Almost everything written about the Packers over the course of the past month has been focused on the defense, and for good reason. But the silent problem for Ted Thompson, and it's not a small one, is the right tackle position on the offensive line.
After Mark Tauscher went down, a lot of pundits speculated that Tauscher had played his last down as a Packer, due to his age, injury history and the noticeable dip his play had taken, at least earlier in the year. I'm not sure I agree with this. My hunch is that Thompson has seen the tape from the games the Packers played after Tauscher went down and realized he doesn't have a replacement on the roster. Tony Moll was less than inspiring. Daryn Colledge got a chance in the final week of the season and looked lost before getting injured. (And when you look lost against the 2008 Detroit Lions, you KNOW you're out of position...) The line coming from the Packers is that Breno Giacomini is set to step in as the starter in 2009. But this is just off-season talk. If the kid couldn't crack the lineup during the free-fall that was the 2008 season, while fellow rookie Josh Sitton was getting thrown in whenever possible, well, let's just say it doesn't bode well for his ability.
So what to do? I know draftniks everywhere are salavating at the prospect of the Packers nabbing an elite talent to add to the front seven in Dom Capers' new defense, but the reality is that if there's an offensive tackle like Eugene Monroe available when the Packers pick at number nine, don't be surpised if Thompson goes offense in the first round. I know I've read how Thompson 'neglected' the defense over the course of the last couple drafts, but that's just how those drafts fell. I remember these same people accusing him of wanting Mike Sherman and then Brett Favre to fail because he was seemingly building his defense before doing anything to help the offense. These things are cyclical and really not how teams attack the draft.
Of course, there's always free agency and there may be a tackle prospect waiting that Thompson and crew have their eye on. And as I mentioned above, I also wouldn't be surpised to see Tauscher resigned and gain his old job back. His play got better as the year went on and he was really doing solid work before getting injured. Nothing says he can't come back after rehab and continune where he left off.
All this said, the right tackle position is one to keep your eye on if you're a Packer fan. It's no less worrisome than outside linebacker for the Packers heading into the 2009 season.
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