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Sitton Not "As Dominant" This Season

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Sitton Not "As Dominant" This Season

When recording today's Packers Minute, I talked about Mason Crosby's early-season success and how he's performing up to his new five-year, nearly $15 million contract.

It got me to thinking about other players recently signing high-profile deals with the Packers, one of which was offensive lineman Josh Sitton.

It's far too early to make sweeping generalizations five games into the 2011 season, but so far, after signing a five-year contract extension with over $33 million in new money right before this season began, Sitton doesn't appear to be playing up to the same level as a year ago.

That's not to say Sitton is playing poorly or the Packers aren't getting their money's worth. I'd still take him over a ton of other guards in the NFL and think he'll get back to being his old self.

But despite what Pro Bowl and All-Pro voters indicated last year, Sitton looked like perhaps the top interior offensive lineman in the entire league last year. And if he wasn't at the very top, he was in the discussion. Sitton was named the NFL Alumni Association's Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2010, a recognition he earned over even the top tackles in the league.

He's just isn't playing at that same level right now, however.

Far be it from me to break down the finer points of offensive line play. There's little in the way of individual statistics to analyze the men that play in the trenches, but there's one statistic that caught my attention: penalties.

Through 16 regular season and four playoff games in 2010, Sitton had a total of three penalties. That's an average of less than one every six games.

In 2011, through the first five weeks, Sitton has already matched last season's penalty total, one false start and two holding penalties, including one holding call this past week against the Atlanta Falcons that occurred on third down in the red zone with the Packers at the Atlanta seven-yard line.

Instead of third-and-2, it a forced third-and-12 situation that the Packers didn't convert and had to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown.

Are penalties the only measuring stick for Josh Sitton or all offensive linemen for that matter? Certainly not. From here I turn to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Bob McGinn, a much more astute football mind than myself.

In his ratings from this past weekend's game that appears in the Journal Sentinel's subscription-only online platform, McGinn writes, "Scott Wells wasn't quite as good as he has been in the first month, but he was much better than Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang. Sitton had two 'bad' runs, one in which he just dived at DT Corey Peters on the back side rather than bringing his feet with him, and a costly holding penalty when he was beat up the field by Peters. He hasn't been as dominant this season."

I can't stress enough, this post isn't intended to belittle Sitton's ability or contributions to the team. When a team is 5–0, I guess you're grasping for critical analysis. But as head coach Mike McCarthy and several players have pointed out numerous times, the Packers still have mistakes to clean up, room to grow and are far from a finished product.

This post is meant to point out a couple shortcomings that hopefully will be cleaned up in short order, most of which appear to be mental, and he gets back to dominating once again.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (45) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersRS's picture

Still, per PFF, Sitton hasn't allowed a single pressure. The entire interior OL hadn't till last game, when Wells and Lang both allowed.

But not Sitton.

packeraaron's picture

"Still, per PFF, Sitton hasn’t allowed a single pressure."

Right. Because they were flagged for holding.

Stevelknievel's picture

You just got Naglered.

Chucking Wood 21's picture

+1

PackersRS's picture

So that discredits what I quoted because? 2 holding penalty in 5 weeks isn't dominant?

Also, don't get defensive, I haven't watched Sitton closely to conclude one way or another.

But if 2 holding penalty is enough to be worried about Sitton, those are really high standards.

Doug's picture

Brian,
I hate the fact that you have to devote the last two paragraphs of your posting to qualify what you are saying. It is a sad commentary on the state of reader feedback that you would have to defend your post like that. I would think that the gist of your post would be understood.

Good job as always.

packeraaron's picture

Doug,

I think Brian is more worried about Sitton's feedback than the readers... ;)

Doug's picture

Yeah, I can see how that would be more intimidating!

Stevelknievel's picture

America: Only country in the World where a blogger is more worried about reprisal from an O-lineman than, say, it's government. God Bless the USA. And God Bless Brian Carriveau. I'd like to see Sitton try to say something to The Voo.

MarkinMadison's picture

I don't know, I'd call it being objective, even-handed, putting things in context. I thought it was right on the money.

Anyway, I've been wondering what's up with all of his penalties. Is he getting called for stuff he used to get away with? Is he having to hold because he's off on his fundamentals? Did he let his off-season training slide a little? I don't know. I'd sure like to know, because this is the guy everyone was expecting to be the rock of the line.

Jer's picture

I noticed on Larry McCarren's show on Monday, Sitton appeared to have some sort of brace or bandage on this his left ankle. Is it possible he's not 100%?

CSS's picture

Can't disagree, but he's still performing at a high level. Easier to play mistake free ball when you don't worry about the guy next to you.

You have to admit, Sitton is going to be over-processing a bit (just in the interim) depending on who's playing to his right. Same with the Lang.

mocheeseplease's picture

How does the JS feel about the posting of excerpts from PI articles?

Brian Carriveau's picture

I think they'd be happy for the accurately cited free promotion of their services.

packeraaron's picture

You would be correct Brian.

MarkinMadison's picture

Could you give us the whole article then? :-)

Charlie's picture

No, that wouldn't be fair use. A quoted portion in the context of a different story is okay though.

MarkinMadison's picture

That was a joke son.:-)

ppabich's picture

A few ramblings:

The rest of the O-Line has been superb this season. Lang has been an improvement and Bulaga was playing lights out before he got hurt.

I wonder if the poor interior play Sunday was due to the lack of cohesion because of the Tackle shifts.

Whether, it's Newhouse or Sherod at LT, it looks like this week we are getting a look at what the O-Line is going be for a long, long time.

Would we have ever thought two years ago that this line would have this much depth?

PackersRS's picture

Again, as per PFF (only source I have for OL play), till last game, the interior OL was graded as the best in the league. Bulaga had been graded very highly, Clifton not so much.

http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/10/12/re-focused-packers-falco...

The point is, Sitton has been so good for so long that anything other than sheer dominance is met with worry by Packers fans.

I also think the surprising play of both Lang but specially Wells has overshadowed Sitton's play. If he was so dominant despite often having to compensate for Wells and Colledge, why isn't he as flawless now?

CSS's picture

PFF actually had Bulaga as one of their offensive MVP's in the NFC prior to his injury. That's how highly he graded out.

I'm not concerned about Sitton unless the penalties trend for the remaining 2/3rd's of the season.

MarkinMadison's picture

Lang's been a definite upgrade. Wells is playing great in a contract year. Having one proven and two promising young tackles on the roster is a problem that most teams would kill to have. Cripes, right now the Bears don't have a single healthy tackle who deserves to be starting in the NFL. You really can't say enough good things about how the Packers have set up their OL to win.

packerbacker's picture

I know first had that sitton is a very lazy individual and was worried about his work ethic once he got his money. I hope I'm wrong, but he seems like one of those players who is going to coast through his contract. which is suprising considering his background

PackersRS's picture

I don't know Sitton at all, but to call his play so far "coasting" is absurd.

CSS's picture

Please tell me this is parody?

PackersRS's picture

Just one last time, an observation regarding pressures by all offensive linemen in the league as of september 30:

http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/09/30/signature-stats-snapshot...

Sitton was graded as the 5th best guard up to that point, with 1 pressure allowed. Lang as the 9th, with 2.

Wells the best center with 0, Bulaga as the 5th best RT with 5, and Clifton the 28th tackle with 12 pressures up to that point.

The list does not rate run blocking nor penalties. PFF does in their positional rankings, but that requires (unfortunately) a premium account.

MarkinMadison's picture

Oh, look at that! Daryn Colledge, #51 among guards in pass blocking efficiency. Where are all those folks who were telling us how much we'd miss his pass blocking? C'mon now folks, we can all fess up when we're wrong.

mrjnumber1's picture

To be fair, he has to play for the Arizona Cardinals surrounded by the worst OL unit conceivable. but that won't stop the media from talking about the amazing coaching job of BOSS HOGG in spite of him not... being a good coach.

PackerT's picture

Playing for the Cardinals has nothing to do with his individual pass blocking skills!....HE SUCKS!

packeraaron's picture

My god people....

ppabich's picture

SAMPLE SIZE!!!!!!

MarkinMadison's picture

Sorry, I was feeling a bit flip late last night. It's an individual measure. Nearly 1/3 of the season is in the books. Like all stats, take is for what it is, but it's not nothing.

Tarynfor 12's picture

I'm sure Rodgers told Sitton to just let the guy get me from the rear and save the penalty.
What would be said if Sitton didn't hold and Rodgers got hammered from the back.
That was a must hold and shouldn't be considered as a lack of play.Yes he got beat,but he still saved his QB and everyone gets beat some time.

packeraaron's picture

Where did anyone call it "lack of play"? And what does "lack of play" mean?

some guy's picture

i sometimes suffer from "lack of play". its not fun.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Don't worry guy, I've been picking up your slack. It all balances out.

Tarynfor 12's picture

I wasn't quoting but merely using a different wording.Saying he isn't playing up to last years level can be worded differently by each wrtting about it.

Some ride their horse a tad too high here at times.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Lomfl. Ah Nagz, that's why we're bff's.

Hairy's picture

Really? I like to play all day!

PackersRS's picture

I am not gonna make the hairy and playing joke.

Norman's picture

Brian, I can't believe you're belittling Sitton's ability and implying that he is contributing zero to the team.

packsmack25's picture

LOL

mrjnumber1's picture

Yeah, you're right! I thought that was Nagler's job. xD

JerseyCheese's picture

Per PFF, you guys are all tools

Phillthy Phill's picture

+1

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