The Green Bay Packers have been trying to find their way so far this season. They got off on a very bad foot, getting blown out by the New Orleans Saints, which was followed by a lot of media shots at Aaron Rodgers. They followed that up with a solid win over the Detroit Lions to get back on track. Now they’ll try to prove they’re still headed in the right direction when they take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday evening.
When they do, however, they’ll be without one of their starting offensive linemen. Starting left tackle Elgton Jenkins will not be available to play in the game due to an ankle injury.
Packers’ G Elgton Jenkins (ankle) has been downgraded to out for Sunday night’s game against San Francisco.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 25, 2021
Jenkins was himself filling in for David Bakhtiari, the All-Pro who has been on the PUP list for the duration of the season so far. That leaves the Packers in need of a new starting left tackle.
That new starter appears to be third-year offensive lineman Yosh Nijman. While the Packers are pretty mum about their starting plans, plenty of signs seem to point to Nijman, who played college at Virginia Tech and has been with Green Bay since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2019. Per Pro Football Focus, he played 138 snaps at left tackle in three preseason games this year and allowed just two total pressures while getting strong grades as a run-blocker.
Nijman has appeared in 18 games for the Packers, mostly on special teams, and has never started a game for them. In fact, his inclusion in the starting lineup could make for a rather dubious stat:
If Yosh Nijman starts at left tackle, and we assume Jon Runyan and rookies Josh Myers and Royce Newman also start, the Packers will go into Sunday night against the 49ers with four starting offensive linemen without a true road start in the NFL.
— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) September 26, 2021
All of which is especially disconcerting for Aaron Rodgers since Nijman will be lining up against pass-rushing powerhouse Nick Bosa, making this a true trial by fire for the 26-year-old.