Packers RT Dennis Kelly has been outstanding in place of Billy Turner

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  • Green Bay Packers
    Green Bay Packers
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  • Dennis Kelly
    Dennis Kelly
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  • Billy Turner
    Billy Turner
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  • Matt LaFleur
    Matt LaFleur
    American football coach

The Green Bay Packers have had multiple guys step up for injured players this season, but the latest is right tackle Dennis Kelly. So far, the veteran offensive lineman has done a seamless job filling in for Billy Turner. The Packers aren’t surprised at all.

“Dennis is the consummate pro,” said head coach Matt LaFleur, per Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. “I knew that when we got him.”

However, this season has not been like the eight others Kelly has seen in his career. Last year, he started all 16 games for the first time as a member of the Tennessee Titans. Kelly thought he played well, and the numbers agree. In 587 snaps in pass protection, Pro Football Focus showed that Kelly did not allow a single sack. He also did just fine in helping Titans running back Derrick Henry post career numbers.

Despite a good year, Tennessee released Kelly during the offseason to clear up cap space. Green Bay would then sign Kelly to a one-year deal at the start of training camp.

Like most of his career, Kelly was back to being a backup. Turner had played every snap at right tackle a year ago, and the team already had a plan to replace All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. Outside of a few special teams snaps, Kelly never saw the field. However, that quickly changed after Turner went down with a knee injury against the Chicago Bears in Week 14.

At that time, Kelly’s 47 career starts were more important than ever. He entered the game and played 42 snaps, not allowing a single quarterback pressure in the process.

“I thought Dennis Kelly did an outstanding job,” said LaFleur of Kelly’s performance.

Since then, it’s been much of the same. Kelly had a somewhat rocky outing the following week against the Baltimore Ravens, but since then, he has pitched two shutout performances. In back-to-back weeks, he has not allowed a single sack or pressure.

On Monday, LaFleur said Kelly has done “a fine job” and executed at a “pretty high level” at right tackle.

When Green Bay signed Kelly back in July, no one thought much of it. He was nothing more than a security blanket who hopefully wouldn’t have to play a snap. Well, much like the Rasul Douglas signing, this one is also paying dividends. Kelly hasn’t just been good, he’s been great.

Note: Kelly was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Monday.

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