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Who's Going To Play Right Tackle?

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Who's Going To Play Right Tackle?

The list is long, if not distinguished, of possibilities to take over at right tackle on the offensive line. Names like Giacomini, Barbre, Lang and Meredith look less like viable options and more like so many lottery tickets, ones that Ted Thompson has purchased in bulk in the hopes that one will pan out.

One thing is for sure, James Campen, who came under fire a bit last year for the uneven play of the offensive line, will have his work cut out for him molding a starting NFL tackle out of this group. It really makes me wish that Thompson had made his big trade back into the first round to grab the free falling Michael Oher, who ended up going to Baltimore with the 23rd pick, three spots before the Packers selected Matthews. What's done is done, of course, but grabbing Oher would have done two things - solidified the right side this year and solved the problem of replacing Clifton when his body finally gives out.

It will be, without question, the most scrutinized position battle in camp. Yes, outside linebacker and defensive end will be battles, but there's simply no way the offense will run anywhere near optimum level if the right tackle spot isn't sorted out. One need look no further than Tony Moll's stint there last season to see what the drop off from Tauscher could look like. It isn't pretty. Was Tausch having a Pro Bowl season? No. But after a shaky start, he was solid as always, and I think fans and perhaps even the team itself, may have taken his high level of play for granted.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ron LaCanne's picture

Let's hope Preston can make the adjustment. If not, there still maybe the chance to grab an old guy that was cut for salary pruposes just before the season. As stated before, the Linemen picked up in this draft are strictly developmental prospects. A bit small and not very well known. And I'm assuming MM is trying to minimize the use of the ZBS after last year's experiment in terror.

DaveK's picture

Yeah, it is anyone's guess if they can find a quality RT out of that group. I do think that keeping Clifton, Colledge, and Spitz consistantly at LT, LG, and center will be a big improvement from last year. Those three will move some people and that should help the running game which might take some pressure off the passing game. The key there is to figure out the RG spot so Spitz can stay at center. Spitz is just a better center then guard and Wells just doesn't push anyone backward.

packeraaron's picture

Dave - McCarthy indicated in his Draft PC that Sitton will start at RG. The line is pretty much set, working under the assumption that Spitz will replace Wells. Clifton, Colledge, Spitz, Sitton and...?

One other point: I have to respectfully disagree with you in regards to the left side of the line being able to 'help the running game' - Clifton is a big-time liability in the running game and Colledge, while improved, is still inconsistent. My hope is that Spitz will help the RIGHT side, with Sitton and possibly Barbre forming a nasty, brutish, battering ram for the running game, along with my favorite new Packer Quinn Johnson of course ;)

bucky's picture

I disagree with your assessment that Tauscher was "solid as always" after a shaky start. Last year Tauscher's performance really took a turn for the worse, to the point where he was often a bigger liability than Clifton. There's a reason the Packers don't plan to re-sign him; it's because he's no longer as good as the other guys on the roster.

That's too bad, because he was a home town boy and a good guy, but you don't keep your job in this league by being (or by signing) a "good guy."

Rob's picture

I'm not sure why everyone is discounting Lang and Meredith this season. They probably are not the favorites to begin with but they are both significant talents. Someone said they are small... They are bigger than most the people we have. I would not be shocked if one of them took over at some point this season and become a starter for years to come.

buckslayernyc's picture

Barbre will be playing Left Tackle. The Packers will release Clifton. What is going on is they are finding the right tackle and the left tackle in the right tackle competition without telling clifton, who they don't have to pay until the first game. He is insurance, and nothing more. If Barbre cannot beat Clifton, then he deserves to be Cut. Brenno or Meredith will be playing Right Tackle. ....Just watch as it unfolds.....This is the only way it can happen without pissing off Clifton so he asks for his release, or the packers ending up critically short handed in case of injury. Clifton gets $3 mil this year I believe. I am sure Ted will want to put that toward Collins or Jennings.....No way Clifton makes the final roster, just no way, he is old, slow and creaky, a definite poor fit for the ZBS but good for Seattle or Arizona...by the way anyone else want Travis L'boy? guy crushed Phillie in the playoffs, would be a great addition to push Jolly and Harrell.

DaveK's picture

buckslayer - Clifton's cap number is $8 million this year. ($4.4 Base, $2 pro-rated signing bonus, and $1.6 incentives) It is the 2nd highest on the team right now until Raji's deal gets done. LT's just get that kind of cash! Anyway, I definately don't see Clifton as that washed up. He makes the team because I don't see Barbre or Moll being as good a LT.

Aaron - I hear you on Clifton in the run game. It may be wishful thinking on my part that Clifton, Colledge, and Spitz would be considerably better then Clifton, Spitz, and Wells at pushing people backward. I'm just hopeful you get those three guys consistently together and you see better blocking and less breakdowns where some fat dude shimmies into the backfield untouched which happened way too much last year. I wonder how many drives last year stalled because 1st+10 turned into 2nd+14.

I think that Wells has trouble making this roster. Preston can play center and did quite a bit last year for the Bills. Unless Preston becomes a starter at guard I don't see the need to keep Wells as a backup center.

buckslayernyc's picture

Dave,

Poor fitting players with bad knees who can't run block do not make $8 million. You just proved my theory....it's shocking really. No way Clifton makes the team. All comers will be given every opportunity to beat him out, tie goes to the guy making less (Barbre). This is really a classic case of us all being in the dark as to what the day to day is during the season on which lineman are doing the job and coming along.

its not like we can see a player like Nelson come in once in a while and make a catch and say.....wow that guy is going to be something someday. With the line its always a surprise because there are not 8 lineman formations where guys come in once in a while.

Figure that guys are close, they can smell it, and they will be trying to unseat the old man. One thing is for sure. Ted will not be paying $8mil for a back up, and Clifton will only be practicing once a day, which gives the young guys plenty of reps at his position.

i am telling you right now, Clifton is done, only a matter of time between now and the first game. The Pack does not have to make the announcement now, they want someone to beat him out, the want someone to earn the job, and if someone on the roster cannot beat out this guy who almost plays on crutches, then they all got some 'splainin to do. He is done, much as that may make some people here nervous.

Rob's picture

Clifton is obviously on the downside of his career but he is not as awful as you make him sound. What you are saying is a possibility but if he shows he can play it does no harm letting him finish out his contract. I just think you're being overly critical

buckslayernyc's picture

You gotta go look at the games last year, he was overwhelmed physically in many of them.

The issue is Quality vs. Cost = Value

AT $8MIL THE VALUE IS NOT THERE because the quality has dropped and the cost has risen. This one is easy....Clifton is making more than Jennings, Grant, Collins, Woodson, Harris, Barnette and Hawk next year? WWWHHHATTTT?????

He is not gonna make it, no way, not Ted's Way. I am sure his agent is aware.

Keith's picture

Very interesting points, buckslayernyc, and I don't think I can argue with you.

While.I support competition and letting the best man win, I think continuity is extremely important on the O-Line. So I hope MM doesn't drag the battle out too long so that these guys can get used to playing together.

buckslayernyc's picture

From Beddard and referencing my passing comment yesterday on Laboy (above). I would love to get this guy at a reasonable price.

Another wave of NFL free agency will soon begin as teams sift through the post-draft collection of released players. One name who could get some NFC North action is defensive end Travis LaBoy, whom Arizona released Tuesday.

Green Bay has expressed some preliminary interest in LaBoy, who at 250 pounds probably projects as an outside linebacker in the Packers' new 3-4 scheme. LaBoy has primarily played one of the end positions in a 4-3 scheme, but his pass-rushing skills still make him worth a look-see for the Packers. LaBoy could also work as a designated pass rusher if and when new defensive coordinator Dom Capers mixes in a 4-3 alignment.

LaBoy has 23.5 sacks during a five-year career with the Cardinals and Tennessee. Injuries have been a consistent problem, and he's never played a 16-game season. It's doubtful he would project as a starter with the Packers, and general manager Ted Thompson isn't exactly a leader in the free-agent market. But as a role player who would come at a reasonable cost, LaBoy might be a nice addition.

packeraaron's picture

bucks - I think you're way, way off on Clifton. The guy is not what he was, but he handled, occassionaly with help, more often on his own, Dwight Freeney, Mario Williams, Julius Peppers, John Abraham and DeMarcus Ware. Yes, some of those guys got sacks, but not against Cliffy. Williams got one against Moll. Peppers got his on a stunt. The guy is a pass blocker, one of the better ones in the league, and is worth every penny.

Rob's picture

I have to agree with packeraaron. I have a hard time imagining his play dipping to the point where a guy like Barbre is just as good. We have salary space for this season. I don't care if he is 1 or 8 mil, if he is the better player and deamed healthy enough we play him. Next year will be a different story. If we're going to overpay, let it be for a LT

buckslayernyc's picture

You guys were not watching the same games as I last year...not to mention how many fricken' holding penalties did he have? He is slow, done for, over the hill, Kaput already. Last year was the precursor to him falling off the proverbial cliff(ton).

Guys, two more knee surgeries is not good news, its not like changing a tire...

I will be sorry to see him go. Again, we never know what we have with our lineman untill they get some playing time. Guys are due for a big step up to the plate this year on that line or they will be shown the door. Having Clifton as the starter one more year does us no good.

packeraaron's picture

bucks - As I said, he's not what he once was. He's a step slower, which is why you see holding penalties when you didn't before. He was always good for one false start per half, so nothing's changed there. The guy is a good pass blocker. Not great, but very very good. I'll live with the occasional holding penalty.

buckslayernyc's picture

Note to Aaron:

We want to run the ball. He was fine when the master was rocketing off a slant in 1.7 seconds, that is not the game plan any more. WCO sure, but the caveman ball control version.

No interceptions, no fumbles, just control the line of scrimmage.

We need run blockers

Shootz's picture

buck makes good points but it's hard to agree with someone who forces a pun like "falling off the proverbial cliff(ton)" in there.

packeraaron's picture

Bucks - You want to run the ball. I want to run the ball. McCarthy wants to throw the ball. Always has and always will.

buckslayernyc's picture

McCarthy would love to run the ball, he just needs a competent line and healthy backs. Nothing like running the ball to open up passing lanes for YAC.....With Favre it was just the opposite. Rodgers is not the guy to pass first, you have to give him every opportunity to be succesful, which means a strong running game.

Packers will be 50/50 next year if they have a decent line.

The way to win is to run the ball, ask the Steelers....Passing the ball puts more pressure on your own defense, ball control, ball control, ball control, tough for their offensive studs to score when they are sitting on the bench.

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