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Billy Turner's versatility will again be vital for Packers' new-look O-line

Packers veteran tackle/guard took a break from social media this offseason

G/T Billy Turner
G/T Billy Turner

GREEN BAY – While many questions linger about who exactly will start where on the Packers' offensive line, there is one near certainty as the 2021 NFL season quickly approaches.

Billy Turner will be manning one of those five posts, and if recent history serves as any indication, possibly more throughout the course of an extended 17-game regular season.

The eighth-year veteran has been one of Green Bay's busiest offensive linemen over the past two seasons. Not only in terms of his 1,950 regular-season snaps played, but also where Turner has seen those reps.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder has started 22 games at right guard, six at right tackle, and six at left tackle over his 34 games with the Packers (including playoffs).

Amidst some changes on Green Bay's offensive line this offseason, Turner is again ready for whatever the coaching staff throws at him.

"You can never predict the future and you can never predict what's going to happen day-to-day," Turner said. "Our coaches do a great job of letting us know last-second, as we're getting out on the field, what position we're going to be playing for that day.

"That really makes you have to focus on meetings and all the details at every position, to understand the actual scheme that's being installed and that we're actually running."

The Packers are at an inflection point on the offensive line following the offseason departures of All-Pro center Corey Linsley and guard Lane Taylor, who had been two of the six longest-tenured veterans on the roster.

All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari also is on the mend after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in early January.

Bakhtiari's injury resulted not only in Turner lining up at several different spots during organized team activities and minicamp, but also in making the 29-year-old the elder statesman among his fellow linemen in those spring practices.

On the outside, it might seem like a quantum shift considering how veteran-laden the Packers were on the O-line when Turner arrived as an unrestricted free agent in March 2019, but so far it's been business as usual for the versatile veteran.

"To be completely honest with you, nothing has changed for me," Turner said. "I'm not going to act any different than I've acted the last two years, this year, just because somebody is not in the room.

"I'm approaching the situation no different than I've approached the last two years and that is to continue to learn and to grasp this scheme and to help these young players whenever I get a chance to help them."

The Packers certainly have no shortage of prospects at the position after drafting six offensive linemen the past two years. To Turner, the value in helping develop that young talent can be seen in how Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick and Jon Runyan have stepped up in the wake of injury.

After finishing 2020 at left tackle in Bakhtiari's stead, Turner kept a similar script for his offseason. He once again trained close to home in St. Paul and continued developing his "Public Immunity" brand and clothing line.

Turner and his team ran a series of popup events in the Twin Cities area and already have made plans for more exhibits in the coming year.

Yet, there were some noticeable changes, too, with the Packers' offensive lineman choosing to step away from social media.

"I transitioned in December to allow my employees and my staff to kind of take control of my personal social media and also the company's social media," Turner said. "That transition for me off of social media was big. Because it just allowed me to focus on myself a little bit more and to allow myself to be able to grow a little bit more as a person."

While the absence of MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers was a daily headline during Green Bay's two-month offseason program, Turner maintained a level head throughout.

Because come the end of July, whether it's Rodgers or 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love, Turner understands there will be a QB behind him he's responsible to block for.

"I kind of know what I have to do," Turner said. "I focused on my body. I focused on my rehab, and I build up into the approach to basically be able to get into the season and propel me through these now-17 weeks that we're going to have to navigate through and then into the playoffs."

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