Green Bay Packers tackle Yosh Nijman is well-prepared to be a full-time starter

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
View Comments

GREEN BAY – If Yosh Nijman isn’t the Green Bay Packers’ starting right tackle Sunday at Washington, it probably will come as a surprise to the Washington Commanders.

After the offensive line’s disastrous performance in a 27-10 loss to the New York Jets, Nijman is poised to move into the starting lineup and try to provide an upgrade.

“I don’t know if I’ll play Sunday, you’ll have to talk to coach (Matt) LaFleur about that,” Nijman said. “But wherever it is, I’ll be ready.”

The Jets loss Sunday was the offensive line’s worst performance this season. The Jets’ front dominated the line of scrimmage. Up and down the line there was poor technique, lack of awareness and poor teamwork, and it showed in the four sacks and six quarterback knockdowns it allowed.

Green Bay Packers tackle Yosh Nijman blocks Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter during the season opener.

Nijman was one of the guys who did not take part in that performance.

For the first time this season, he did not play a meaningful snap, coming into the game at left tackle for four plays only after quarterback Jordan Love went in for the final series. The previous five weeks, he had started twice and shared time with David Bakhtiari, who since Week 3 has been gradually working up to playing a full game after a long absence due to a knee injury.

All told, Nijman has played 197 snaps at left tackle.

He’s more than ready to start again, it will just be on the other end of the offensive line. Moving him to right tackle would allow Elgton Jenkins to return to guard, the position at which he played most of his first two years and earned a Pro Bowl honor in 2020.

Jenkins has struggled at right tackle and starting right guard Royce Newman has struggled even more, so the logical move would be to replace Newman and add Nijman to the mix. Nijman gave up two quarterback hits and four pressures during the bulk of his playing time the first three weeks, so it hasn’t been a slam dunk decision for the coaching staff.

But they must do something to prevent a repeat of Sunday when they play at Washington.

More:Silverstein: Aaron Rodgers' insinuations don't yet mirror Packers' 2018 drama, but stay tuned

Nijman played right tackle his senior year at Virginia Tech and has worked there on the scout team and previous training camps with the Packers. The biggest challenge in moving from left tackle is that he would be reversing his stance and hand placement when he’s pass blocking.

“It’s pretty much just flipping your body from one side to the other,” he said. “You just have to put the plays in your head into your body.”

As for his experience as starter and part-time starter, Nijman said he grew from a mental standpoint. When Bakhtiari was in the game, he studied him and what the defensive end was doing and then went into the game and put what he learned into practice.

“It’s a mental game, but the most important thing about it is staying locked in when you’re on the sideline,” Nijman said. “If David’s in and I’m not in, I’m watching everything the defensive end does and what he does, and on the sideline we’re talking about it.

“My mindset is that I have to be ready to come in. I can’t get mentally to the point where I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to play at all.’ If I’m dressed, I’m on the sideline watching.”

Come Sunday, he should be doing more than just watching.

View Comments