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As usual, Elgton Jenkins ready to move wherever needed for Packers

Timing of David Bakhtiari’s return to lineup remains uncertain

G Elgton Jenkins
G Elgton Jenkins

GREEN BAY – The Packers haven't yet declared exactly when newly activated David Bakhtiari will be returning to the lineup.

They also haven't announced where Bakhtiari's substitute, Elgton Jenkins, will be moving when that occurs.

The Packers activated Bakhtiari, their five-time All-Pro left tackle, from the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, so he could be playing as soon as Sunday vs. Seattle at Lambeau Field.

Then again, he still might be another week or more away from being fully recovered from last winter's reconstructive knee surgery.

Whenever he does return, the next decision is where to play Jenkins.

He could move to left guard (his Pro Bowl spot) or center (while rookie starter Josh Myers remains out), depending on which overall lineup the coaching staff feels best about moving forward.

"That's still a question we're trying to figure out," Jenkins said after practice on Wednesday.

"Whatever happens, whatever position, I'm basically ready for it."

The versatility of a lineman like Jenkins is a luxury few NFL teams possess. Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich said last week all he needs is a few days of practice and Jenkins could be plugged in to perform at any of the five spots.

He started games at three different positions last year (14 at left guard including playoffs, three at center, one at right tackle) and has started six games at left tackle this season in Bakhtiari's place, while missing three games with an injury of his own.

Jenkins' adaptability gives the Packers multiple options when Bakhtiari does return. Assuming veteran Billy Turner is entrenched at right tackle, here's a brief outline of the main possibilities:

·      If Jenkins moves to left guard, Lucas Patrick would stay at center and the Packers would choose between having rookie Royce Newman or second-year pro Jon Runyan play right guard.

·      If Jenkins moves to center until Myers returns, the choice would be which two from the trio of Newman, Runyan and Patrick would hold down the guard spots.

In dealing with lineup shuffling in his tenure so far, Head Coach Matt LaFleur has adhered to the "five best players" mantra when it comes to the starting line, and Stenavich echoed that remains the working theory.

"I've had this conversation with some of them, just saying hey, this is going to be a week-by-week thing with whoever's playing the best is going to be in the lineup," he said. "Obviously once David comes back, there's going to be an odd man out, and that's a good problem to have from a depth perception.

"Whoever's playing the best ball is going to be in there."

What's not up for debate is that Jenkins is one of the Packers' best linemen, so he'll be in there, and he's not concerned about where.

"Right now on my mind," Jenkins said, "is to win a Super Bowl."