Packers offensive line ready for challenge against Vikings
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers, and their revamped offensive line, didn’t waste time in looking ahead to Sunday night’s matchup at Minnesota.
“About 35 seconds ago,” center J.C. Tretter said on Monday afternoon, about 24 hours after the Packers held off the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-23 for a season-opening victory.
“That’s when we left the meeting room. We’re done with Jacksonville. Now, we’re on to Minnesota.”
The Vikings will provide a formidable test for Green Bay’s offensive line, which had to deal with the release of guard Josh Sitton on Sept. 3.
Minnesota’s defense dominated Tennessee in its opening game, holding the Titans to 64 rushing yards.
While the Vikings allowed 16 points, linebacker Eric Kendricks (interception) and defensive end Danielle Hunter (fumble) provided touchdowns in a nine-point road victory.
Sitton’s replacement, left guard Lane Taylor, fared well in his third career start.
On a tone-setting fourth-and-1 on the opening series, he and left tackle David Bakhtiari delivered the key blocks on Eddie Lacy’s 9-yard run that set up the opening touchdown.
“I was ready for it,” said Taylor, who started at left guard in last season’s Week 17 home loss to Minnesota, which ended the Packers’ five-year reign atop the NFC North. “I’ve played before and I know what it’s like. I was ready to go.”
On Sunday, Taylor squared off frequently against the Jaguars’ prized offseason signing, defensive tackle Malik Jackson. Taylor was up to the task. While he allowed a couple of pressures, he played a key role in Green Bay allowing one sack.
“It was great,” Rodgers said of the protection after the game. “I think I screwed them on that one (sack). The last thing you want to do is take a 0-yard run because that counts as a sack. I thought the protection was very good and I thought Lane played really well. I’m happy.
“The line as a whole played great. (The pass rush) seemed to be high and wide on the outside and the middle (of the pocket) was very firm. That’s just how you like it.”
Minnesota’s defense might not be the only challenge for Green Bay.
Cornerback Sam Shields suffered a concussion during the fourth quarter on Sunday. Shields also suffered a concussion late last season, which kept him out of the final three regular-season games and the playoff win at Washington.
“Anytime any of our players is in the protocol and dealing with a concussion, it’s a concern,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday.
“That’s why we’ll evaluate Sam each and every day to make sure he’s healthy and goes through the challenges of what he’s dealing with. It’s a protocol. I think they do a great job, particularly our doctors, of taking it one step at a time. We definitely are aware of his history and that will factor in on how we move forward.”
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