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Why Tauscher Is Not A Lock To Start

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Why Tauscher Is Not A Lock To Start

I know every one is excited to have Tauscher back. I know he was paid starter money.

But I don't think Tauscher is a lock to be the opening day starter.

I know, I know. He "saved" the season.

What he didn't save was the running game. Now, he's not alone on this. Clifton is just as weak, if not more so, in the run game. But Clifton is the only viable starter at his position currently on the roster, and probably still will be even after the draft. Tauscher, on the other hand, could be pushed by T.J. Lang. I know, it sounds far-fetched...hell, it IS far fetched. And I wouldn't even entertain the thought if not for one particular quote from McCarthy at the Combine:

Yeah, I think our running game was good this year. We can get better. We can get better at stretching the defensive ends. That's something that came out of our offseason study.

Tauscher is a damn fine pass blocker. He's pedestrian as hell as a run blocker and what McCarthy is citing above falls squarely on Tauscher's shoulders (and occasionally the tight ends as well). Yes, Clifton is a liability there as well, but there's just no one to replace him. The same can't be said of Tauscher.

Again, yes, it will most likely NOT happen. But it wouldn't be a shock if it did.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

CSS's picture

I stated on the 'Tauscher Next in Line?' thread:

"Having both Clifton and Tauscher certainly gives one piece of mind in pass-pro, but one could argue (should they both be starting at the same time in 10?) that they are by far the poorest run-blocking tackle tandems in the NFL."

As fans, we tend to focus on pass protection and run blocking as two completely seperate functions, they're not. Tackles that excel in the run blocking game keep DE's/Tackels off balance thus becoming even more effective in pass protection. Jake Long, Joe Thomas, Michael Roos are currently at the top of their game by doing exactly this.

Granted, they're rare specimens, but it's their dominance in the run game that allows them to be so effective in pass pro. Especially Jake Long, he's not as great of an athlete as people think when you start to look at his hip flexibility, change of direction, ability to recover when initially beaten off the snap.

Dilligaff's picture

I think Tauscher's fate as a starter rest with what kind of back up for left tackle we get along with the health of Spitz and whatever is going on with Colledge. I can't see MM starting Lang at RT if Lang is the backup LT. Also if Spitz can't go because of the back and Colledge is not performing well enough I can see Lang at LG if we have a viable backup LT. Maybe MM is willing to put the best 5 lineman out there and if injuries occur, then play musical chairs, not what he wants to do but I am not sure we have a choice with the age and experience of our players. I just have a strong feeling that Lang is going to be held in reserve to back up both Clifton/Tauscher, thus avoiding the musical chairs if we have injuries.

PACKERS.'s picture

I agree, there's probably a 0.000001% chance that could actually happen, buy it wouldn't surprise me. I'll bet the Pack work with Lang during the offseason, and start rotating him in toward the end of the season. He won't start, but expect him to see some more playing time in December.

Go Pack Go!

PackersThad's picture

Wow, I may be in the minority here, but I think there is at least a 30% chance that Lang is the RT before the end of the season. Not a knock on Tauscher at all, but I really really like Lang as a tackle, and they'll find a way to get him into the game.

PackersRS's picture

Even if Lang is 100 times better than Tauscher at the running game, if he's not at least equal to Tauscher in the passing game, he SHOULD NOT get the starting job.

Let's face it, the running game as we use it is a luxury. The Packers' bread and butter is the passing game, and it damn well should be.

The #1 aspect of our Olinemen should allways be pass blocking. Run blocking should only be a tiebreaker.

With the kind of weapons we have, and with Rodgers' mobility, we can do without a mauling OL. But if our OL can't sustain blocks for more than 3 seconds, we're doomed.

Satori's picture

The Packers are pretty high on Lang and its a fair guess he will take over the starting RT spot at some point in 2010. Tauscher is the insurance policy, Lang is the future.

We saw some of his pass- pro skills last year when Lang had to play some LT and even Jared Allen had some positive comments after facing TJ.

With regards to "stretching the DE's", I think that may be an indication that Donald Lee's days at TE are numbered as well.

WoodyG's picture

LT Clifton
LG Lang
C Wells
RG Sitton
RT Tausch/1st Rd. Pick

This is game 1 OL .......... Bank on it.

Ron LC's picture

I like the Lang idea. It sures seems as if Colledge isn't getting much interest with the tender put on him. Anyone here if he is going anywhere for interviews?

nerdmann's laptop's picture

No way this happens. They've got like 4 guys who could play RT. Two who could start. If they draft a T in the first, it's gonna be a LT. They'll draft a C/G higher than a RT.

CSS's picture

You're assuming any future LT they draft will actually be capable of playing at LT right away, they won't. Whichever tackle slides to the 23 spot (if they slide to the 23 spot) will get a chance to start at RT where the pass rush isn't as fierce. Take a look at the laundry list of pass rush specialists the Packers face on next years schedule. No way they slide a rookie in, not even as the backup tackle.

nerdmann's picture

Maybe. We got plenty of talent on the right side already, though. Good luck beating out Tauscher AND Lang.

CSS's picture

You missed the entire point of my post. There is NO WAY any LT of the future the draft at the #23 spot or beyond in 6 weeks will be physically mature enough to even be a back-up considering the pass rushers the Packers have on the schedule in 10'. Strength, technique and sustaining a substantial playing weight are always issues for kids coming out of college.

People's expectations of a ROOKIE BACK-UP LT drafted at the #23 spot or beyond is just silly. He will have '0' impact on the left side until 11'.

Brett Cristino's picture

Definately not far-fetched, if Lang lights it up this Offseason like I think he will though, he'll most likely be at LG. I think if we had a more stable situation at LG, he would definately give Tausch a run for his money but I think he's going to battle with Colledge(if he's still here) and beat him out.

nypacker's picture

Is there a possible chance that Mccarthy rotates the RT position if Lang doesn't start at LG? For instance Tauscher on passing downs but Lang on running plays?

packeraaron's picture

nypacker - highly unlikely. Plus, Ds would tee off whenever they saw Tausch.

BLACKHAWK's picture

Trade Colledge to a team for a late 3rd round or early 4th round pick. Don't need his attitude...see ya Daryn.

Matthew's picture

Woody,

I like your line-up and would be my preference as well. i think a sometimes over-looked story was lovie Smith saying he will use Julius Peppers rushing from the left side. Thats twice a year going against an elite rusher. While Lang did have a decent game against demarcus ware last year against Dallas, his short arms are less than ideal. Usually on the right side you can get away with shorter arms as you don't have to deal with temas best pass rushers, but i think having Julius Peppers in our divison might change that. But having Lang at guard would also present some other challenges

1) who will be your back-up LT?
2) do the packers draft 2 tackle prospects early this draft at the expense of other areas of need?
3) If Colledge gets beat out by Lang will he nadle back-up duties well (ie Wells last year) or will he become a distarction in the lockeroom.
4) Knowing Clifton's injury history, foes Lang actually have more value (at least for next year) as a swing back-up at both Tackle positions than even if he were a starter.

Now my ideal draft would be to trade down to early 2nd and too pick up two 3's or a 3 and a 4. Then I would want to draft

- Jason Fox LT prospect from miami who even with his medical history has a solid chance at becoming a solid LT for many years. Maybe not Pro-bowl level, but above average (maybe Clfton v 2.0)

then one of the following for our RT position

- Ciron Black OT LSU
- Jared Velheer OT Hillsdale
- kyle Calloway - OT IOWa

This would hopefully leave us with our Tackles of the future and still leave us with 2 high picks in 2nd and 3rd/early 4th to address DB, KR, OLB or whatever else is availible.

Dilligaff's picture

I agree with you that it is not easy to just insert Lang at LG, then who will be the backups for the tackle positions? Do we rely on Barbre for RT again as a backup? Or do we play musical chairs pulling Lang from the LG position, inserting Colledge/Spitz at guard and moving Lang into one of the injured tackle spots. What happens in free agency/draft is going to be interesting as it relates to the O-line. If Spitz is totally recovered from his back surgery and can take over the LG position would be great.

Hyperrevue's picture

Nypacker - why would a team telegraph what play they were gonna run like that?

nerdmann's laptop's picture

How about a ballcarrier who can get to the corner?

packeraaron's picture

nerdman - the offense isn't designed for the back to GET to the corner. It's supposed to stretch the d-line out, opening up cut-back lanes. Grant is actually pretty good at that. When DEs keep the corner compressed it messes things up.

nerdmann's picture

Maybe. I'd still like a speed guy though.

nypacker's picture

Hyperrevue, teams like the Giants and the Panthers are known for doing that. I was just asking if the Pack would try it. Nevertheless, what do you guys think about Rodger Saffold? Is he a good prospect, I'm reading a lot of positives about the guy but I have some doubts..

CSS's picture

Roger Saffold was a stud even before the media 'discovered' him during the Senior Bowl. He's been playing left tackle since he was a true freshmen. He's faced a who's who among pass rushers in the Big Ten during his tenure with Indiana. He has plenty of size and can likely play every position on the line but center. No way he could hold down the LT position, even as a back up, during his first year. He's not as strong as TJ Lang after a full pro offseason. He has the type of flexibility the Packers covet, no doubt...

Some folks are projecting him in the top of the 1st round now. Amazing move up the boards since the end of Indiana's regular season if that actually happens.

IPBprez's picture

Hey guys, hasn't there been conversation from several sources that say Lang is still a work-in-progress? As long as Markus continues to recover from his previous injury, then I say he's the Starter, period.

I tend to agree with Woody's Starting Lineup, too. Yet, we still have no idea what the June Mini-camps will show us. And, while some think it bad luck, what about the injury bug??

The real issue about the Line, to me, is the fact that this is (what) Clifton's almost yearly sabbatical - for the NFL Oil Change (?) That's something that a lot of players get every year, isn't it?

I'm surprised both of them have held up so well over the last decade. Even more proud the Badgers provided us with someone like Mark Tauscher to begin with. It's a shame we can't get more of the homegrown up at the Tundra to begin with.

Sitton is supposed to be the first of the NEW Guard. Lang, is therefore 2nd ? As long as Cliffy and Markus can hold it together - one more season - then we get lucky in the Draft, for that Frankie-Winters-Center we've been looking for and the rest should be a bit easier (hopefully).

As for Daryn Colledge, has there been any takers? He wants to hold out, like he has leverage?? Which Assistant Coach is telling him that??? Certainly his Agent isn't that desparate... or maybe he is. All I know, is someone on the inside has been carrying this guy for how many years now - and this includes bungling the coaching during the one period where Allen Barbre took over at LG for a time.

Who's to say that Deitrich-Smith won't steal the LG spot during the offseason. WE ALL KNOW Aaron Rodgers has a certain opinion about it. What kinda pull does he have these days?

I'm jst asking..........

PackersRS's picture

What would be Rodgers' take???

PackersRS's picture

CSS - your post about a LT not being able to start right away, that's exactly why we should get one in the 1st round this year.

We still can get by with Clifton this year. But there's no way Clifton is able to perform in 11'. If we only get a rookie in that year's draft, he'll not be able to play.

If we get one now, he'll be able to learn from Clifton (and eventually sub in for when he's injuried) and will be ready to be Rodgers' blindside protector for the next decade.

CSS's picture

I'm in full agreement with you, PackersRS. I never said anything to the contrary. There are just a lot of folks on the blogosphere that not only take that drafted LT (I agree with taking one if it's a proper fit) but they just automatically assume he's the back-up. No way. Best case scenario: a developmental kid gets drafted (I include Charles Brown in the developmental category) and he cuts his teeth on the right side. The functional strength and technique simply aren't there to function on the left.

Also, I wouldn't be so quick to say there's a 'log jam' on the rigt side. Giacomini will be fighting for a roster spot and the Barbre experiment may be coming to an end if the mental light-bulb doesn't go off.

So yes, I'm adovcating a LT of the future if the right guy is there. But again, NO WAY you plug him in during the 10' season, not even as a back-up.

PackersRS's picture

I disagree with you. Oher, Long, Clady, all examples of guys that were able to come in right away. Though it's rare, it's not for a guy to be the backup, and slowly being introduced, specially when we have an injury prone Clifton.

As far as playing in the right, I agree that most elite pass rushers are in the right side of the D, but there're reports that Peppers will play in the left. Not a pushover by any means.

CSS's picture

Oher played the majority of his season on the right side. He struggled against even above average pass rushers on the left. He will be great, no doubt, but go back and watch his games at LT....hardly stellar.

Long was an exception because of his brutal run blocking skills. There is no tackle in this class remotely in Long's class as a run blocker. Great run blocker helps keep ends on their heels....Long's great equalizer.

Clady had a horrible year this year (look at his football oustiders ranking). He was overhyped and overrated this year. He made pro bowl on reputation alone, go ahead and talk to Broncos fans they will tell you.

Bulaga and Okung are the only two remotely near the class of Oher, Long and Clady. Okung may be better than Clady. I completely disagree with you.

CSS's picture

Just looked up the numbers. Clady allowed 6.5 sacks and enough pressures/hits that he was the 38th ranked Offensive Tackle this year. And that's with captain 'noodle arm', king of the 3 step drop in McDaniels offense at QB. Clady had a horrible year.

WoodyG's picture

LT Clifton
LG Lang
C Wells
RG Sitton
RT Tausch/1st Rd. Pick

Trade up & draft Bulaga (my choice but there may be other considerations) ...... As long as Clifton is healthy Bulaga battles Tausch to start at RT .......... If/when Cliffy goes down your future LT (Bulaga) moves to LT & Tausch is back in at RT ........ There's no reason a legitimate LT can't start as a rookie ...... Clifton did & wasn't too shabby .....

Spitz backs up Wells & both Guard positions ......... Colledge is probably gone one way or another.

If TT waits to draft his future LT until the 2011 draft, then the chances of a rookie starting at LT in 2011 is greatly enhanced ........

CSS's picture

They will likely need to trade into the top 10 to get Bulaga. Last year the Jets gave up their 17th, 52nd and 3 players to get into that position. a) Too much depth in the DB and OLB positions through the 3rd round to give up the picks. b) Teams may ask for even more, what the Browns demanded of the Jets last year was actually low. It may take this years 1st, 2nd, 3rd and a 2011 pick. Pretty steep.

WoodyG's picture

Holmgren is tearing the Browns apart & is in need of as many draft picks as possible ........... The Browns choose 7th ....... Several potential starting LTs will be available at that spot .......

This is too important for TT to worry about missing out on a ' potential prospect' in the 2nd or 3rd rounds ....... The absolute key to GB's success over the next several years is keeping AR upright & minimizing his hits ....... AR is reaching his playing peak & literally is the difference between a 12-4 team & an 8-8 team ....... GB is just too close to being elite to take that gamble ....... TT/MM need to be bold come draft time.

nerdmann's laptop's picture

Interesting thought. Wouldn't mind a move like that if he could get one of his guys. CM III worked out pretty well.

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