Packers will be without left tackle Elgton Jenkins against 49ers due to ankle injury
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers won't have Elgton Jenkins protecting their MVP quarterback’s blind side Sunday night when they play at the San Francisco 49ers.
Jenkins was ruled out Saturday after being listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report Friday because of a bad ankle that has kept him out of practice this week. His loss relegates the Packers to a third-string left tackle, though that might not be the only musical chairs on their offensive line.
Jenkins’ absence this week is surprising considering he played all 65 snaps in Monday night’s victory against the Detroit Lions. The Pro Bowler played so well on his injured ankle that Packers coach Matt LaFleur didn’t even know when the injury occurred.
LaFleur said it wasn’t until after the game that he was informed of the injury.
“I can’t even think of what play it was,” LaFleur said, “but I know it happened based on what everybody told me, and he gutted it out. Because I didn’t notice a drop-off in his play at any point. So he just sucked it up and gutted it out for his teammates.”
Packers tight end Dominique Dafney (hip) also was ruled out Saturday and placed on injured reserve
For the 49ers, defensive end Arik Armstead (adductor) was listed as questionable Friday after being limited in practice.
With Jenkins unavailable, the most likely alternative might be sliding right tackle Billy Turner to the left side. Turner played left tackle a handful of times last season, including the final three games after David Bakhtiari tore his ACL late in the season. The veteran right tackle was particularly effective on the blind side in the Packers' win at the Chicago Bears in Week 17 as well as their NFC divisional round playoff victory against the Los Angeles Rams.
Dennis Kelly likely would replace Turner at right tackle. The Packers signed Kelly midway through training camp to provide veteran depth on the right side. Kelly, a ninth-year veteran, started all 16 games at right tackle for the Tennessee Titans last season. He played 11 games with five starts at right tackle in 2018 when LaFleur was the Titans' offensive coordinator.
While Jenkins’ absence could stress the offensive line, LaFleur said it will be up to every position on the field to compensate for the loss.
“It’s a collective effort across not only the offensive line, but everybody has got to be on point," LaFleur said. "Especially whether it’s in the run or the pass, but especially in the passing game when you’re talking about disruptive edge rushers. Everybody else has a responsibility to be where they need to be within the timing of a play. The quarterback has a responsibility to make sure he’s working within his progressions in terms of the rhythm and timing of what the play is meant to be. So it puts a little extra on everybody."