|The Packers hope the addition of Pro Bowl Center Jeff Saturday will infuse|
some new life into an O line stocked with youth and that will keep Rodgers
& Co. on the move on Sundays (Photo credit: Bleacher Report via Facebook)
Heading into this season, one of the big storylines was the competition at the left tackle position and who would replace the recently departed Chad Clifton, the Pro Bowl left tackle for the past decade. Clifton was released in mid April largely due to an ailing back that was not going to allow him to be as effective as he had been in recent years. The 2000 2nd round pick was a steady force for the Pack, appearing in 3 Pro Bowls during his tenure with the team. Replacing him will be no easy task, to say the least. The front runners for the starting role appeared to be Marshall Newhouse, who filled in most of last season when Clifton wend down, and 2011 1st round selection Derek Sherrod. As players reported for camp on July 25th, it became apparent that Sherrod would not pass his physical due to his still-recovering broken right leg. You may recall Sherrod suffered the injury during last season’s lone regular season loss at Kansas City. The leg was actually broken in multiple spots so the team knew the recovery process would not be a quick one. It’s unclear when or if Sherrod may be ready to participate in any training camp activities. There is the possibility that Sherrod may be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. During preseason, a player that is placed on PUP can be activated at any time and resume practicing with the team. If Sherrod is not ready to play by the end of camp, he will then move onto the regular season PUP list, which means he would miss at least the first 6 games of the regular season. If that happens, expect Newhouse to remain at left tackle. The team drafted Andrew Datko in the 7th this year round to help create some depth at the tackle position. His size and frame are ideal as an NFL tackle goes, but he does have some injury concerns. He has had nagging shoulder problems and missed some games the past 2 years. He’s an athletic and strong player who seems more suited to the RT spot than left. Unless someone emerges, Datko will likely be looked at to provide depth on both sides of the line.
|Sitton and Lang have formed a solid tandem at offensive guard for the first |
time sinceMarco Rivera and Mike Wahle. (ESPNMilwaukee.com)
Overall, the O line seems pretty well set with the exception of Sherrod’s health status. The unit will need to continue to perform well in order to give QB Aaron Rodgers time to work his magic. If the Packers have intentions of returning to another Super Bowl, the line will have to be among the league’s best in 2012.
Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.
-Jason Perone (@WSB_Jason)
Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @WSB_Andrew @WSB_Nick @WSB_Brandon @WSB_Mike @WSB_Harrison @WSB_Jason. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)