Packers counting on offensive line versatility to get them through start of season

Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner at practice on August 2, 2021.
Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner at practice on August 2, 2021.(WSAW)
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 9:10 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WSAW) -The Packers will open 2021 without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who’s still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last December.

But this team has a type when it comes to offensive lineman: versatility. That should help soften the blow until Bakhtiari comes back.

“It’s huge,” says head coach Matt LaFleur on the versatility in the O-line room. “Because it allows us to get the best combination of guys out there on a weekly basis.”

“To be honest with you, our coaches since I’ve been here have done a great job of preparing all of us to be able to step in at different positions and to know what we’re doing,” said Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner.

Turner would know, he played every position on the line except center last season. That’s one spot less than Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins, who lined up everywhere in the trenches at some point.

Having interchangeable parts such as Turner and Jenkins makes LaFleur’s job much easier.

“When you have a guy that can really play four of the five positions, and then you got another guy like Elgton who can play all five, it just frees you up to make sure you get your best five out there.”

Turner, thought of as a right guard when the Packers signed him in 2019, knows this song and dance.

“I learned a long time ago that I can not approach any season with expectations of playing any position,” he says with a laugh. “It’s the same year in, and year out.”

Something else that’s the same year in and year out? The expectations in offensive line coach and Marshfield native Adam Stenavich’s room.

“The Green Bay Packers, there’s a standard for offensive line play,” Turner says. “And all the older guys in the room let the younger guys know that from day one. As soon as they walk into this building or walk into that room, there is a standard.”

On Monday it was Turner at right tackle and Jenkins at left tackle with the starters.

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