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Solutions to the Offensive Line

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by BorderRivals.com, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    Throughout the threads, a common theme has emerged: one of our biggest areas to improve is offensive line. Simple right; we gave up 51 sacks and have a fledgling running game. But, I've yet to hear of a solution that makes sense when you consider the whole picture.

    As for the sacks, we've discussed numerous times that Rodgers holds the ball longer than any other QB. It's the catch-22 with him because he's willing to take a sack in lieu of throwing an ill-advised ball (or even out of bounds), but he also extends plays and is the best QB outside the pocket. Given the number of plays Rodgers makes outside the pocket and with his feet, I'll take the few extra sacks that come with it.

    The run game may be due, in part, to the running backs. DuJuan had a lot of success getting positive production with his vision and quick burst through the hole, something none of the other backs have.

    Now, on to the upgrades allegedly needed.

    LT - Newhouse is a two year starter that has improved somewhat, but is still a liability against the elite rushers. JPP and Allen have had their way with him. We also have Sherrod, a first-round pick. If he can live up to his draft status, he should replace Newhouse. If not, that means - presumably - that Newhouse continues his improvement. In either event, it's a starter that's serviceable, evidenced by the fact the offense has been exceptional in 2011 and one of the top ones this past season. If you still want an upgrade, how? Invest another top-pick? Spend money on a free agent? If you invest any money in an upgrade via free agency, it will likely mean we lose one of the other core talents on the team like Raji, Shields, Matthews, etc. Packers don't have the cap room to sign an upgrade at LT and also take care of their own.

    LG - Lang. Just signed a long-term deal that ensures he'll be our LG for the foreseeable future. He's an above-average LG according to some reports I read during the season. Remember, he was injured during the season and switched positions too.

    C - EDS. Clearly, the biggest question mark on the line. But, it's worth noting that he got nothing but solid reviews following his insertion into the starting lineup. Rodgers spoke highly of him as well, and he made the line calls in the postseason where the line gave up one-sack - when Saturday entered the game for Sitton.

    RG - Sitton. Under a long-term contract and was voted the top offensive lineman in 2010 by some publication. No upgrade needed.

    RT - Bulaga. Yes, he struggled out of the gates - highlighted by that Seattle game. But, entering the season, he was considered a fringe Pro-Bowler talent. I'm not going to let a few slow games out of the gates cloud my vision. He's a first-round pick that has started since his rookie year that should have his best days ahead of him. And even if there's some doubt about his talent, Barclay stepped in well for an undrafted FA this season. He, too, will likely only get better.

    So what's the conclusion? The improvement must come from within. Maybe that means hiring a new OL coach, but that's well beyond my "expertise". If anything, the center spot is the biggest question mark; but even still, I can't imagine the Packers spending big money or a high draft pick on a center. With limited cap space, you have to pick and choose where to spend it. Though not elite, our line can get the job done when healthy. I'd rather spend money or high picks on true needs - like OLB/ILB and DL.

    Those that continue to believe the OL is one of our biggest needs, explain how that can happen.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  2. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    I agree with all of this.

    As long as Bulaga is healthy, you can pencil in Bulaga, Sitton, and Lang at their respective positions.
    That leaves C and LT.

    Rodgers himself believes that EDS is the Center of the future. He played well late in the year when he took over for Saturday, particularly in the running game. Now, he's not elite by any means, and it would be fine if they want to draft a center early, but it doesn't mean EDS won't be starting next year anyway.

    Same goes for Newhouse. Even if we draft a tackle in the first round, you can't assume that they will unseat Newhouse, who has come a long ways since 2011. So far, Sherrod hasn't been able to do it. Going after an expensive FA tackle is not the Packers' way of doing business. It's unlikely, given his improvement, that they are looking to replace him now anyway. I was very pleased with the way he played in San Francisco.

    There have been times when he has struggled against elite pass rushers, but most tackles are going to struggle against elite pass rushers, they're elite for a reason. That's something he should be able to improve on going forward. By all accounts he has a good work ethic and more improvement should be expected.

    Even if we make no additions and cut Saturday, I would feel fine going into next season with Newhouse/Lang/EDS/Sitton/Bulaga with Barclay and Sherrod both options off the bench. Datko and Van Roten are both developmental guys with upside that may factor in eventually.

    I know the sack numbers are frustrating and certainly make it feel like we need improvement, but Rodgers' QB style simply isn't one that's going to allow for very low sack totals every year. It's the price we pay for his very low INT totals, and it's going to be the case no matter who is protecting him.
     
  3. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    It's taken me a while to come around on this, but I now think that Coach Campen is part of the problem. While I fully admit that our O-line isn't filled with studs at each position, we seem to have enough horsepower to get the job done - and when I say that, I mean block successfully and not just squeaking by. I feel that we don't get enough out of the guys that we have and that needs to change. Maybe Hilgenberg is a better coach or they need to go outside of the organization, but we can't keep drafting offensive tackles with the first pick. We just don't seem to execute the scheme with precision and power.

    We can talk about number of sacks and lack of a run game, and while we can blame the reigning league MVP or the gaggle of RBs that have played for the Packers in recent years, the one common denominator is the OL. We need a coach that can get more out of them, but I've also never been to training camp or read an article lobbying for or against Campen's work.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    RT
    Bulaga - Struggled only because he was wearing a brace. Pen him in. his only problem is that with his hip injury he can't really work out his lower half, which is a HUGE issue.
    RG
    Sitton - Pen him in.
    C
    EDS - We may have only given one sack, but there were some downright negligent line calls. He's a good blocker though. Free Agent who will only be brought back as a starter. Team likes him. Do you trust GVR with Center?
    LG
    Lang has the money, is is already at least average, and is young and improving.
    LT
    Newhouse - Will most likely be starting next year. Nobody we draft will unseat him.
    Sherrod - Should he get a full offseason he has a very slim chance of unseating Newhouse. He should get both the offseason and the chance. Once again not working his lower half is going to hurt.
     
  5. Shawnsta3

    Shawnsta3 Cheesehead

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    I hate to see Barclay ride the pine though. Now, he could and will likely see playing time due to injuries next year but how does everyone feel about this lineup? Won't happen, but since the season is over why not think about it?

    LT- Newhouse/Sherrod

    LG- Barclay

    C- Lang

    RG- Sitton

    RT- Bulaga

    I think this could possibly create the best 5 on the field at all times.

    Or if the running games more your style, we get a good running situation going to the left...

    LT- Barclay

    LG- Lang/ EDS

    C- EDS/ Lang

    RG-Sitton

    RT-Bulaga

    Idk. Food for thought.
     
  6. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    Blow it up and rebuild it.

    Center-EDS
    RG-Lang
    RT-Bulaga
    LG-Sitton
    LT-Sherrod

    The oline needs to be fixed just as much as the sorry defense.
     
  7. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    1. Barclay is not a LT.
    2. Bulaga is not moving to LT.
    3. Nobody in this year's draft is unseating Newhouse at LT.
    4. We're stuck with Lang.
    5. No indications that GVR is a viable backup Center

    Moving on.
     
  8. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    Could you give us some examples of "negligent line calls" made by EDS?
     
  9. PackFanNChiTown

    PackFanNChiTown Bear Fan's Bane

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    Lang needs to get better at making holes for the run game. I've heard several analysts rate him as average at best. Let him compete but we can do better.
     
  10. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    How is this blowing up the line and rebuilding it? You switch the guards from right to left and insert Sherrod at LT.

    This is what I'm talking about. Posts complain about the line and how badly it needs to be fixed. But I've yet to see a feasible explanation of how to fix this alleged problem.
     
  11. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    EDS, Sitton, and Barclay all taking J.Smith, while Willis (who had crept up) ran dead up the middle in the created gap?

    There weren't alot of them, but there were a few.
     
  12. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Nagler:

    No. You are not. RT Am I crazy to think Newhouse can get the job done?

    Also on the Packers offensive line, go back and look at Harris' TD run. TJ Lang has an absolute textbook block, getting to the second level.

    He (EDS) will be the starting center at the start of training camp, no doubt.
     
  13. 7thFloorRA

    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

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    Newhouse is a decent backup but Sherrod needs to step up, get healthy and dominate as the starter. Bulaga needs to do the same on the right side. The communication/ assignment delegation of the interior needs to be fixed. When there has been pressure up the middle its usually because they aren't blocking the right guys. Its not like the defense is sending the house. Its like they have no idea what a delayed blitz or a line stunt are. If they don't have a guy lined up in front of them they stand there or go to help someone else out and then blam...right through there gap goes the rush.
     
  14. PackFanNChiTown

    PackFanNChiTown Bear Fan's Bane

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    Our offense took a drastic step back this season because Rodgers had no faith in Newhouse and was the most sacked QB in the league. Both are 100% unacceptable. The strength of this team has been the offense and with Rodgers hamstrung by not having faith to stay in the pocket and connect on the long ball to help compensate for the weak performance by the D, we're going nowhere.

    Newhouse, of all linemen, cannot be "above average," nor can Lang. They simply must be as close to perfection as possible, nothing else is acceptable.
     
  15. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    I think people are leaving out the blocking of the fb, RB, and TE. While not every down they contribute to the sack total. I don't see an elite blocker in any of them or one that can pick up a block easily by reading the defense.
     
  16. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    We haven't had a good blocking RB since Brandon Jackson
     
  17. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    When in the game did that happen? On which series? And if there were a "few", point out a couple of others.
     
  18. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    I completely disagree. I saw no indication that Rodgers ever doubted Newhouse or exhibited a lack of faith. If he didn't have faith in the line, I doubt he'd also be the QB that holds the ball the longest. Seems counter-intuitive because if you lacked faith, you would surely not trust them enough to hold the ball that long.

    And why can't Newhouse and Lang be "above average". Name me any player that plays as close to perfection as possible regularly? Demanding/expecting this is preposterous in my mind.

    Even going down your line of thinking - i.e. perfection - how do you propose the Packers accomplish the perfect offensive line?
     
  19. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    I believe many of our O line issues were due to communication and familiarity. A good O line has to know what to expect from the guy next to him almost instinctively. First we brought in a new Center that was still learning the system and in the end was taken out of the lineup. Then we have injuries that require moving guys around. We bring in an UDFA rookie for our RT. We put in a new C. This line was in flux and short handed all year long. Hopefully we can get the band together in OTA's and Training camp and Stay healthy. Hopefully Bulaga will be good for training camp and once again like our linebackers and Dline our Oline can stay healthy.
     
  20. bozz_2006

    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

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    Mike Tice?
     
  21. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Thompson has drafted 15 offensive linemen during his time in Green Bay. 6 of them are with the Packers; 5 are playing for other teams in the NFL. 4 are out of football. Campen has been on the o-line coaching staff for 9 years, 6 of them as the head offensive line coach. We've never had a dominant offensive line. Enough said.
     
  22. PackFanNChiTown

    PackFanNChiTown Bear Fan's Bane

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    Ryan Clady.

    Expecting a player to play at his best is preposterous? Expecting a player to not have an open door policy against pass rushers is preposterous?

    I disagree.
     
  23. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    These are two different things. It's completely reasonable to expect a professional athlete to play to his best. It's unreasonable to expect someone to play to perfection in general.

    And, as we've mentioned, it's easy to cite to the All-Pro, Pro Bowl linemen and saying the Packers need those players. But at what cost? Because elite LT's aren't cheap. With how many core players the Packers have to resign, how do you propose the Packers get the Ryan Clady's of the world? Remember, they've tried in 2 of last 3 seasons to get that tackle in the first round of the draft. Devote another one to the line?

    BTW... Newhouse was rated the 5th best pass-blocking tackle in October by PFF. I can't find the final number, but he is clearly improving despite what many believe.
     
  24. PackFanNChiTown

    PackFanNChiTown Bear Fan's Bane

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    I know they're two separate things. I only mention Ryan Clady because I was asked to name a player that plays close to perfection. I don't expect Newhouse to be pro-bowl caliber, my concern is accepting "above average" as "good enough," that's all.
     
  25. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    I prefer using the term "steadily improving" to describe certain players on our line.
     

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