Matt LaFleur explains why Packers started Yosh Nijman at left tackle vs. 49ers

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Two factors went into Yosh Nijman making his first NFL start at left tackle for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

First, the configuration of the offensive line during the week of practice and not knowing if Elgton Jenkins could play through an ankle injury. And second, the impressive work Nijman did during the preseason.

Coach Matt LaFleur said the Packers used Nijman at left tackle and had the four other starters – including right tackle Billy Turner – remain at their primary positions throughout the week of prep for the 49ers. The idea was to keep everyone settled in place in case Jenkins could recover enough to play.

And Nijman proved he was ready to play.

“I think Yosh earned it. Shoot, he had a really good preseason. And he did it against good competition. He was going against other team’s ones in Buffalo and the Jets. So I think he earned it,” LaFleur said Monday.

When Jenkins was ruled out on Saturday, the Packers entrusted Nijman with protecting the blindside of Aaron Rodgers against one of the best pass-rushers in football.

An extended look over three preseason games helped inform the team’s decision.

Nijman was one of the Packers’ best players during the preseason. He played 138 snaps at left tackle and gave up only two pressures despite playing starters from both the Jets and Bills.

On Sunday night in San Francisco, Nijman didn’t give up a pressure but was penalized twice over 63 snaps. The Packers gave him plenty of help against Nick Bosa but Nijman survived the night without a major blocking incident. Chips from Aaron Jones and Robert Tonyan played a big part in the protection plan on the left side.

“Once he settled in, I thought he did a really nice job,” LaFleur said.

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