Packers 2017 Recap: C Corey Linsley

Corey Linsley was the only Packers player in 2017 to not miss a single snap on offense or defense. Through a chaotic season where injuries to their most impactful players changed the starting lineup on a weekly basis, Linsley was healthy, reliable, and excellent.

On the offensive line specifically, Green Bay navigated injuries to every other starter. David Bakhtiari missed four games, Lane Taylor missed three, Jahri Evans missed two and Bryan Bulaga missed eleven.

2017 Stats

  • Started 16 games

Expectations going into the season: Moderate
Expectations were: Exceeded

What we said last season

Packers 2016 Recap: C Corey Linsley – Linsley’s consistency in the middle of the Packers’ offensive line is easy to overlook, but it shouldn’t be. He makes players around him better, Aaron Rodgers trusts him, and he’s been nothing short of dependable in his time in Green Bay so far.

Analysis: Steady Linsley earns extension following a great season

When you’re a starting offensive lineman for an NFL team, you want to avoid hearing your name called from a referee or the broadcasters. Do your job, do it without being penalized, and stay healthy.

That’s precisely what Corey Linsley did in 2017.

Linsley excelled specifically in two areas – blocking downfield on screens and double-team blocks.

Against the Steelers, Linsley made the key block to spring Jamaal Williams on a 55-yard screen pass that went for a touchdown. While on the run, Linsley was able to control himself enough to allow linebacker Ryan Shazier to make a move towards tackling Williams before engaging him in a block. It sprung Williams, and the rookie running back did the rest: 

Double-team blocks happen throughout a game, specifically in a zone-blocking scheme like the Packers use. Because very few defensive lineman or linebackers line up directly in front of Linsley, his primary move after snapping the ball is either to the left or right to block a blitzing defender. Regardless of who was playing guard – Jahri Evans, Lane Taylor, Justin McCray, or Lucas Patrick – Linsley’s performance never wavered.

In 2016, the Packers lost offensive lineman JC Tretter in free agency to the Cleveland Browns on a three-year, $16.75 million contract.

At the time, Tretter was a spot starter and backup at three interior line spots in 2015, and filled in well for the Packers in relief of Corey Linsley, who missed the early portion of the 2016 season. Through the first seven games of 2016, Tretter was one of the top rated centers in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Green Bay gambled on Linsley, and he rewarded the team with a tremendous 2017 season. The center was set to become a free agent after this season until he agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Packers before Week 17.