• 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.

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      I've never understood why some teams do this. For a long time the steelers did the same with Ben until recently, and even those picks haven't seen much of the field yet.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Well, at least they didn't wrap their Lambo around a telephone pole and leave it next to a Chicago highway like Lance Briggs did a few years ago.

      In fact, the Bears offensive line has been a mid-size sedan driven into that same telephone pole for the last few years. Is it possible that the Bears have a leg up on the Pack this season after their off-season moves? Off course, their quarterback is a Land Rover. It's kind of expensive and is known for it's breakdowns and can often be found in the shop (At least that's rep I hear on them, I never have and never will own one).
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Well, at least they didn't wrap their Lambo around a telephone pole and leave next to a Chicago highway like Lance Briggs did a few years ago.

      In fact, the Bears offensive line has been a mid-size sedan driven into that same telephone pole for the last few years. Is it possible that the Bears have a leg up on the Pack this season after their off-season moves? Off course, their quarterback is a Land Rover. It's kind of expensive and is known for it's breakdowns and can often be found in the shop (At least that's rep I hear on them, I never have and never will own one).
      I flipped a coin between writing this article and 'The Bears Are Again Parking Their Temperamental Pre-Owned Ford Fiesta Under an Old Tree'. The Bears line has been worse than the Packers over the last few years but I'm not sure that will still be the case. With free agent signings, draft and new coaching staff, the Bears have finally fixed all of their o-line problems. Again. 7th year in a row if I'm not mistaken. It would probably be easier to list the teams that don't have major o-line issues.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      If anybody ever had any doubts about what a decent to good OL does to a QB, they should look no further than the Superbowl MVP, Joe Flacco. When Mckinnie moved to LT, the whole line improved, and their QB had time to make throws. Before that, he looked so so.

      Very few QBs can thrive despite bad OLs. Big Ben and Rodgers are a couple who have, but it still isn't a good idea going forward.

      Bengals1181 - 08-07-2013 12:19 PM

      I've never understood why some teams do this. For a long time the steelers did the same with Ben until recently, and even those picks haven't seen much of the field yet.
      It's because of the cap space. Guys like Rogers and Ben allow the team to use dollars locking up guys on other spots (the D for example), if they can hold on to average on OL talent. The Steelers bet they could repeat the 08 ring, which they won without a good OL. It almsot worked, except for the Pack and Pouncey's injury.

      The Pack thought they could do the same in 2011, but an average OL wasn't good enough when faced against the Giants DL and Eli's luck.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      I flipped a coin between writing this article and 'The Bears Are Again Parking Their Temperamental Pre-Owned Ford Fiesta Under an Old Tree'. The Bears line has been worse than the Packers over the last few years but I'm not sure that will still be the case. With free agent signings, draft and new coaching staff, the Bears have finally fixed all of their o-line problems. Again. 7th year in a row if I'm not mistaken. It would probably be easier to list the teams that don't have major o-line issues.
      Heeyyyyy - I drive a Fiesta. It's got great visibility. I can see the rustproofing on just about every car that passes me.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      The true issue of managing an NFL Roster. The Packers have attempted the one thing they can do to improve the O-Line, and it's thru the draft. And thru bad luck, they are unable to keep a decent one together. It will be another interesting year.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Well, at least they didn't wrap their Lambo around a telephone pole and leave it next to a Chicago highway like Lance Briggs did a few years ago.
      All the way up until I read "Lance Briggs" I thought you were describing the signing of Chilo Rachal.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Ragar View Post
      The true issue of managing an NFL Roster. The Packers have attempted the one thing they can do to improve the O-Line, and it's thru the draft. And thru bad luck, they are unable to keep a decent one together. It will be another interesting year.
      At least you guys drafted functional OL, though they've been injured. The Bears have missed with two 1st round picks on the OL. Missed badly.