Despite a dismal performance from the offense overall, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had no issues with the way his reconfigured offensive line played in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. In fact, he was quite pleased with the performance from the five starters to open the season.
“I feel like the offensive line played really well,” Rodgers told “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday. “I feel like Elgton (Jenkins) played really good at left tackle and Billy (Turner) at right tackle. The interior guys, the two rookie guys played really well. And Lucas Patrick. The protection was solid. I gifted one sack, and that was it, on a keeper. I feel like the protection was pretty good.”
The Packers offensive line allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits over 41 pass-blocking opportunities. At Pro Football Focus, the Packers were the second-highest graded pass-blocking offensive line in the NFL in Week 1.
Rodgers said he “didn’t take many shots” and took blame for the one sack. Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport was intentionally unblocked on a designed rollout, but Rodgers had to hold the ball and take the sack when the play didn’t develop down the field and Davenport closed the space in a hurry.
The Packers offensive line sits directly in the spotlight to start the season after losing All-Pro center in free agency and not having All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari (PUP list) for the first six games. Jenkins made his first start at left tackle in place of Bakhtiari and was excellent. Rookies Josh Myers and Royce Newman started on the interior and went through typical ups and downs for first-year players.
All things considered, the protection for Rodgers could have been a lot worse in Week 1, especially considering the game flow and how many times the Packers attempted to pass the football while down big on the scoreboard.
Pressure did cause the game-changing interception to start the second half, however. Rookie Royce Newman got beat clean by Cameron Jordan, who forced Rodgers to step up into the pocket and hurry a throw to Davante Adams running the shallow cross from right to left. A painful shot to a sensitive body part played a role in the bad throw, per Rodgers.
Overall, Rodgers was under pressure on 10 of his drop backs against the Saints. He completed just two passes and had an interception while under pressure. Unfortunately for the Packers, Rodgers also wasn’t any good from clean pockets.