After a few days of rotating between two specific offensive line combinations, the Green Bay Packers opened Tuesday’s padded practice with an interesting new wrinkle to the starting five.
According to beat reporter Jason Wilde, the Packers lined up with Yosh Nijman at left tackle, Jon Runyan Jr. at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Royce Newman at right guard and rookie Zach Tom at right tackle to open 11-on-11 team periods.
During previous practices, the Packers used Jake Hanson at right guard and Newman at right tackle or Tom at left tackle and Nijman at right tackle. This new combination is just the latest shuffling from Matt LaFleur and Adam Stenavich as the Packers try to find the best starting five with David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins both on the PUP list to start training camp.
Tom’s work on both sides of the offensive line at tackles is notable. He is bring cross-trained at several positions and hasn’t looked overwhelmed or out of place on the first-team line early in camp. The fact that he was on the starting group to open padded practices is probably a significant step.
Newman’s ability to play both right guard and right tackle provides more flexibility. He started 16 games at right guard as a rookie and will be in the competition to start there to open 2022, especially if Tom is a legitimate candidate to start at one of the tackle spots.
Nijman started eight games at left tackle last season and would likely be the top option should Bakhtiari miss games to start 2022.
The odd man out here is Hanson, a 2020 sixth-round pick who is still learning to play guard.
Do the Packers have any more first-team combinations to test out before preseason games? The performances during these padded practices will go a long ways in determining who is out there with the starting group when the Packers kick off the exhibition schedule next Friday in San Francisco.