Packers have enjoyed watching Yosh Nijman's growth…and dance moves

Former undrafted offensive tackle finding his comfort zone during third season in Green Bay

T Yosh Nijman

GREEN BAY – Yosh Nijman is considered of the quieter members of a Packers offensive line room often known for its gregarious characters.

The former undrafted free agent is well-spoken and courteous, but through his first three seasons in Green Bay he typically has yielded the floor to the veterans around him.

Until earlier this season, when Nijman pulled up after a touchdown and began dancing like a robot as part of Green Bay's end-zone celebration.

Fast forward to last week in Minnesota and Nijman did it again after Davante Adams' 18-yard touchdown catch on third-and-6 that gave the Packers a 24-23 lead at the time.

"We'd never seen this personality from Yosh at all," recalled quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week. "I mean Yosh is a great kid, very quiet though, kinda goes about his business, doesn't say a whole lot, lets the other guys in the room be the funny guys. But him doing 'The Robot,' I think everybody was like 'Oh my gosh, Yosh, that was amazing. We need to see more of that.'"

The Packers are about to see even more of Nijman after Pro Bowl left guard-turned-left tackle Elgton Jenkins succumbed to a season-ending knee injury in the Packers' 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.

With All-Pro David Bakhtiari still on the mend from his own knee injury, Nijman is slated to make his fourth career start this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

Green Bay had a chance to see what the 6-foot-7, 314-pound tackle could do earlier this season when Nijman stepped in for Jenkins, who missed three games with an ankle injury.

In need of a Plan C at left tackle, offensive line coach Adam Stenavich pushed for Nijman to draw the assignment despite the fact the 26-year-old had played just 14 snaps in his NFL career.

Nijman looked the part in the team's three victories, stemming the tide until Jenkins returned against Chicago on Oct. 17. After Jenkins was forced to exit against Minnesota, Nijman stepped in at left tackle during the Packers' final two TD-producing drives.

"I think every time that a guy goes out there and is able to perform at a high level, you just see their confidence build," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "I think Yosh has all the traits you look for in an offensive lineman. He's big, he's athletic, he can bend, he's strong, powerful, everything. It's just about putting it all together on a consistent basis."

Nijman's genuineness made him a popular fixture in the locker room since he first signed with the Packers as a college free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft.

The emergence of Nijman's dance moves has been the cherry on top. As it turns out, Nijman has been dancing most of his life. He was inspired after watching the 2004 film "You Got Served" and never stopped.

"Sometimes, during touchdowns or whatever, I usually just black out and start dancing," Nijman said. "I don't know. 'The Robot' was the first thing to come to mind that first time. So I just did the dance move."

A smiling Davante Adams recounted on Wednesday how Nijman calmly told him in the middle of his first start against San Francisco that, "I just really appreciate and am having such a great time out here with you guys."

Adams, who shares a section of the Packers' locker room with Nijman, has gotten to know the gentle giant better this year. With another season under his belt, Nijman has shown more of his personality like his celebratory robot against Pittsburgh.

"That right there is Yosh in a nutshell, man," Adams said. "Just fully aware of the moment, just living in the moment, appreciating it, really hard worker, great guy, man of faith, so I love him, man.

"He didn't have much experience before this year, so to step up and do the things that he did, we're definitely proud of him."

While they hope to get Bakhtiari back for the stretch run, the Packers have confidence Nijman can again bridge the gap. This weekend will be a stiff initial test against a Rams' defensive pass rush featuring Leonard Floyd and Von Miller off the edges.

The week came with mixed emotions as Nijman and Jenkins came in together back in 2019. As difficult as it was to watch Jenkins go down, Nijman feels confident and ready to step in.

"When that happened, it was super tough to hear about. It was like a part of me kind of died inside," Nijman said. "But at that point, it's just getting ready for the week, and preparing as I would every week."


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