Packers Offensive Line Needs to Take a Step Forward in 2024

There are plenty of question marks on Green Bay's offensive line entering training camp.

With Jordan Love at the helm, a deep corps of wide receivers to throw to and three talented running backs to hand the ball off to, the Packers offense is ready to roll.

There is one question mark remaining, and that lies with the offensive line.

The group performed reasonably well a year ago, thanks in large part to a pleasantly surprising high level of play from Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom at tackle. But entering 2024, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Starting at tackle, it is still to be decided who will protect Love’s blindside, after the selection of Jordan Morgan in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Walker performed better last season than anyone might have expected from a former seventh-round pick, but he was still only around a league average tackle. While there is value in that, the next question is whether he can take another step and become a true plus player.

Despite his draft pedigree, Packers fans shouldn’t necessarily bank on Morgan to be a significant contributor this season, whether that is at tackle or guard.

Green Bay are reluctant to throw rookies into the fire, and Matt LaFleur recently admitted Morgan has “a long way to go” from a mental standpoint.

On the interior, Elgton Jenkins and Josh Myers can likely be penciled in as starters at left guard and center respectively.

Myers’ up and down play has been well documented, and entering a contract year, this is his last chance to find consistency and show the Packers they were right to select him in the second round back in 2021.

With LaFleur married to his “best five” mantra, Myers could be replaced as a starter depending on how training camp plays out.

If Morgan is ready to start sooner than expected, it could free up either Tom or Jenkins to start at center. Rob Demovsky reported earlier this offseason that the Packers believe Tom could be a “Hall of Fame center”.

Jenkins meanwhile has been a good player for Green Bay, but since his ACL injury has not been quite the same. He is being paid to be one of the best guards in the NFL, and he hasn’t performed to that level since 2021. The Packers will be hoping he returns to peak form this year.

Then there is Sean Rhyan, the former third-round pick who finally saw the field for the first time in 2023 after a nightmare rookie year.

Green Bay began working him into the rotation with Jon Runyan Jr., who is now a Giant, and while he showed some promise, specifically in the run game, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Rhyan appears likely to be the week one starter at right guard, and the Packers are taking something of a leap of faith there.

Put it all together and there are questions to be asked all along the line, both in terms of who will be the starters, and how they will perform.

At this point, LaFleur and his coaching staff deserve the benefit of the doubt that they will indeed find a way to get their best five guys out there, and field a unit which is at worst serviceable.

With some improvement from the younger players in the room specifically, there is a world where the offensive line takes a real step forward and becomes a true strength of the team, but as we sit here in July, there are an awful lot of unknowns.

 

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @MarkOldacres

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Comments (42)

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

July 05, 2024 at 06:42 am

You said everything I’ve been thinking, Mark.
It’s my biggest concern/fear at this point.
Tom’s injury feels like it could potentially topple a house of cards.

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TKWorldWide's picture

July 05, 2024 at 07:50 am

I gotta agree, BUT, I do think GB has options.
Question: from what I’ve read, Dillard is more masher than dancing bear. Could he be in the mix at guard as well?

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 10:42 am

Too tall, lacks leverage for an interior guy.

edit... He is 6'5", that is certainly not too tall to move inside.

I am a WSU Coug myself and I really hope that Dillard can become a 4 position swing guy for the Packers. I always like rooting for former Cougs to excel in the NFL. I am even a Gardner Minshew fan!

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2024 at 02:19 pm

"Dillard is more masher than dancing bear."

Definitely not. He shot up draft boards because of the athleticism he showed at the combine, was considered a 3rd rounder before that.

https://x.com/MathBomb/status/1121606144923983872?t=hf4GHtcfL3v2LpvjxnH9...

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TKWorldWide's picture

July 05, 2024 at 03:09 pm

Aha! I am mistaken! Good thing I’m in familiar territory. 😉

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stockholder's picture

July 05, 2024 at 07:11 am

I don't see Walker as a issue.
I see Tom as a guy who might not hold -up.
Out against SF, when he was needed the most.
And now he's got a problem before camp.
Tinker all you want.
But Morgan should be used at RT his first year.
It won't be a demotion.
Several OL started on the right side before
they became an All - Pro.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 05, 2024 at 01:40 pm

He wasn't out. He was injured During the game. The guy they gave 4.3 M took over the spot and looked like Farmer Bob at the square dance trying to match up with Bosa and Young. If Tom is still recovering from the torn labrum, then Walker probably goes to the right side with Morgan playing the spot he was designed to fit. Donovan Jennings is another guy to keep an eye on. Glover will compete. They didn't guarantee much on Dillard's deal.

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Guam's picture

July 05, 2024 at 07:13 am

"Walker performed better last season than anyone might have expected from a former seventh round draft choice, but he was still only around a league average tackle."

That statement is factually completely accurate but misleading nonetheless.

Two years into a player's NFL career it is meaningless what his draft status was. Who cares whether he was a seventh rounder or a second rounder, it is how he played the last two years in the NFL that matters. Tagging him with that "seventh rounder" title improperly frames his potential heading into his third year in the league.

And yes Walker was only an average NFL tackle last year, but it was a tale of two halves. The first half of the season Walker was a below average tackle. The second half of the season and the playoffs he was an above average tackle. I don't know who the "real" Rasheed Walker is yet, but I don't think average is the right description. I am looking forward to training camp to see how he performs.

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TKWorldWide's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:03 am

I have no problem agreeing that Love’s play ascended beautifully last year. His improvement was quite linear, so I like his trajectory. Walker could be the same way, but I think it’s much harder for fans to assess the play of O-linemen. If the coaches have faith in Walker, why shouldn’t we?

Here’s a fun little mental gymnastic: take Love’s season ending stats. Keep them exactly the same, BUT, randomly sprinkle them over the course of the season. Great game, bad game, great game, bad game…you get it. In that case, we’d be arguing over his inconsistency, and does he deserve the big payday? But since his performance improved in a very linear fashion, we believe we’re set at QB. AGAIN.

GPG!

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BradHTX's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:31 am

“If the coaches have faith in Walker, why shouldn’t we?”

Wait… Are you suggesting that the professionals who work with these athletes every day know more than us commenters on an internet site?

Sir, this is a Wendy’s…

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BradHTX's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:38 am

On the other hand, this is a staff that continues to keep Royce Newman on the team.

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2024 at 09:40 am

As much as we dislike Royce Newman, the fact remains that he's a first contract OL with starting experience at G and T. We might not want him on the Packers' 53, but he's going to be on someone's 53 this season.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 10:44 am

God have mercy on the QB he is charged with protecting....

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:13 am

A couple of realities about NFL offensive lines:

1. No team has 5 pro bowlers on their Oline.
2. Pretty much every team has a Royce Newman on their roster.

I'm sure I'll get killed for this, but Newman is a serviceable backup lineman with NFL experience who adds depth to the line. Personally, I wouldn't be upset if he makes the 53, nor would I be particularly upset if he doesn't. Just means they found someone better.

But at the beginning of the season, he'll be on someone's 53.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:25 am

I can only hope that whoever's roster he is on, that the he gets some snaps versus the Packers!!!

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 05, 2024 at 12:01 pm

I believe the "serviceable backup" may be selling his services elsewhere this season. Morgan, Monk, Glover, and Dillard have likely assured his future travel plans.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 05, 2024 at 12:12 pm

There are very few things that are "assured" in the NFL, but that very well could be how things shake out. I believe that's what training camp and the pre-season is for.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 05, 2024 at 12:36 pm

That is true and why I wrote "likely assured". It may be Newman puts on the pads in TC and wows the coaches. I would be very pleased if this happens. But more unlikely than likely it does.

I do like the OL room right now. If the best 5 start and play cohesively, this could be one of the best Packer OL in years.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2024 at 02:24 pm

He's not serviceable at over $4 million for this year though. Let some other team pay him vet minimum.

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TKWorldWide's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:08 am

When the Packers picked Tony Mandarich (bear with me on this), for the first time in my life as a fan, I watched him and the O-line very closely. And, as we know, it wasn’t pretty. Do I still watch O-line that closely? No, but I do pay them SOME attention. I can’t say as I really have an evaluation of Walker, but to me he did NOT stick out as a weak link. For the most part I just listen to the coaches. I think they want the best O-line they can get just as much as the fans do.

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Razer's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:39 am

I like Guam's take on the " tale of two halves". Overall, the O-line performed poorly during the first half of the season and Love faced a ton of pressure. Missed assignments, sloppy technique and poor execution sabotaged the offense in the early going. By the second half, the line was playing better and the offense started to click. Learning LaFleur's offense was a big part of the improvement and consistent personnel was another factor. I think we have the talent in the room - we just need to find the 5 best...and get rid of Royce Newman.

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NoNonsense's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:41 am

While the off-season pectoral injury to Zach Tom is unfortunate, his game is based on elite athleticism and great technique not strength which could be most affected by the injury. Last year he excelled against the truly elite DEs he faced and had a pretty great season overall.

The only way I see him regressing is if the pec injury keeps him out of practice well into TC and the preseason. His injury occurred earlier than Kraft so I hope he can hit the ground running early in TC so he's best prepared to lock down the right side like he did so well last year. If he can improve his play than he will he among the truly elite at RT.

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HawkPacker's picture

July 05, 2024 at 09:27 am

I think the OL will take the next step. They ended the season playing pretty well together.

The issues appear to be the prior injury to Jenkins. Will he bounce back this year? I say yes he will as he is further away from that injury and he should be fine. Now the recent injury to the RT? According to what I have read at this point, he should be good before the regular season starts to that is good.

The only real issue is with Sean Ryan at RG. Can he play the position full time and who can back him up? He could work out for us this year as well.

I still am somewhat surprised with our taking of tackle in the draft as we appear to have a lot of developmental tackles on the 90 man roster and I would have hoped that someone would have taken a step, maybe Mt Caleb! Also, they signed another tackle-Dillard. I would have rather they signed that IOL guy from Duke who I believe was still available. Or they would have taken the do everything DB from Iowa. Either of these two made more sense to me at the time as I thought we were somewhat weak at CB/DB and IOL. However, apparently I am wrong on my thinking as almost always back the FO with the draft and FA signings.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 05, 2024 at 09:39 am

Returning the entire starting line and added a first round LT. I would suggest most teams in the NFL have more issues on the offensive line than we do.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2024 at 02:27 pm

Once again Rhyan had no starts and played 183 total snaps. Your 1st line is false.

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Matt's picture

July 05, 2024 at 09:55 am

I thought that in the second half of the season O-line was really our strenght and it doesn't need them to take a serious step forward do do that again. Start from the place they finished.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 10:52 am

I really like that throughout all of the hashing and rehashing of the OL possibilities the name of Jacob Monk is completely omitted.
from Packers.com:
Monk (6-3, 308) started 58 games at Duke, at three different positions, over five seasons. He started at right tackle as a true freshman in 2019, moved inside to right guard for the next two seasons, and then split his starts between right guard and center over the last two years.

According to Pro Football Focus, Monk allowed seven sacks as a freshman at right tackle, but after moving inside, he allowed only five sacks over four seasons and nearly 1,500 pass-blocking snaps. His last two years, PFF's totals were one sack allowed in 661 pass-blocking snaps.

Monk earned second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors last season and served as a team captain for the Blue Devils. He was honorable mention All-ACC the two previous years.

Monk had a RAS of 9.74 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 17 out of 619 OC from 1987 to 2024.

Monk is not to be relegated to the afterthoughts drawer. He is a real contender to challenge Josh Meyers THIS season for the starter role.

Large, athletic, interior technique, smart and a team captain and leader.

Whats not to like about Jacob Monk? I cant wait for the pads to come on and for Monk to start his NFL career.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 05, 2024 at 10:57 am

I like Jacob Monk, and during the course of the season he may surpass Myers, but Myers has started every game that he has suited up for. He's a veteran that knows tricks that Monk won't know for a while.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:03 am

I would sure like it if Meyers had the talent and athleticism to not need to resort to 'tricks' to get his job done... something he failed at far too often for me to be OK with his unopposed starting this season.

I just want whats best for the Packers. I havent been this sold on the teams upside in a loooooooong time, probably since coming off the 2010 SB win when they had a dozen good players coming off the DL, a full draft class and a SB winning roster returning.

That 2011 team went 15-1 and then got blindsided by the death of Philbins son the week before they sleep-walked through a disturbing uncharacteristically sloppy loss to the eventual SB champion NY Giant squad.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:10 am

JB, I think Myers does a lot of subtle things that don't show up in PFF, and he's rarely the reason we have a negative play. I also think that experience has a value.

He's in the last year of his deal, and he won't be back next year, but somebody else will be paying him $Millions. He's not Shemp Howard out there.

I remember that 2011 season. The offense was as close unstoppable as any offense that I've ever seen the Packers put on the field. And the death of Philbin's son wasn't a week before, it was like the day before. We turned it over 4 times. Out of synch, maybe?

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:21 am

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1017294-son-of-packers-offensive-coo...

Michael Philbin, son of Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, was found dead in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Monday.

Found on a Monday, the funeral was held the day before the game.

I will never be convinced that this very sad and disturbing event led to the loss to the Giants. The team did not look at all like the same team from the entire season.

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Packers0808's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:49 am

Did you write that 1st sentence in the last paragraph correctly. I have always and always will think the sons death directly affected the team.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 05, 2024 at 12:22 pm

15-1 was a track meet season.

Same story we have lived too often as Packer fans...Defense too often gave up scores almost as quickly as the Offense tallied them. But Rodgers was sublime and kept the team sprinting for wins. They were 7-1 in one score games.

Then gave up 37 points to the Giants in the playoffs. In Lambeau. Ugh.

Philbin's son was a shock and a tragedy. But it was not the reason for the Giants loss. D was flirting with disaster all season long.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2024 at 02:32 pm

The offense giving up four turnovers might have had something to do with those 37 points.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 04:29 pm

I messed up

NOT never, I meant forever...

The stoopid posting software wont let me edit it, says I am posting repetitive content and spamming... must be nagler at the controls...

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GregC's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:42 pm

It doesn't let you edit when you have a link in your post. I think you can trick it by removing the link, making the correction, and then adding the link back in. Something like that anyway. I haven't tried it myself.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 05, 2024 at 12:07 pm

Myers has been part of the two broken side by side links on the line.

He's OK in pass blocking, but his run blocking has been a liability. And the Packers have invested heavily in the run game. I truly believe Matt wants to make it a self evident team strength...and help Air Love to be even more prolific.

Monk is going to make it very difficult for Myers to stay at Center. I was high on his teammate at Duke, Barton. But it seems Monk may have been the better player.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2024 at 02:37 pm

Agree on Myers and I'm not sure why they haven't given him occasional snaps at guard. Wahle showed film of him repeatedly whiffing trying to block linebackers but doing ok with blocks right in front of him. He basically said he does well blocking a player that is on his tracks but really struggling with agile defenders.

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Turophile's picture

July 05, 2024 at 01:38 pm

I'm not worrying that much about who the starters on the O line will be and where, not to mention possible in-season changes as the picture steadily clarifies in training camp, then preseason, then regular season. It will sort itself out in time.

I'm just hoping there isn't too much cycling of two players at one position during the season. Maybe some, but the line needs to be relatively stable to allow each of the five starters time to know the players either side of them so everyone tends to be on the same page on any given play.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 04:36 pm

but Turo... the line came together in spite of Runyon and Rhyan splitting time.

There needs to be cohesion on the line for sure, but... if a talented player works in practice to integrate into the existing 'chemistry' of the current line, he should be able to step in with little to no skipping of beats.

I have faith that Butkus is getting better and that Steno can keep the tune easily available to the entire OL rooms occupants. I like this group and truly believe that there are 8-10 individuals that can become a cohesive unit whether or not they take the first snap of the game.

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TheTaxiSquad's picture

July 05, 2024 at 06:28 pm

I’m not worried about the O-line at all. Excited about it actually. They were good last year and will be better this year through additions and experience. The only questions are who plays where, and I trust ML, Steno and Luke Butkus to get that right.

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Turophile's picture

July 06, 2024 at 03:28 am

One thing about the title of this piece - that
'The O line needs to take a step forward in 2024'.

If they prove to be as good as they were towards the end of last season..........but no better........ they wouldn't actually be that bad.

Perhaps a better title would be "The Packers O line needs to be at least as good as they were, late last year". Yeah, that isn't a very snappy headline, I'll admit that.

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