After some really rough performances at left tackle, Green Bay Packers starting left tackle Rasheed Walker is finally headed to the bench, as coach Matt LaFleur is making the switch to Yosh Nijman mid game.
Packers fans asked for it, and they got it
Packers go to Yosh Nijman at left tackle. Tom to right tackle. Walker replaced.
— Dennis Krause (@DennisKrause1) October 29, 2023
After losing longtime star tackle David Bakhtiari for the rest of the season due to an early-season surgery on his knee, the Packers have really struggled to replace his production at the position. Even as he's aged, Bakhtiari has kept up his All-Pro caliber play whenever he's been on the field, and has served as an anchor for some good offensive lines in Green Bay, so he's definitely a major loss, but his availability has definitely become an issue in recent years.
The Green Bay offense got off to a lethargic start against Minnesota, due in no small part to some subpar play at the line of scrimmage. Nijman, a fourth-year pro out of Virginia Tech, played over 750 snaps last season and fared relatively well, although most of his opportunities came at right tackle. He does have some experience on the left side, clearly enough for LaFleur to trust him to sub in on the fly and replace Walker.
Walker, a rookie, was a very late draft pick from Penn State, as he went in the seventh round as the 249th overall pick. He was not expected to be the starter this season with Bakhtiari's major contract on the books, and things have not gone so well since he stepped into the position. Before getting benched, he allowed a big sack, and negated a third down conversion with a penalty.
Walker has had his moments, but was particularly bad in a very frustrating loss to the Broncos last week, which was doubtless a factor in LaFleur's decision. We'll see if the performance from Nijman will be any better, and if the Green Bay offense is able to wake up and perhaps help the team to a comeback win over a divisional rival.
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