Sunday, August 3, 2014

Packers Offensive Line Destined for Greatness

In 2008 Aaron Rodgers took over as the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Since he took over, the offensive line has always been somewhat of a weakness. Whether it be injuries depleting the line throughout the season or just players not living up to expectations. From 2009-2010 Rodgers was the most sacked QB in the league. That's a terrible statisic, but even worse when you're a top tier quaterback.

General manager Ted Thompson has tried to do his best to address the offensive line weaknesses in the last 5 years. It's been hit-and-miss on a few occassions. Thompson drafted Pro Bowl caliber guards Josh Sitton and TJ Lang. Both of them were relatively unknowns prior to being drafted, but have become two of the best linemen in the game. He also drafted tackle Bryan Bulaga in the first round in 2010. Buluga has been solid, when healthy, in his 4 seasons. A torn ACL ended his 2013 season before it even started. Thompson has also had some misses. 

Thompson drafted tackle, Derek Sherrod in the first round of the 2011 draft. It was questionable at the time, but he was also addressing a need. Sherrod played in two games, before breaking his leg in a week 15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Sherrod was lost for basically two seasons, and is just going through his second full training camp this season. Sherrod will probably never be worth that first round pick, and he may be a camp casulity when it's all said and done.

Thompson has also fumbled the situaton at center around. After the 2011 season Thompson allowed center Scott Wells to walk in free agency. He made the decision to sign veteran Jeff Saturday. There was one problem, Saturday had no gas left in the tank. At the time second year player Evan Dietrich Smith was given the job over Saturday. It seemed like the Packers had their center for many years to come, but one season later and Smith is gone. Now Rodgers will have to take snaps from his third center in 4 years. That's scary, because center is one of the more valuable spots on the line. But this season could different. 

If everyone stays healthy this year, I believe this could be the best offensive line the Packers have had in many years. On paper the line would consist of Bulaga, Sitton, Lang, Tretter and David Bakhtiari. In my mind though Bakhtiari and Don Barclay could be interchangeable if one suffers an injury or falters in camp. Thompson's plan for a top homegrown line could finally be coming together this season. If Rodgers is kept upright, and holes are opened for running-back Eddie Lacy, then the Packers will be a force to be reckoned with. 

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