Packers Are Again Parking Their Lamborgini Under an Old Tree
Aaron Rodgers is really good, there really isn't any debate about that. Again this year, he'll be protected by Josh Sitton and not much else. T.J. Lang and Evan Dietrich-Smith are ok. They aren't terrible but they certainly won't be going to the Pro Bowl any time soon. The tackles are TBD, taking the best two out of Marshall Newhouse, Don Barclay and rookie 4th round pick David Bakhtiari.
To take expand on my already weak 'expensive car under an old tree' analogy, the Packers tried to build an expensive garage for their prized auto, but it tore it's ACL. When it became clear that long-time Favre protectors Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher were aging out, they spent first round picks in '10 and '11 on offensive tackles, but they just can't stay on the field. Bryan Bulaga is a good player and paired with Pro Bowl caliber G Sitton would have made the left side of the line better than the Packers have had in many years. But after apparently contemplating playing on one leg this year, he's snapped back to reality and will have season ending knee surgery after missing the 2nd half of last year with a hip injury. 2011 first round pick Derrick Sherrod got off to a slow start as a rookie but was starting to play when he suffered a horrific broken leg that has cost him a year and a half and counting.
Teams just go through phases where they can't get one particular position group sorted out. More often than not, that position group is the offensive line. Let's face it, there just aren't enough of those big guys to go around. The Packers o-line problems aren't from neglect. They've spent quite a few draft picks on o-linemen the last 10 years. But with the injuries and the misses (Daryn Colledge, Tony Moll), they just don't have much to show for it. They even signed a Pro Bowl center last year, unfortunately Jeff Saturdee forgot to tell them that he had already retired.
So for now Aaron Rodgers will be lining up behind a bunch of guys with disclaimers. Derrick Sherrod should be able to contribute at some point this year, probably soon, but who knows where he'll be physically and mentally after a year and a half. David Bakhtiari looks good, for a rookie. Don Barklay played well at times last year, for an undrafted rookie. Marshall Newhouse isn't as bad as people think, but he's not the guy you want guarding your Lamborgini's blind side.
Even behind a shaky line, Rodgers has been surprisingly durable, only missing 2 games in 5 years as a starter. But he was sacked 50+ times last year for the 2nd time in the last 4 years and has been sacked an NFL high 202 times since he became the starter in '08. With a quick release and the ability to scramble and run, he makes up for a lot of the deficiencies on the o-line, but those sacks are going to take their toll, at least physically if not mentally. It looks like Packers fans are in for another season of watching their star QB hit the turf 40-50 times and hoping that he gets back up each time.