On Packers’ OL unit where versatility is key, Josh Myers’ sole focus is on center

By: Paul Bretl 5/14/24

Versatility is a hallmark element of the Green Bay Packers offensive line, providing them with seemingly endless combinations when it comes to constructing the starting five. However, for Josh Myers, his sole focus is on playing center.

“We need depth, so we’re going to cross-train them all,” said offensive line coach Luke Butkus. “Obviously, Josh Myers is our center but as far as everybody else, we’re going to cross-train them and put the best five out there. It’s competition so it’s making everybody better.”

Myers has battled up and down play throughout his career with the Packers, which is why, particularly over the last year, his role as the starting center has been brought into question, at least from those outside of the organization.

As last season progressed, much like the rest of the offense, Myers’ play improved. In five of the Packers final six games of the season, Myers allowed just three combined pressures and one sack. In the previous 13 games, he allowed four sacks and 19 pressures.

In total, Myers ranked 19th out of 38 centers in pass-blocking efficiency and 33rd in PFF’s run-blocking grade.

“Just to continue to grow, just like our expectations for everybody,” said Butkus. “Every day, get better. That’s where Josh excelled last year. He did get better as the year went on and he had command of this offense and took charge, was a little bit more vocal toward the end in commanding this offense. So, what do we need from him? Just to get better every single day. Keep improving.”

Although Myers’ play on the field is going to garner most of the attention – and understandably so – as offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich has pointed out, and what can go unnoticed, is the leadership role that Myers took on last season within the offensive line room. 

Also, not to be forgotten about, is Myers’ rapport with Jordan Love, along with his ability pre-snap to identify blitzes and communicate protection responsibilities so that everyone is on the same page. Of course, at the end of the day, a player has to perform on the field, but at the center position, all of these other elements matter as well.

All offseason, GM Brian Gutekunst has harped on the importance of competition within each position group. While Myers’ sole focus this summer will be on playing only center, that doesn’t necessarily mean he is just going to be handed that starting job either.

The Packers draft class has provided them with a few potential options when it comes to challenging Myers. From the sounds of it, Jordan Morgan will begin at left tackle, where he spent his college career. But regardless of whether it is Morgan or Rasheed Walker who wins that battle, the other could slide over to right tackle, allowing Zach Tom to potentially move to center.

Fifth-round pick Jacob Monk has the versatility to play all three interior offensive line positions, but at the NFL level, he could be at his best playing center, potentially challenging Myers this summer.

“It’s a great deal, man,” added Butkus. “Drafting three guys that we brought in and the two free agents that we brought in but, just like anything else, it’s May. What we’re going to try to do is put the best five out there. I think Steno says this, Matt says it, as a group, collectively, we’ll decide which five are out there. 

“The challenge is for these young guys to come in and quickly learn our language, quickly how we do things. So, they’re a little bit behind; our guys have been here for a few weeks already. These guys got to get caught up. It’s a good challenge to have and, like I said, starting May, we have until August, so it’ll be fun.”

Myers has provided the Packers with stability at the center position, starting there since he was drafted. However, he also hasn’t provided the Packers with the level of play that they were hoping to get from a second-round pick, either.

Myers is now entering the final year of his rookie deal and on a unit where having versatility is a must, he won’t be cross-training like his counterparts will. Obviously, a lot can change between now and the regular season, but if Myers is going to be starting come Week 1, center appears to be his only path to doing so.