When Packers General Manager Ted Thompson made the decision back in the summer of 2009 to move on from offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, the Packers paraded out a long list names to compete for the starting right tackle position - Breno Giacomini, T.J. Lang, Jamon Meredith and, of course, the eventual "winner" Allen Barbre.
The offense tore through the preseason, putting up points in bunches against vanilla defenses. The Packers appeared ready to roll through the regular season with their new right tackle.
And then it all came crashing down.
Oh sure, the Packers won their opener against the Bears, but the warning signs were there, with Barbre getting eaten alive repeatedly by Adewale Ogunleye, a journeyman defensive end at that point in his career, to put it charitably.
No matter how much help McCarthy gave Barbre, he never really improved. He had some stretches that were better than others, but for the most part Babre was a disaster and his insertion into the starting lineup almost ruined the season for the Packers.
The brain trust behind the decision to make Barbre the starter - head coach Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, and offensive line coach James Campen - are once again set to preside over a position battle on the offensive line. With starting left guard Daryn Colledge presumably set to move on to greener pastures (and make no mistake, Colledge will get paid by some team needing help on the offensive line) the likes of T.J. Lang, Marshall Newhouse, Nick McDonald and even rookie first round pick Derek Sherrod, who McCarthy stated would start as their "left side guy", will all be in the mix for the starting left guard position.
I know McCarthy has long thought that guard is Lang's best position. Newhouse was a bit all over the place in training camp last year between left tackle and guard. McDonald is a bit of a dark horse, but word is the coaching staff loves the guy. And if Sherrod plays well in camp and clearly belongs on the field in front of all of them, even though he was drafted to play tackle, by all means play him.
The point is, McCarthy and company need to get this right from the start. Unlike 2009, when Tauscher came riding in to save the offensive line, if not the season, in late October - Colledge won't be available to save the Packers if none of these guys can do the job. (Not that I think that's the case - I'm pretty sure Lang or Sherrod can/will get the job done.)
Perhaps a truncated evaluation period will actually help the coaching staff not over-analyze the competition. (I always felt that Lang was the obvious choice over Barbre if you looked at their play on the field in camp and preseason that year, but that Barbre was given the job because he had "put in the time") Whatever happens, the staff needs to make up for its Barbre blunder and get this right from the start.
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