Finally feeling healthy, Packers LG Elgton Jenkins looks like old self

Green Bay Packers guard Elgton Jenkins is finally feeling like his old self following an early season knee injury, and his play on the field the last two weeks has reflected that.

Over the Packers’ last two games, Jenkins has surrendered only on pressure and no sacks. Out of 50 eligible guards during that span, Jenkins ranks second in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency metric. He also ranks 11th among that same group of players in run-blocking grade.

“Right now,” said Jenkins at his locker on Wednesday, “I’m feeling good. Knee is feeling good. Really feeling like I’m healthy and things like that. Really, just going forward, it’s going to be Big-E ballin’. We’re just going to be ballin’.”

Jenkins suffered an MCL sprain in Week 2 against Atlanta and exited that game early. He would miss Green Bay’s next two games against New Orleans and Detroit, but following a mini-bye week, he returned for a matchup with the Raiders.

However, in Jenkins’ first two games back, he allowed five pressures. In those same metrics as referenced above, Jenkins ranked 27th out of 35 guards in Weeks 5 and 7 in pass-blocking efficiency and 31st in run-blocking grade.

“Honestly, I don’t like to tell myself I’m injured or I’m hurt,” added Jenkins. “Especially with where we’re at, I just want to be out there with my team. When I did come back, it was probably a time where I shouldn’t have, to be honest.”

Not only did Jenkins give up multiple pressures against Las Vegas and Denver but he struggled in key moments at the end of each game. With the Packers in Raiders’ territory and Christian Watson running wide open to the end zone down the left sideline, Jenkins was beat by his defender, which forced Love out of the pocket rather than getting rid of the ball on time. Then, against Denver, with the Packers on the cusp of field goal range at the end of the game, Jenkins was called for a holding penalty that put the offense in second-and-20.

Both potential game-winning drives for Green Bay ended in Jordan Love interceptions. Now, this isn’t to say that if Jenkins makes that block or isn’t flagged, the Packers win both games–we don’t know how that would have affected the outcomes. But what we do know is that those two plays didn’t help this offense.

”I don’t give myself grace at all because when you go out there you’ve got to get the job done,” Jenkins said. “It’s hard. It’s a very challenging thing to go out there and play injured. But I just be trying to do what’s going to be able to help the team. What’s going to get us that W on Sunday.”

Without David Bakhtiari at left tackle, Jenkins — a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro caliber player — has to be the stabilizing force on the offensive line unit. Not surprisingly, without Jenkins against Detroit an Jenkins struggling in those Las Vegas and Denver games, the entire Packers offensive line unit did as well.

As we saw this past Sunday against Los Angeles, success for Love and the offense as a whole begins with the play of the offensive line. A run game to lean on keeps the offense out of obvious passing situations and takes the playmaking burden off of Love and the young receivers. With time in the pocket, the receivers had more time to create separation, and Love was more decisive and a better decision-maker.

With good offensive line play a must for Love and the Green Bay offense, it’s difficult to envision a world where this unit is playing well that doesn’t also include Jenkins playing at a high level.

“It definitely be hard, be challenging on the mind and things like that,” said Jenkins. “Then when you come around and when you feel healthy, you’re like, now I’m back. Last game, in warmup, I was like I feel good. It was like first time I could really say I feel good going into a game, and I was like alright, it’s time to do it. Just got to keep being consistent with it, rehab and all of that.”

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire

Previous post Dozens of Chinese ships chase Philippine vessels as US renews warning it will defend its treaty ally
Next post Global Funds Look Beyond Short-Sale Ban to Snap Up Korean Stocks