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Packers Still High on Sherrod

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Packers Still High on Sherrod

The playing time given to Marshall Newhouse in Sunday's Bears due to Bryan Bulaga's knee injury game provided an opportunity to revisit the progress of first-round draft choice Derek Sherrod.

After kicking off training camp as the No. 1 left guard, Sherrod not only lost the starting nod to T.J. Lang, he also fell behind Newhouse on the depth chart as the primary backup at both tackle positions.

Sherrod has been inactive the first three games of the regular season as part of an NFL rule that requires teams to have only 46 players active on game days despite a 53-man roster, a necessity to balance the playing field given that injuries are part of the game.

The Packers typically keep only seven offensive lineman active on game days, because it's extremely rare to suffer any more than two injuries to the offensive line in the course of one game. And not only that, because of their large body size, offensive linemen are generally ineffective on special teams––where backups are needed––for anything more than kick protection.

Still, most observers probably wouldn't have guessed that the Packers' top overall draft choice would be inactive on game days when even a seventh-rounder and a couple undrafted rookies are getting more playing time.

Head coach Mike McCarthy was asked about Sherrod on Monday and maintained he's very satisfied with the Mississippi State product and to suggest any disapproval of him would be unwise.

"This is where we are," said McCarthy. "I think it's convenient criticism, questioning when you go after your first round pick. I'm very pleased with Derek where he is in his progress."

McCarthy said experience is the primary factor why Newhouse is getting the first crack as the top backup offensive lineman.

Despite not having much game experience himself, Newhouse did have the benefit of an entire year learning the Packers' offensive system in 2010.

"Marshall is a little ahead of Derek, obviously, in the experience category, and that's why Marshall has this opportunity," said McCarthy. "It's really in his best interests to keep it. I'm very pleased with the way Marshall played, very pleased in his development from year one to year two not having the offseason program. We've got two young tackles we're excited about."

Sherrod, meanwhile, wasn't the beneficiary of an offseason training program like Newhouse was due to the NFL lockout this past spring and summer.

The offseason, when rookie orientation, individual position workouts, organized team activities and minicamp are held, is when a lot of teaching and learning occurs in the NFL, where most practices occur without pads and helmets. Technique and learning the playbook are some of the primary goals. Sherrod didn't have the benefit of any of them.

The Packers are trying to make up for lost time by scheduling extra classroom periods with the rookies and other young players, getting them up to speed.

"Derek is spending the extra time just really like all of our rookie, young players are," said McCarthy. "We're spending more individual meeting time with our young players on Thursdays and Fridays that we have not done in the past. That approach will not change."

With Bulaga's status up in the air for the upcoming game against the Denver Broncos, Sherrod will see an increased workload during the practice week.

"Derek will get more reps with the first group than he has," said McCarthy. "Marshall will get the reps that he'll need to be ready to play if Bryan cannot go."

Newhouse is still ahead of Sherrod on the depth chart, but depending on Bulaga's availability, it's possible Sherrod could be active for the first time on Sunday.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

packerbacker's picture

im glad his is sitting... why? because we have another first rounder that sat a few years an now we have the best qb in the league. i expect sherrod will be a very good LT in a year or too. hang in there derek!

Evan's picture

..."because it's extremely rare to suffer any more than two injuries to the offensive line in the course of one game."

Unless you're the Pittsburgh Steelers.

dullgeek's picture

I'm glad MM is happy with Sherrod. But as a fan, I think there's some merit to being worried about his development. He's the only first round O-lineman from this draft that hasn't played in a game. Every other one has started at least 2 games. In fact, every other OT taken in the first 3 rounds has played in at least 2 games.

#9 DAL Tyron Smith 3 games started
#17 NE Nate Solder 2 games started (3 played)
#22 IND Anthony Castonzo 3 games started
#25 SEA James Carpenter 3 games started
#29 CHI Gabe Carimi 2 games started (2 played)
#32 GB Derrek Sherrod 0 games played
#46 DEN Orlando Franklin 3 games started
#49 IND Ben Ijalana 0 games started (3 played)
#63 PIT Marcus Gilbert 2 games started (2 played)
#85 BAL Jah Reid 0 games started (2 played)
#92 OAK Joseph Barksdale 0 games started (3 played)

Given that all these other players are seeing the field, and many of them starting, that suggests that Sherrod is not keeping up with his peers from the draft.

Am I missing something?

Evan's picture

Yeah, I think you are.

Him not seeing the field in Green Bay has a lot more to do with the quality of Green Bay's tackles than it does with Sherrod's ability.

Personally, I'm glad we haven't needed him on the field yet. Being forced to start a rookie is hardly an enviable position to be in.

That said, the fact that the Packers haven't needed him does make me wonder if the pick would have been better spent on an OLB or DB. But hindsight, ya know.

Spiderpack's picture

Agree with you and with J Al and RS below. But to add and perhaps refresh a point: Ted is building this team through the draft, and the way you do that is by picking what you believe to be the best player available. Even though, during the offseason, it might look like we have one piece of the puzzle missing, its still in the Packers' best interest to take the BPA, unless perhaps the one glaring deficiency might threaten your franchise (such as QB, complete lack of RBs, LTackle, and maybe even Center).

dullgeek's picture

Good point. Thanks for the response.

PackersRS's picture

You're missing 3 things:

Clifton, Bulaga and Newhouse.

Jersey Al's picture

exactly

dullgeek's picture

True enough. Thanks for the response.

LovetheBelt's picture

What about Danny Watkins? He hasn't played even though the Eagle's line has been pretty bad.

dullgeek's picture

Ooops! Missed him. Nice catch.

Tarynfor 12's picture

Other the NE,what is happening to their QBs?
These teams had no choice but to play their rookies.

Nerdmann's picture

Sherrod's gonna be awesome. They only have 8 Olinemen, but remember, they've got an extra roster spot due to Collins' injury. And this injury was at T, whereas we're one G short in case of injury. We got two extra Ts.

DaveK's picture

The Packers kept Matthews on the bench for the start of his rookie year giving the nod to Poppinga. It's what they do.

Spiderpack's picture

He was injured and recovering.

ppabich's picture

We, as fans, often put too much stock into where a guy is drafted. When somebody is drafted in the first round we expect a lot out of the player. But, by the time the player gets to training camp, where he is drafted becomes a sunk cost. The best players play on Sundays, and whether the guy was drafted in the 1st round or 5th round is irrelevent. What i'm getting at is, if Newhouse is a good player (and the better player) what does it matter what Sharrod does. His developement is important because you need depth, and hopefully he will have an oppertunity to contribute in the future. But at this point thats the extent of it.

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