Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Packers' Offensive Line Meets the Brewers' Starting Rotation

At the mid-point of the Packers' 2009 season their biggest weakness is the offensive line. That group is on pace to allow 74 sacks which would shatter the previous club record of 62 sacks from 1990. What do the 1990 and 2009 Packers' offensive line have in common? James Campen. In 1990 Campen was the starting center for the Packers. Now Campen is the under achieving offensive line coach for the 2009 Green Bay Packers. Speaking of underachieving, another group of five guys that comes to mind is the starting rotation for the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers. Since there are some parallels between both groups, I thought I would pair someone from each group:

Chad Clifton (aka Jeff Suppan):
Clifton has been injured most of the season and has had one of his worst seasons as a Packer. There is a reason why the Packers are giving a projected NFL guard (T.J. Lang) a look at tackle. Clifton and Suppan are getting paid much more than they earned in 2009.

Daryn Colledge (aka Dave Bush):
Colledge has been either boom or bust throughout his Packer career. Unfortunately, lately it has been bust for Colledge. Instead of keeping Marco Rivera or Mike Wahle, the Packers used a second-round draft pick on Colledge four years ago. So far this season Colledge has failed at left guard and left tackle. He is a restricted free agent in the off-season and has given the Packers very few reasons to resign him long-term. Sadly for "Mr. Alaska", I really thought about pairing him with Jeff Suppan. Colledge has earned the comparison with his play but fortunately Colledge does not have the same bloated contract as Suppan so I settled for Dave Bush.

Scott Wells (aka Braden Looper):
Wells and Looper are decent players. Nothing flashy, simple and steady performers. Neither will be the best of the group or the worst of the group.

Josh Sitton (aka Yovani Gallardo):
Sitton and Gallardo are the only real bright spots in either group. Both look young and hungry, only time will tell if they turn out to be pro bowl/all-start caliber performers.

Allen Barbre (aka Manny Parra):
Barbre shows flashes of promise but is not reliable, just like his counterpart Manny Parra (who had an extended stint in the minor this season because of his inconsistent pitching). There is a reason why the Packer brought in "The Neck Beard" (Mark Tauscher) even though he is only 11 months removed from ACL surgery.

Packers' coach Mike McCarthy alluded to the fact that rookie T.J. Lang might be given a chance to start on the offensive line at a position besides left tackle this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lang has only played as an injury fill-in thus far for the Packers but he can't be worse then some of the guys (I am talking to you Mr. Alaska and Barbre) starting at this point. If "The Neck Beard" is out with a knee injury then give Lang a chance at right tackle ahead of Barbre. If "The Neck Beard" can play then give Lang a chance at left guard in place of "Mr. Alaska". Similar to Barbre, Colledge has been horrible this season so why not see what Lang has to offer.

The Packers will only go as far as their offensive line takes them. Yes Aaron Rodgers had held onto the ball too long. Yes the Packers have too many drops. The bottom line is that it all starts with protection up front. If the Packers' offensive line plays the last 8 weeks like they did the first 8 weeks then it is going to be a painful second half of the 2009 season for the Packers.

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