Content
X

Create Account

Or log in with Facebook

X

Log in

Or log in with Facebook

Packers Right Tackle: May the Best Man Win

By Category

Packers Right Tackle: May the Best Man Win

Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari. Photo by Brian Carriveau of CheeseheadTV.com.

When it was made public that the Packers would be making some significant changes to their offensive line earlier this month, much of the attention centered on Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton moving to left tackle and left guard respectively, and understandably so.

Sitton was named to his first Pro Bowl last season and Bulaga is an emerging former first round draft choice. They'll be teaming up to protect Aaron Rodgers' blind side for the 2013 season.

Glossed over amongst this recent news has been the position Bulaga is vacating, however, over at right tackle. So while the focus might be over at the left side of the line, the genius in the move might be the competition created for the one starting position yet to be filled.

In addition to Bulaga and Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith will man the center position and T.J. Lang will hold down the fort at right guard. Right tackle, however, remains tenantless.

Good thing for the Packers, there's no shortage of candidates who will be vying for a spot in the starting lineup. Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod, Don Barclay, David Bakhtiari, J.C. Tretter and Andrew Datko all figure to be in the mix.

This past weekend, head coach Mike McCarthy wasn't interested in discussing the players who will be fighting for the starting gig, partially because he doesn't yet know who exactly they'll be.

"I'm not going to get into the depth chart," said McCarthy. "Frankly, I'll be honest, I'd like to get everyone lined up first and then we can talk about that when training camp opens or we'll see how these OTA reps sort out."

OTAs, or Organized Team Activities, begin next week in Green Bay, and they'll be the first of several opportunities for the contenders to separate themselves from the pretenders in a full-team practice setting.

The pads aren't allowed to come on during OTAs, so the Packers will have to wait until training camp for that. Regardless, it will be a chance to see players in action for the first time since last season ended.

Marshall Newhouse would seem to be one of the more likely candidates to start at right tackle given he was the incumbent starter on the left side for much of the past two seasons.

The argument can be made that Newhouse gave up too many sacks and pressures, but the reality of the situation is that he allowed 41 hurries and nine sacks in 2011 and then improved to 37 hurries and nine sacks in 2012 in 290 more snaps than the previous season (according to ProFootballFocus.com).

Newhouse is the only player on the Packers roster who played every single offensive snap last season, so his durability is a strong selling point.

One player the Packers will be itching to see is 2011 first round draft choice Derek Sherrod, who suffered a broken leg late in his rookie season and split his time last year between the Physically Unable to Perform list and injured reserve.

During the NFL Draft McCarthy acknowledged Sherrod had undergone a second surgery on his leg and was making progress in his recovery. The jury will be out on Sherrod until he's seen in action during training camp, but from a raw talent standpoint, he might be the best of the bunch.

Barclay will be looking to build on an impressive rookie campaign in which he went from going undrafted to being the starter at right tackle for the last six games of the season, including playoffs, after Bulaga was placed on I.R.

One question with Barclay might be whether he's a better guard than tackle, but seeing as the guard spots are basically taken in Green Bay, there's no reason he can't compete for the one open slot in the trenches.

Recently joining the battle are the two additions to the offensive line in the NFL Draft, fourth rounders David Bakhtiari of Colorado and J.C. Tretter of Cornell.

Continuing a trend under general manager Ted Thompson, both Bakhtiari and Tretter were college left tackles, but their positions in the NFL have yet to be determined. Bakhtiari started out at left tackle and Tretter at right tackle during rookie orientation camp last weekend, but McCarthy said they were likely to swap positions at some point.

Finally, Datko can't be counted out of the competition either. Last year's seventh round draft choice spent all of last season on the practice squad trying to get over shoulder injuries sustained in high school and college.

After a year spent in an NFL weight room, Datko might finally be ready to make a serious run at the job, even though he's probably further down the depth chart than some of the other players named above.

Among the six players profiled here or any others that make themselves heard, all the Packers have to do is find the best player out of a half dozen or so options. The competition is wide open.

And yes, may the best man win.

  • Like Like
  • 0 points

Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (55) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

"Newhouse is the only player on the Packers roster who played every single offensive snap last season, so his durability is a strong selling point."

Wow.

Derek in CO's picture

Ok, everyone. Chime in on who you think wins the RT job. I'm gonna go out on a limb with Sherrod.

Evan's picture

My hope: Sherrod

My best guess: Barclay

Kevin VG's picture

I'm leaning towards Barclay unseating Lang at LG and hoping Sherrod wins out the RT spot. But I remain skeptical he can physically make it (until I see him during training camp taking hits and laying hits on people), so I think that Bakhtairi will win it.

cow42's picture

Barclay.

PackersRS's picture

Barclay starts the season.
Sherrod finishes it playing strong.

Playoff line will be Bulaga, Sitton, EDS, Lang, Sherrod.

Oppy's picture

Tretter piques my interest as a center.. there's something about the way he carries himself that screams "I'm a starting-caliber NFL lineman."

Ironically, Bakhtairi made some comments that everyone tells him he's very mature for his age and that he's been waiting to play in the NFL with adults.. Yet, there's something about his interview presence that screams "I'm a very young, immature kid pretending to be an adult" to me.

Mike's picture

Agree - but I think it'll take him at least half the season to get comfortable snapping and blocking, which is not an easy skill. I do like his nastiness and toughness to go with his athleticism, so I have high hopes he'll be the future at center.

nick perry's picture

I'm with you on that on Oppy. I think Tretter is the Packers center of 2014 for sure, maybe sooner. We know what we have in EDS so I wonder if there's much more of a ceiling. IMO Datko is the dark horse for right tackle. I'd love to see Sherrod step in and kick butt and take the job. The second surgery concerns me though. Barclay really has to improve his pass protection but damn, the kid can run block. Newhouse should never play unless he's the only healthy player on the roster that Sunday. He CAN'T run block whatsoever and he's not much of a pass blocker. Not great traits for a offensive lineman and a $110 million QB!

Cpheph1's picture

+1

Bibbon Hazel's picture

Datko is the most talented albeit the most injury prone. I say Barclay takes it with Datko, Sherrod, and Bahktiari finishing close behind. One if not more will be injured before the season so I say Barclay with Sherrod is the top back up at both RT and LT and Datko behind him.

Cottonjoe's picture

Interesting competition. I appreciate the fact we have some viable options who we can get excited about. My guess is Barclay based on the way he played last year. I'll guess Bakhtiari if not Barclay, while Datko is the true sleeper in my eyes.

redlights's picture

RG and RT reps for now; then in camp Sherrod will be ready, and Sitton and Bulaga will go back to the right. In season, Sitton and Bulaga to the left will be Plan B.

Evan's picture

Wait, you think they'll switch Bulaga and Sitton back to the right side? I highly doubt that. I think they've made this change and they'll have to stick to it.

Stroh's picture

I think Bulaga will be the RT too. IMO this is a motivational ploy by McCarthy to let everyone know jobs aren't safe and complacecy won't be tolerated. By training camp they'll be in original positions. Bulaga will be RT, Newhouse starts at LT but midseason Sherrod gets rust off and supplants him.

nick perry's picture

Although I like the idea Stroh, I hope and pray that Newhouse is not on the field at any time this season for the Packers. If he's starting that means IMO at least every other lineman is pretty weak if they can't beat him out. Rookie or not, Newhouse is absolutely horrible. Every time I see a clip where their talking about the Packers offensive line, there's Newhouse getting beat. Bull rush, speed, swim move, all and any give him problems. I'm not bagging on your opinion, just really hoping Newhouse is not in Packers plans, at least for anything other than a backup.

Stroh's picture

Clearly Newhouse isn't the best OL of the starters. Otherwise he wouldn't be in competition for a starting job. However, to say he is absolutely horrible is far from true! Last year he gave up same sacks in about 1/3 more snaps. That's serious improvement. What he needs to do is do that or something close this season. The snaps won't go up but his bad plays have to go down. Newhouse is by far the best athlete among the OL. He has better feet than even Sherrod or Bulaga and it isn't close. He actually pass blocks pretty well and came out w/ a strong postitive grade in pass blocking! His issue is much more his run blocking. Showing that most fans are clearly over-reacting to him. He needs to continue to get better and if shows anything like the improvement he had last year he will be a starter.

cow42's picture

no way they go back.

Oppy's picture

i agree with you cow.. the only way I see them moving bulaga or sitton back over to the right is if injury forces their hand.

This is simply too big of a change- and disruption to the necessary prep for the season- to end up getting wishy-washy and change their minds on before the season starts.

PackerBacker's picture

Agree Cow, at least not this season. Who knows about next season. Maybe they switch back if Sherrod shows that he can do it.

mani2packers's picture

Hoping sherrod wins RT. Hate to waste a 1st rounder. I feel really good about Barclay. I feel like our run game picked up due to him and harris equally. Love Datko. I cant explain it but I feel really excited about him. Like a probowler in the making year in and out excited. I would like to make changes at corner. I would love shields, house and Hayward starting.

cow42's picture

i am only confident in 1 OL'man... Sitton.
Bulaga's got his spot handed to him - he'd have to lose it and there's no one any better (and ready) on the roster so he gets LT by default.

EVERY OTHER LINE POSITION SHOULD BE UP FOR GRABS.

my dream line would be (assuming all these guys earned their spots)...

Sherrod - Sitton - Barclay - Bulaga - Datko

my gut tells me week one will be...

Bulaga - Sitton - EDS - Lang - Barclay

Shawn's picture

I agree. I have my doubts on Lang holding on to the RG spot until the end of the season and RT is wide open but Barclay has the leg up. Sherrod – Sitton – Barclay – Bulaga – Datko, if all of these guys could play up to their perceived potential, you would have one hell of an OL.

Lucky953's picture

Sherrod is not healthy. Newhouse can't run block, but he's a nice backup to have. Datko is too green, but if his shoulder is good he may stick. Barclay gets the nod. He's got the size, decent feet, and he's got the attitude.

PackerBacker's picture

I agree with this to start the season, but I think that Sherrod will take the starting spot before the end of the season.

Barutan Seijin's picture

Sorry, the LT situation is what it is; Newhouse is the team's best LT. Bulaga will be back to RT & Newhouse at LT at around Game 4. (It will be obvious that's what needs to be done in the pre-season, but MM will stick with Bulaga at LT as long as he can -- unless Rodgers ends up concussed.) Sherrod's had more surgery. It's rather doubtful he'll play. I'm pretty sure they'll go with EDS at Center. I get the feeling someone could take Lang's spot.

peteo's picture

newhouse is not an nfl starting O lineman he should be a backup

peteo's picture

the starting line will be barclay lang eds sitton bulaga i could see sherrod at rt and barclay overtaking lang at right guard as the season moves forward

FITZCORE1252's picture

RT is wide open, and that's effing awesome. With all those bodies, one would think there's a stud in there who will be a great fit. It all depends on Sherrods health, if he can go, I'd have to think he's got the edge as I have no doubt the brass wants to save face on their 1st rounder. However it shakes out, I think the line play is going to be a step up this year, and we're going to see five guys take pride in setting a tone in the run game knowing that there's no more excuses as they have a couple legit talents toting the rock. That running game automatically heps them in the passing game... #12 won't come close to 50+ sacks this year. Guaranteed.

Gonna be fun, can't wait!

PackerBacker's picture

I just don't see MM swapping the sides back in the season. He might be willing to make big moves in the offseason, but he tends to try to hold things steady during the season.
It would take a major collapse by Bulaga on the left side to see him move back to the right.

Brooklyn81's picture

My dream ol is Bulaga-Sitton-Lang-Barclay-Sherrod.

perrin's picture

Enough of this trash about Lang not being a O-lineman. One person says it and then the rest ride the wave in... The fucker played all over the line last year, even at tackle. One would assume that he must be more than competent if the coach would bring a guard over to tackle, no matter the situation. BULAGA-SITTON-EDS-LANG-NEWHOUSE

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

I'm a big Lang fan, he's only getting better.

I don't see Newhouse as the RT. His best position is backup tackle imo.

Idiot Fan's picture

I don't want to peg a guy based on one game, but I remember last year in the preseason when they played Newhouse at RT. It was....just.....wow.

packeraaron's picture

Amen perrin. Could not agree more. Lang is much better than given credit for.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Sooo, is it safe to assume that Bulaga's hip is a non-issue?

PackerBacker's picture

That's what everyone seems to be saying. Only one way to tell though, suit up. I'm pumped. Let's get this thing started.

Bibbon Hazel's picture

He shot a 39 on nine holes! Should have been a 37 had he been training with the physically superior 49ers but still. Hip is OK

dawg's picture

Campen now has the tools he needs to finally put together a legit OL, albeit some young very talented prospects, BUT Campen needs to finally whip this group into a solid, respectful OL, no more 51 sacks per season!
110 Mil. broken on the bench won't go over well in GB. because his ass is getting beat.
MM and Campen better figure it out.

Lambeauardi's picture

I think McCarthy screwed up.
He didn't need to say anything.
But now the "big change" is out there.
And regardless whether it works or not, he'll have to stick with it.
If he had just STFU, he could have backed away -- "experiment didn't work..."
But now he's talked so much, it's like he'd lose face if he reverts to the former lineup.
We've seen him stick with bad ideas before (ie: Sherrod at guard) and not budge from them.

But it makes sense to put the best tackle on the left side.
Which means there's no hope for Sherrod.

If you look at the metrics, Sherrod would be a best-fit left tackle -- height, weight, arm-length, etc. But I think McCarthy's move telegraphs that his leg won't hold up.
Could that 2nd surgery have been to remove a plate, or something holding the bones together, to promote healing?
If left in place it could have been an irritant; removing it would likely feel great.
But the many months between the initial surgery and the followup surgery seem suspicious to me.
Flanagan wasn't particularly mobile, but at Center that wasn't too much of a problem. But tackle is a different challenge all together.
Sherrod is as good as gone, otherwise why give up on a 1st rounder at his natural position, that had the better physical tools as compared to Bulaga? with Sherrod's limited NFL experience, why move him from the comfort-zone of LT, and force a new experience at RT? Why move Bulaga from his comfort-zone at RT?
I'm very much concerned that Bulaga will not be as good of a left tackle as he was a right tackle.

How many times have we heard that Newhouse doesn't make the same mistake twice?
Were the 37 hurries and 9 sacks that he allowed truly forty-six separate and distinct moves or situations that he hadn't experienced?
Hardly...
Granted you can see only so much on tv, but seems like I saw him give up on a play after a few seconds, not stay engaged, not play to the whistle.
Played more snaps, with fewer hurries/sacks? not the kind of improvement, not enough improvement, when comparing the two seasons.
At times I thought he played timid, or scared.
If Datko shows anything, I wouldn't be surprised to see Newhouse cut, as it doesn't look like he has any upside.

Talk about cheap shots. Touting his own maturity? I don't know about this Bakhtiari character -- is he in love with football, or being interviewed?

Tretter might be the more-athletic, better-equipped Ivy league player, as compared to Van Roten.

Bulaga -- Sitton -- EDS -- Lang -- Barclay
(Tretter, Datko)

I guess we'll find out if better backs really make the oLine better... because after all the Macbeth stuff, the line hasn't really changed.

Jamie's picture

What world do you live in??

This 'experiment' would have been exposed the first day the media attended OTAs...if not sooner.

My gawd some people have to find blame in everything that they don't understand or agree with...when it's really that they are just utterly clueless to reality.

Wake up and smell the oxygen dude!!

PackerBacker's picture

Ummmmm, no. To basically all of this.

I'd be careful trying to interpret someones intentions based on their actions.

Also, moving Bulaga to the left may have nothing to do with Sherrod's health. Couldn't it be just as possible that he's healthy? If he were, wouldn't you want to give a guy a chance to prove he can play somewhere that isn't the most important position on the line? If he's good enough, he wins the starting right tackle spot and then they worry about switching them from right to left next year, after Sherrod has had a little seasoning.

packeraaron's picture

Newhouse isn't getting cut. Please.

Lambeauardi's picture

I'm pretty sure that you're the guy that said that Brad Jones wouldn't play in the middle...
...with some smarmy anecdote similar to "trust me" or "take it from me" -- quite like your previous post of "Please."

...a remark that was as cocksure as it was inaccurate.

packeraaron's picture

Lol. Pretty sure I said I would be surprised if he was. And surprised I was.

As for the Newhouse comment - sure, he could get cut. And yes, I'd be surprised. The guy played every snap in 2012 and is the one candidate for RT that has any serious experience playing in the NFL. Of course, he could flame out spectacularly and everyone else could shine, leading to his release.

But again - I'd be surprised.

perrin's picture

Im just confused as to why you would actually take the time to sit down and write a short story that has no bearing in reality whatsoever?!
Do you honestly think that putting your best pass blockers on the blindside of your Franchise/Super Bowl MVP/ Future Hall Of Fame QB is a bad thing? Of course you don't...

Are you of sound mind when you suggest that FIRST-ROUNDER Derek Sherrod, who hasn't played more than a game, is "as good as gone" yet you give Andrew Datko, whose NEVER even seen time with the 1's in practice this season (also coming of a shoulder that's been a problem since college) his spot?! Mmm, not a chance.

You're final infraction (for now) is the fact that you have TRETTER & DATKO as the immediate backups to start the season. A rookie who they haven't found a position for and a RT who has never played a snap in the NFL. Senseless is the mildest term that comes to mind.

MarkinMadison's picture

I don't know why anyone is talking about Bulaga and Sitton going back to the right. MM wanted an open competition, he just was not comfortable having the open competition on the blind-side of the best QB in the league. So he moves his two best guys to the blind side and tells everyone else, "Jump ball! Go get it." It's that simple. No, Sitton and Bulaga will not be going back to the right side this season.

And I LOVE this move. I can see Barclay being better and winning the RT job. I can see Sherrod being healthy and winning the RT job. I can see Newhouse rising to the challenge and winning the RT job. But having that competition at LT? That would scare the c$#% out of me.

PackerBacker's picture

Amen. +1

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

+2

Lucky953's picture

I am really intrigued by Tretter as a future center. Obviously a very smart kid, seemed to have a lot of poise when I saw him interviewed. Has good measureables, realistically understands the learning curve. IF he's got the "nasty", I think EDS is a short-term solution, as evidenced by the low ball contract offer. Not much upside to him. I think the Packers expect someone else to step up and take the job. They obviously have to get more physically dominating at the LOS. If you get some push, create some creases, DEs cannot pin their ears back and explode off the edge, giving your tackles a fraction more time to get their sets.

al's picture

RIGHT ON MAN

246 toothpicks's picture

I think the only new starter on the o-line will be Bahktiari. I really think he will win the job. I hate saying it and hope I'm wrong but I don't think Sherrod will ever play again, despite what MM says. Call it a gut feeling. I think Datko and Barclay will be key backups and Tretter is the starting C next year, backing up EDS this year. I think Newhouse is in the fight for his life to make this team.

mark's picture

I just love the competition. Great job as always by TT and MM to see the problem, and address it. Camp will obviously decide how this shapes up--and not this message board. Though the speculation is always fun and it's kind of what we do as fans.

But whatever happens, having such a deep and talented group with Sherrod, Newhouse, Bahktiari, Barclay and Datko--that will push competition to great heights, and will likely elevate the play of all involved. And it's nearly impossible to imagine that one of those guys won't seize the day and really shine at RT. And even then, we're guaranteed to come away with some substantial depth, especially when you add another young cog like Tretter. My, my it's a good time to be a Packers fan.

For the record, I like Barclay to win the RT spot. The guy plays mean, and the Packers need mean, especially now that we have that wrecking ball known as Eddie Lacy. Go Pack Go!

madmanJack's picture

nobody mentioned Lane Johnson FA out of Oklahoma? good size..not athletic but never gave up a sack in college. more of a mauler, brawler....long shot but you never know until the pads go on.

Brian Carriveau's picture

In four years of college, Johnson didn't play anything but guard, so I wouldn't expect him to do anything different in the NFL where protecting against speed on the edge will be an even bigger challenge. But it will definitely be interesting to see what he's got with such a big body.

Log in to comment, upload your game day photos and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.

Or log in with Facebook

Packers Tickets

Must Read

Quote

"The Bears still suck!"
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."