GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers right guard Royce Newman has played 646 snaps from scrimmage. That’s the third-most among all rookie offensive linemen.
There have been growing pains.
“I would say he’s inconsistent,” offensive line coach Adam Stenavich said after Wednesday’s practice. “There are improvements, definitely. He’s done a lot of good things. But there’s definitely been some inconsistencies that he’s just going to have to keep working through. Plays hard and he’s working at it, so it’s just a matter of fixing his errors, fixing his fundamentals and just making him a better-rounded player.”
According to Pro Football Focus, eight rookie guards have played at least 175 snaps. Of that select group, Newman ranks third in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency, which measures sacks, hits and hurries per pass-protecting snap.
Overall, of the 75 guards at that 175-snap threshold, Newman ranks 51st in PFF’s protection metric. That shows, just like players at every other position, it’s difficult to play consistently winning football as a rookie lineman, who often are tasked with blocking stronger and more polished defenders.
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Thus, Stenavich saw the inconsistency coming when the decision was made at the end of training camp to put Newman in the starting lineup.
“I feel like once he was out there, there was definitely going to be some things that he has to work through, and he is,” Stenavich said. “And that’s where you see the steady little slow improvements, but that’s stuff that he’s just got to keep ironing out is making sure, especially his fundamentals are good.”
The inconsistency came to the forefront the last two weeks. Coming off a poor performance at Kansas City, he had perhaps his best game vs. Seattle.
After playing every offensive snap the first 10 weeks, a decision is looming. Once David Bakhtiari returns to the lineup at left tackle, Stenavich will be able to move Bakhtiari’s replacement, Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins, to another spot. That might be at center, where rookie Josh Myers is on injured reserve following knee surgery. If that’s the case, will it be a player-for-player switch, with Jenkins replacing Lucas Patrick? Or will Jenkins replace Patrick and Patrick replace Newman?
The investment in Newman, with all those snaps under his belt, and his upside will be part of that discussion. As a run blocker, he hasn’t allowed a single stuff – a tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage – according to Sports Info Solutions. He’s second among the aforementioned eight rookie guards in SIS’s Total Points metric in the run game, as well.
“Once he fixes those fundamental errors and fundamental concerns,” Stenavich said, “he’s going to be a really solid player in this league.”