saying, I don't think I can play. Either that or give him the medical settlement and be done with him. No such thing as part time players. Your making the guys who fill in part time also. Thats the problem

0 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

September 27, 2023 at 11:31 am

I would be all for starting Rhyan. Newman didn't kill us, but he didn't really help much either. I believe he was the lowest graded offensive player from the game. (i can't remember for sure, and I'm too lazy to look it up). But he is continually the weak link on the OL.

I felt Rhyan looked good in the preseason. Obviously its different going against starters, and he has no experience. But is no experience a bad thing when you know the one with experience just isn't good?

A side note. I absolutely love seeing Tom taking out 2 players on that block. Tom is a stud!

6 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 11:41 am

PFF has Runyon worse in both of the last 2 games. My eyes think they blame both Gs for center failings. However, Newman has not been our worst IOL in either game per PFF or anyone. Stunning but true, and alarming at the same time.

Rhyan may well be a good move, but I’d start with Tom to C when healthy. A decent run blocker at C will improve life for both Gs. I’m not worried about Nijman at T and he would also upgrade our run game. Jones probably would too. Stop fighting the obvious, fix the middle and then give Rhyan a chance. Who knows, we might actually open some holes.

9 points
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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2023 at 12:54 am

Exactly why are we dicking around. Put Tom at center and with Jenkins injured put in Ryan, we need to protect Jordan and run the ball.

1 points
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1
crayzpackfan's picture

September 27, 2023 at 01:12 pm

Here's the lineup I wanna see (primarily after the bye so they have more time to practice together). I am excluding DB as he hasn't practiced all year and has played just one game. Regardless if he plays 4-5 games this season, he isn't starting on my list cuz he is clearly not a part of this teams future. He can be the worlds most expensive backup LT in the history of the NFL for a year.
LT - Walker
LG - Jenkins (after the bye)
C - Tom
RG - Try Rhyan out - Otherwise JRJ
RT - Yosh

Now here is another thought if Caleb Jones is good and Rhyan fails at RG

LT - Walker
LG - Jenkins (after the bye)
C - Tom
RG - Yosh
RT - Caleb Jones

If Rhyan does work out and Jones works out, Yosh is our Swing\Next Man Up

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2023 at 12:00 pm

So, has anybody actually talked with the guys who've worked with Rhyan for over a year now, and who've seen him everyday in the weightroom, the meeting rooms, and the practice field? What are they saying? Are any of them saying "We should start this guy?"

And where is the evidence that shows we have to make a change, that Newman-Runyan-Myers isn't doing a decent job? I'm not seeing that in sack numbers. I see a little of it in rushing numbers, but we don't have Jones and that's a big part of that.

Here's what I think: I think the Packers feel their best offensive line, with Bakhtiari and Jenkins out, is Walker, Newman, Myers, Runyan , and Tom. I don't think they feel any urgency to move healthy vets out of the lineup in favor of somebody who has never played.

1 points
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mnbadger's picture

September 27, 2023 at 01:38 pm

I gave your comment a thumbs up because the Packers damn well better be starting the 5 BEST players that they see fit, as outlined in your 3rd paragraph.
However, I disagree with you and the Packers' decision makers on the best 5 for this year.
I agree with the author and with many of the posts that say let's give the young guys a fair shot.
If the current group of contenders aren't going to be good enough to start in 2024, let's figure that out now. Now is the time to discover what we have, not next August.
Makes Free Agency and draft much more useful if you have clear ideas of your needs.
GPG!

6 points
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CanPackFan's picture

September 27, 2023 at 07:33 pm

Haha. The coaches keep saying that they want the 5 best Olinemen out there - talk is cheap. So tell me why Myers continues to start at Center? Tom at center would be such a massive upgrade and toughen up our interior instantly. Yosh could take his tackle spot. Replace Newman finally with SR and then we would have something closer to our 5 best.

1 points
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Rarescope's picture

September 27, 2023 at 08:57 pm

"The coaches keep saying that they want the 5 best Olinemen out there - talk is cheap."

No freakin doubt. Every time I hear one of the Packers coaches say "best 5" since January 2022 I've wanted to punch them in the face.

0 points
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1
dblbogey's picture

September 27, 2023 at 03:55 pm

Are these the same decision makers who played Newman for 6 games before they finally realized he was killing them with bad play, while Zach Tom sat on the bench? Packers, if anything, have been too slow to let younger players play.

7 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2023 at 06:56 pm

Because you knew that Tom, as a rookie who had never played in the NFL, was better than Newman from day one. Maybe the coaches were looking at the situation and realized, at some point, that they were probably ahead with Tom.

You think these multi-million $$ decisions that impact the short and long term health of the team should be made with less concern about possible downsides. 100% disagree with you there.

-2 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 27, 2023 at 05:15 pm

Tom is not part of that, out with a knee. If his questionable designation turns into dressing tomorrow, hafta think he'll be on a snap count. Will be interesting to see who's playing both T positions. Newman has a history of being better at run blocking than pass pro, so if he hasn't been awful on passing downs that's a big improvement. I think he's credited with 4 QB hurries + 1 sack Sunday. Seems worth experimenting with Rhyan a little, see who does better.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2023 at 06:28 pm

Here's the thing, SST. Offensive line play involves people working together and there's an awful lot to be said for having the same guys together.

Experimenting with Rhyan isn't a bad idea, but the downside is that you're making changes, and IMO, the offensive line doesn't need change as much as it needs health. I'm not in favor of benching healthy starters because they "aren't good enough" by some weird metric; now, if we have the game safely in hand and we want to put him on the field, I'm fine with that. But not "let's experiment" and bench a healthy starter because you think/hope he'll be better, and won't make so many mistakes, etc.

Ever since before the draft, I've been painting this picture of Newman being a starter, and that took until Week 3. Our starting LT was on the PS last year. I never imagined this, and I certainly can't believe it's working. But until it stops, we shouldn't be shuffling it around.

Newman, Myers, and Runyan are staying healthy. Walker and Tom, too, until just recently. Newman took an entire week's reps at LG, and all the other guys have stayed together. I'm not sure why Nijman got passed by both Tom and Walker....two Day 3 guys.....but it has happened.

We're running out of decent healthy linemen. That's why you need a lot more than just 5 of them.

-1 points
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Packerpasty's picture

September 27, 2023 at 06:35 pm

And im with you on that...coaches watch these guys daily, they would put someone on the field if they thought he was the best option...fans have no idea how these guys perform day in and day out...

-1 points
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HarryHodag's picture

September 28, 2023 at 07:39 am

Spot on Leatherhead. This argument is akin to the dumb desire of some to play the backup quarterback when things are going south for the starter.

Reality: the player is a backup for a reason. I'm no fan of Newman, but it begs the question if SR was better than Newman you'd think he would be starting?
Part of WF's argument centers on the 'new data' methodology that some geek somewhere calculates and folks take as gospel. Humans aren't numbers, an argument that is lost on the younger generation.
The line has played well enough. Love hasn't been destroyed by rushers and the running game is suffering because Jones is hurt(again) and Dillon has lost a step.

-1 points
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TheVOR's picture

September 27, 2023 at 12:00 pm

How can a player improve without game experience. I agree, don't like Newsome, seen some pretty mediocre play from that dude, totally time for Sean Rhyan

10 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2023 at 12:46 pm

I'm not a Newman fan, but the guys who see him and Rhyan, day after day, doing the same drills, on the same practice field, think we're better off with Newman right now.

And again, the offense is averaging almost 25 ppg, and that's without Watson and Jones. I'm not sure that indicates that making changes is necessary, or better than just letting the current unit continue to gel. Everybody here seems to think they're smarter than the guys who have it right under their eyes, day after day.

1 points
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2
mnbadger's picture

September 27, 2023 at 01:41 pm

I'm still hoping the 2023 team goals are to build experience and answer questions about the current roster.
I'm looking for us to come out of this season with more answers than questions.
Also, more cap money than dead cap hits.
Wins are frosting, but SB is not on my radar if we don't address known deficiencies prior to 2024 season.
GPG!

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 27, 2023 at 05:19 pm

Exactly. Need to test the depth. Maybe that doesn't need to happen tomorrow, but it needs to happen sometime.

2 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 28, 2023 at 08:57 am

Mnbadger,
100% in agreement!

More than anytime in the past MLF is playing young players giving them experience. This will definitely help the Packers become the team we all hope for.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 01:44 pm

Newman in preseason was an example of a guy whom every expert acknowledged was worse than Rhyan. However, he has experience. You don’t think it’s safety not upside that’s driving this? I do.

Just as it was with Wyatt and others last year. That wasted time getting the then future (now) better. So here we should go repeating …. No. That’s a recipe for not failing, not one for improving.

Newman has not actually been the biggest problem in any of the games he’s played in this year. That’s when one knows that blind deference is a huge problem. Pick your poison, he’s been better than Runyon or Myers and Rhyan looked better than him consistently preseason. Yes, let’s just trust the coaches who gave us the switcheroo that cost a championship, the Newman/Hanson axis (Hanson at all) and one armed Nijman over Tom. Just no!

This is not a time where that makes sense at all. No, blind deference is an excuse not to think, not an answer. Inaction in face of an established problem is acceptance not a strategy to improve.

7 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 28, 2023 at 08:53 am

Coldwell,
Very well stated!

0 points
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Rarescope's picture

September 28, 2023 at 06:47 am

“ Everybody here seems to think they're smarter than the guys who have it right under their eyes, day after day.”

Normally I would agree with this statement but Amari Rodgers happened so….

1 points
1
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Oppy's picture

September 28, 2023 at 07:56 am

Everyone talks about Amari Rodgers like the Packers held onto him for years and years, refusing to "admit they made a mistake".

Amari was drafted in April 2021, his first game played in the NFL was September 2021. Amari was claimed off waivers by the cowboys November 2022.

The Packers moved up to grab him in the 3rd round and straight-out cut him a year and a half later. This front office isn't as slow to move on as people make it.

-1 points
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1
Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2023 at 03:03 pm

Well, you could ask Love how he improved without playing….🥸

I know this: Men usually get stronger for a few years after college. Sometimes, is as simple as that.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 04:37 pm

But they haven’t

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2023 at 06:29 pm

Who hasn't? And how do you know this?

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 07:00 pm

Myers, Runyon and Newman are not obviously playing stronger than when they were rookies. If it’s not obvious, it’s not material if not just wishful thinking.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2023 at 07:47 pm

In your opinion. The strength coach, who keeps records, would know. I know I was much stronger at 25-26 than I was at 22. So we’re both of my sons. So is pretty much everybody I’ve ever known. But your omniscience allows you to see that none of those guys is “playing stronger”. Cool. I’m not convinced.

0 points
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dblbogey's picture

September 27, 2023 at 03:57 pm

First time I've ever agreed with the VOR.

0 points
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Ya_tittle's picture

September 27, 2023 at 12:14 pm

I agree

0 points
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jvole's picture

September 27, 2023 at 01:22 pm

Another Lafleur (or Barry) overvaluing experience vs. promise example: Lowry over Wyatt last season. Wyatt should have gotten more snaps.

12 points
12
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 27, 2023 at 01:47 pm

"LaFleur has a long track record of overvaluing experience on the offensive line: he chose Lane Taylor over Elgton Jenkins, Rick Wagner over Yosh Nijman, and Yosh Nijman over Zach Tom. This is nothing new."

And he chose "experience" over the more talented Yosh during the NFCC by playing the lumbering Dennis Kelly in the 13-10 playoff loss to the 49ers in Lambeau Field.

I would be shocked if MLF would change the OL from last week if Bakht again takes a seat. So Walker, Newman, Myers, JRJ, and hopefully Tom will likely start.

For a guy coaching the youngest team in the NFL, MLF sure loves "experience". Ask Joe Barry. Some confuse experience as talent and ability.

"Beware over-weighting experience", a business mentor once told me. "Experience can translate into older employees nodding wisely but speaking and acting foolishly."

4 points
5
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MooPack's picture

September 27, 2023 at 03:36 pm

"Some confuse experience as talent and ability."
- Ding, ding, ding!!

2 points
2
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 27, 2023 at 04:30 pm

exactly. those 13-3 seasons prove MLF knows nothing about putting winning teams/players on the field. that guy sucks.

-3 points
1
4
canadapacker's picture

September 27, 2023 at 01:54 pm

Everything that I saw of Ryhan in preseason was horrible and that was against other teams 2's and 3's - Now he is coming along and I dont know when or how you sneak him in but there must be a way. Now I would also like this staff to be more creative. With these 2 big guys Rhyan and Caleb Jones - what about some goalline JUMBO packages - I mean if Phillie can do it why not us - or at least do something creative with these guys.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 27, 2023 at 05:25 pm

I card for that last year, put Mt Caleb and Tenuta at G on 3rd and short, give Quadzilla the ball and have a TE push him from behind. Get those two on film to be able to better develop them. Instead Mt Caleb has still never played an NFL down.

1 points
2
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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 07:04 pm

Rhyan was better than Newman and Myers (though not a C). He improved over the preseason. Great no, but he made visible strides and is a more physical presence than either or Runyon.

0 points
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TxFred's picture

September 27, 2023 at 02:42 pm

The weakest part of this year's team is their Oline.They have to be better at run blocking. Period. If not, it's chuck 'n duck crap here on out. One deminionsal will not cut in this league. JL will get his head handed to him.

2 points
3
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 27, 2023 at 05:27 pm

Their pass protection is good, but the lack of road graders at C and RG is what stalls our run game, not #28.

3 points
4
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TXCHEESE's picture

September 27, 2023 at 04:26 pm

Talent vs. Experience. It doesn't help if you run circles around the other guy, if you're running in the wrong direction. Only 3 games in, but it's not out of the question for GB to win the division. Experimenting with guys who may or may not be the best option, may get your QB shuffled to the IR, and prematurely take your team out of the race. In comparing pressure rates you also have to account for who's on the other side of the line of scrimmage. I'm betting the right tackle for NO would have graded better if he had been facing someone other than Rashan Gary on passing downs last week.

Above someone stated that 2023's goal should be evaluation. No, it should be about winning. That's what a professional sports team's main goal should be every year. If things go south record wise, then see what you have with the 2nd tier players. MLF and his staff have coached WAY more football than probably everyone on this site, and for sure have coached more NFL football than anyone here. I bet they have a better idea who to play and not to play.

3 points
3
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 27, 2023 at 04:33 pm

You'd think there might be greater consideration paid to keeping the quarterback alive.

But that would be underestimating the coaches and gm's on this site.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 04:41 pm

Nijman kept Rodgers upright. Walker and Nijman have already protected Love on the blind side. Tom has. Let’s not forget this. Let’s also recognize that a running game, particularly between the tackles is also a considerable help in keeping the rush off QBs.

0 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 27, 2023 at 05:32 pm

"I bet they have a better idea who to play and not to play."

They obviously don't. They've made poor choices for years, and not once have they made an in-game adjustment in timely fashion. Last season it took what, 6+ WEEKS to finally make the obviously needed change to the O line?

4 points
4
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Qoojo's picture

September 27, 2023 at 06:36 pm

Bakh is starting to turn into a double whammy. Salary is like dead money and he takes a roster spot.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 27, 2023 at 07:09 pm

I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if he retires in season, certainly it’s not out of the question. I’m just assuming that if he plays it will be a surprise when it happens and probably widely intermittent.

0 points
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packerfanroy's picture

September 27, 2023 at 07:10 pm

I wonder if there is an 'understanding the playbook' element to this. I think modern NFL playbooks are alot more detailed with a lot more volume than the regular fan realizes. Coaches probably dont have the time to sit there with flash cards and make sure every player on the roster knows all the details. They might leave that to the player, quiz them on their knowledge then use practice time to adjust the players application of the playbook instructions. Newman might have the details of the playbook down but have trouble applying them to the game. Rhyan might not know the playbook enough to warrant playing time, yet. Again, I dont know if thats the case but it seems like it would make sense.

1 points
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THESZOTMAN1's picture

September 27, 2023 at 07:35 pm

Sorry, but Newman's lost. We need a new man at LG. Give Ryhan a shot.
The Szotman

1 points
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pantz_bURp's picture

September 27, 2023 at 08:18 pm

What is #69 adding to the team? Since he isn't practicing and not playing, what is he doing to help his teammates that can play? He is getting paid for possibly being able to get back on the field to help the team. This has been a couple years+ now.

I am done waiting...

XXXs and OOOs,

BURPalicious

0 points
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GregC's picture

September 27, 2023 at 09:11 pm

It would be interesting to see Rhyan get a shot, but this seems like a murky situation, given that neither player has looked particularly impressive. I suppose Rhyan has more upside than Newman because he's younger, but he might have more downside too. The coaching staff is probably defaulting to sticking with Newman for now because the O-line's pass blocking overall has been quite good, and they don't want to mess with the chemistry by replacing a player with one who doesn't look significantly better.

0 points
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Ritzy's picture

September 27, 2023 at 10:51 pm

it's hard to fathom that offensive line depth was considered a team strength going into this season. Newman, Myers and Runyan are lousy run blockers thus running up the middle isn't working. We need a decent running game against the Lions but I don't see it happening. The answer eventually might be moving to Tom to left guard and Nijman to right tackle until Jenkins returns. Or give Ryhan some snaps at left guard.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 28, 2023 at 09:28 am

I didn't think our Oline depth was a team strength. I liked our starters, but I kept saying "Newman is our #7." Newman, Myers, and Runyan are not lousy run blockers. That's a myth.

0 points
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