The Green Bay Packers had to make another last-minute adjustment to their offensive line, this time just 90 minutes before their matchup with the Buffalo Bills. After landing on the injury report with a foot injury, Elgton Jenkins was ruled out for Sunday’s game, paving the way for rookie Zach Tom to make his second career start.
Last week, Tom filled in at left tackle in place of David Bakhtiari after he experienced some discomfort in his surgically repaired knee the day before the team faced the Washington Commanders. Tom did a solid job against the Commanders’ pass rush, not allowing a single pressure in 41 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. His performance earned him the highest grade among Green Bay’s offensive linemen.
This week presented a new challenge for Tom, who was once again asked to step in for another Pro Bowler. Before the injury, Jenkins was scheduled to make his second start in a row at left guard after making five consecutive starts at right tackle. Jenkins had struggled in those five starts at tackle, which urged the team to move him back to left guard, where he was a Pro Bowler in 2020.
Jenkins was a limited participant in practice on Thursday and Friday before being listed as questionable on the final injury report. He went through pre-game warmups in Buffalo but was eventually ruled inactive.
Tom was the obvious choice due to his play last week and because he played 49 snaps at left guard in the final preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The fourth-round pick got off to a rocky start against the Bills after he missed a block that allowed Aaron Rodgers to get sacked on the first series. The negative play forced the Packers into a 3rd and 15 and led to a turnover on downs.
However, Tom did eventually settle in. He did an outstanding job as a run blocker to help Green Bay’s rushing attack total 208 yards on the ground. Despite giving up a sack and a pair of pressures, Tom received the second-highest grade along the Packers’ offensive line behind only Bakhtiari.
Known for his versatility coming out of Wake Forest, Tom’s skillset is already paying off in a big way for Green Bay. It will be interesting to see if he remains with the starters once everyone is healthy.