Packers’ O-Line Preview: The gutted pigs?

As much as it will pain any Packers’ fan to witness the likes of T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton, the former of whom will be playing his second season an I-43 ride away in Chicago, in different uniforms, all is not lost for the Cheesehead cognoscenti. Throw in current-Cleveland Brown J.C. Tretter, who will clash in the trenches with his former team come Week 14, and you have lost significant anatomy on a thick-boned skeleton that has been the Packers’ offensive line. Literally.

I’m not going to write about those linemen who are on the fringes of making the team; rather, the following will provide a brief overview of what is almost certain, barring a dramatic recession.

Green Bay Offensive Line Depth Chart:

LT: 1) David Bakhtiari 2) Jason Spriggs

Bakhtiari has succumbed to very few pass rushers in recent years, inserting himself as a top-tier blockade for Aaron Rodgers. Last year, in which he started all 16 regular-season games, the Colorado alum gave up three total sacks, and, on top of that, was penalized only five times. Not bad for a fourth-round pick.

Spriggs is an absorbant sponge, one as thick as a brick, who can hold his own with one arm if needed. The man only started two games last year, but he could be potent, even if he were to effectively switch to a guard position. Regardless, his name should be called a lot more than it was in his rookie season.

LG: 1) Lane Taylor 2) Patrick Lucas

Taylor took over for Sitton last year, doing a fine job in his first year sniffing the starting lineup. This offseason, he’s been sparring with defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who has become a stud in his own right — this couldn’t have been a negative thing.

Lucas was wrapped in the Packs’ practice-squad web all of last year, and he didn’t log a minute on any professional football team’s field. If anything, he’s aware of the winning culture, maybe capable of finding his way this year.

C: 1) Corey Linsley 2) Kofi Amichia

Linsley is, unequivocally, the team’s go-to center. In the nine games he played last year, he allowed one sack, and was the culprit of one holding penalty. His disciplinarian aura is what made the Packers, after letting J.C. Tretter go, feel alright.

Rookie Amichia, sixth-round pick from the University of South Florida, has history of playing all five line positions, which could serve the Packers royally, come playoff time.

RG: 1) Jahri Evans 2) Don Barclay

Evans will imprint his championship-winning ways, on a squad that has good postseason experience already, but the former Saint should also seamlessly acclimate as a top guard, after already having blocked for one Hall-of-Fame quarterback (Drew Brees).

Barclay has spotty execution on film, but, as with many of his teammates, versatility is in his blood. He’s one of the longest-tenured O-lineman on the team, and that’s a privilege that will likely lock him in to the team’s roster.

RT: 1) Bryan Bulaga 2) Kyle Murphy

The only remaining lineman from the Super Bowl team, Bulaga has never been perfect, though he has been consistently good. If he’s healthy, he’ll be a fine instrument in allowing Ty Montgomery wide running lanes, protecting Rodgers’ strong side.

All of Murphy’s snaps, which spanned the course of three games, came from the tackle position. As head-scratching as it may be worded, he’s seemingly too lean, at 6-foot-6 and 306 pounds, to keep his feet in at either guard position. Of course, the Pack don’t like going with the status quo, so, don’t be surprised if Murphy bounces around.

There appears to be a lot of fragility and tenderness within the line, and the Pack may be busy perusing the waiver if a lead dog goes down. Perhaps someone like Jahri Evans gets cut, and all of the line rotations become chaos. Until then, let’s just hope that all ten of these players have no problem waiting a few extra seconds for Rodgers to take late snaps, evade defenders, and auction off a missile to one of his receivers. That, of course, is how the Packers sell jerseys, how the pundits bless Rodgers as an all-timer, how everyone becomes mesmerized. The question is: Is the line truly gutted?


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