Sunday, August 5, 2012

Offensive Line Depth An Issue

When people discuss potential problems for the 2012 Green Bay Packers most people focus on the defense side of the ball. This is with good reason because the Packers ranked 32nd in the NFL in giving up 6,585 yards last season. However, the depth on the offensive line is one of the few issues on the offensive side of the ball.

If the Packers' offensive line stays healthy the whole season they will not have an issue. Their starting line of Bryan Bulaga, Josh Sitton, Jeff Saturday, T.J. Lang, and Marshall Newhouse is one of the best groups in the NFL. However, the chances off all five of them staying healthy for all sixteen games are not good. The Packers have gotten an early glimpse of this as Marshall Newhouse suffered a concussion at the Family Night Scrimmage and Derek Sherrod is still on the PUP list recovering from a broken right leg. Herb Taylor was working with the No. 1 offensive unit at practice and may have to during the first preseason game at San Diego.

If it were a regular season game the Packers might kick Lang out to LT and put in Evan Dietrich-Smith at LG. Dietrich-Smith started three games in place of Sitton last season and filled in capably and is their top backup at guard and center. The Packers can really use somebody like him to fill in at tackle in for a pinch at least. Taylor does not seem cabale of being that guy. He entered the NFL out of TCU in 2007 as a sixth-round draft choice out of TCU and started one game for them in 2008. He only spent one game on an NFL roster from 2009 until the Packers signed him off the street as a free agent.

Sherrod cannot be counted on until he proves he is healthy and seventh- round draft choice Andrew Datko has looked terrible in practice by most people's accounts. Datko also got beat repeatedly by Nick Perry in the Family Night scrimmage. He missed most of his senior season at Florida State because of a shoulder injury, which caused him to slip down draft boards, but if healthy was thought to have a chance to be a player. However, he is supposedly healthy and has shown little to nothing thus far.

At the Family Night scrimmage the 2nd offensive line unit struggled in pass protection. Many times Graham Harrell had little to no chance to look down field. The Packers cannot leave their franchise quarterback in the hands of Herb Taylor, so if Newhouse gets hurt in the regular season the Packers need to come up with a better plan.

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