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Aaron Rodgers needs better insurance

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Aaron Rodgers needs better insurance

We all know the most important asset on the Packers is Aaron Rodgers.

And in order to keep him upright, the offensive line has to remain intact.

That’s where there’s a small issue with eight days before the start of training camp. Center Corey Linsley hasn’t participated in any offseason workouts because of ankle surgery. However, the concerning thing is that he was originally supposed to be ready in mid-May.

And if the fifth-round pick that has played like a bull since arriving in Green Bay from Ohio State fails his physical, he will start camp on the PUP list.

If that’s not depressing enough, if Linsley cannot go, Don Barclay is the next man up. Yes, Don Barclay is a whisper away from snapping the ball to one of the most important people in the game.

While everyone continues to talk about Ty Montgomery stepping in full-time as the lead running back or Nick Perry playing up to expectations after getting a $59 million contract this past offseason, the biggest question for the Packers remains on the offensive line.

Losing Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang and JC Tretter in back-to-back seasons has left what was once a rock solid strength to a flimsy teeter-totter that is one injury away from huge question marks.

Linsley showed what kind of chemistry he has with Rodgers by winning the job when Tretter got hurt during the third preseason game in 2014.

We all hate paying for insurance, but it’s a necessary evil. So why does it seem that the Packers have given Rodgers a lousy plan?

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

Linsley is a Pro-Bowl worthy candidate. Rodgers has faith in Barclay. McCarthy has faith in Barclay. Their fifth round pick, Amichia, is working at center.

They have insurance.

The TKstinator's picture

Better insurance than State Farm? Does somebody need a discount TRIPLE check?

caruso81's picture

The Packers have, historically, had a bit of a house of cards approach at times. Everything is perfect on paper right until one of the cards gets injured, then the whole thing falls apart. However, this season feels less so. Ted made some moves, and the rookie class seems like a good one. In spite of being a #fireeveryone guy from way back, I'm thinking we need to let this season play out a little bit. Something definitely feels different this time around.

Spock's picture

Barclay is no Linsley, but he's fine as an INTERIOR backup who should be able to hold the fort if/until Linsley is available and as PEO above mentioned Amechia is also training at the position. I really like the young guys (Murphy, Spriggs) in the wings.

Tundraboy's picture

That's right.

croatpackfan's picture

I'm trying to imagine cap situation if TT signed all of those 3 mentioned OL players - Lang, Sitton and Tretter.
Lang and Sitton was (and maybe still are) injured 2 whole seasons in row. Tretter is injury prone player. He played all together something like 8 games in the row. So, anyhow, we would have to rely on back ups... And Packers would have cap hell situation.

Also, I think Taylor showed that he can replace Sitton on the same level, I expect nothing less from Murphy, if Evans will not be solution. And Cory Linsley is way better center than Tretter!

followet's picture

If you recall Linsey came back from injury and Tretter was the center Linsey did take over he sat until Tretter got hurt. They were different kinds of centers with different skill sets Tretter was faster and could get down field. Linsey is a bull and can block a mack truck.

Packer_Pete's picture

Linsley, when healthy, is a very good player. but over the past couple years, he has shown that he cannot really stay healthy. I am not convinced he'll be the long term answer at C because of that. It is concerning that Donnie is the backup. And who else after him??? Not good...

Tundraboy's picture

You got it Croat.

PatrickGB's picture

Cory had nagging hamstring problems that later were determined to be foot/ankle related. He now has finished with surgery for that problem. Now that it has been properly diagnosed and treated that problem probably goes away. End of "injury" issue. Its true he will start off camp on the injury list but he will probably start the season healthy. Barky and others will fill in during preseason getting valuable reps so that if/when needed they can step in. Taylor is good enough and Evans is a former pro bowl player who pass protects well. I don't see this as an issue.

Since '61's picture

I'm less concerned about our pass protection than I am about our run blocking. While pass protection is the #1 priority for the Packers OL we need to be able to run our 4 minute offense to protect a lead at the end of a game. We can't depend on our defense to hold a lead so our run game becomes critical in keeping our opponents offense off the field later in games. The question is how effective will the OL be at the point of attack in the run game. The addition of Bennett for blocking purposes should help but the interior of Lane, Barclay (if necessary) and Evans doesn't figure to be as effective as Sitton, Linsley and Lang had been. If they remain healthy they should get better as the season progresses but time will tell. If we have an injury plague on the OL we could have a difficult season running the ball. Thanks, Since '61

egbertsouse's picture

Some of you people must have been watching another Barclay. Maybe Mortimer Barclay? Anyway, Don Barclay is a turnstile and will get AR killed. He can't even snap the ball right, it floats in the air for an eternity. They better patch up Linsley with some duct tape and get him out there.

ejr450's picture

What was TT supposed to do? This isn't Madden. You can't just pluck every name you'd like from the free agent list or draft class. Who would we prefer at backup center? That's what we're discussing - a backup center. Would we be happier if it was Nick Mangold? Maybe TT called but Mangold didn't want to be a backup.

No one has perfect depth. But over the past 2 draft classes we've added 3 athletic OL who need to be able to play if/when there are injuries. Spriggs, Murphy, and Amichia (sp?) are the go-forward guys for depth. And likely one or two of them are starting next year.

We have OTs that are the envy of the league. A young capable C who is motivated to succeed and be healthy this year. And our Gs can hold down the fort. And it'll be ok.

dobber's picture

"We all know the most important asset on the Packers is Aaron Rodgers.

And in order to keep him upright, the offensive line has to remain intact."

Intact? Not necessarily. Good? Yes.

We'll find out how good it is in September...after a camp of ups and downs, injuries, rested players, and minimal time on-field together to generate cohesion.

TXCHEESE's picture

This is an issue that almost every team in the league is faced with; in that, you can't afford to pay for 6 or 7 starting linemen. The Packers have it as good as almost anyone. Barclay is a veteran who knows the scheme very well. That is so much better than having a rookie or unseasoned player handling those duties.

Handsback's picture

Green Bay's C,LT,RT are some of the best in the NFL. That's 3 out of 5 positions accounted for. Evans will either be OK or a good insurance policy. at RG and Taylor is good at LG. So you have 4 out of five covered and experience at the fifth position.

For the C,LG, and RG back-ups they have Barclay, Lucas (possible starter), McCray, Murphy (possible starter), Amichia (could be starter), Thomas Evans (strongest guy probably in the building), and Geoff Gray (highly respected UDFA)

I don't know but to me that's a lot of potential talent on hand if Evans isn't able this year to be the guy he was last year.

I don't see Taylor slipping so Spriggs being the only back-up at tackle and the drop off from Linsley to the next guy seems to be the weakest potential area. I don't know call me crazy, but seems OK for now unless injuries hit those tackle spots.

GatorJason's picture

Center seems to be a position that requires more brains
(C makes all the line calls) and strength and less athleticism than either OG or OT. Patrick, Amichia and Barclay can all be coached up as b/u C. I’d prefer the Packers had a clear Plan B at Center, but they have options for strong, smart players who could backfill for Linsley.

OG play requires strength and a bit more athleticism than C. Jahri Evans should be fine as OG starter unless Green Bay’s long duration pass plays exposes his diminished endurance as a 34 year old OL. Packers OG depth is a long list of inexperienced talent plus Barclay. I’m more concerned about OG depth than C.

Spriggs and Murphy are 6-7 making them better suited to work in space, playing the perimeter OT position where length, foot speed and movement are paramount. Their build makes it tough for them to get low for the leverage they need for run blocking or dealing with the short powerful DL if they played at OG.

At the risk being ridiculed off the board, I think the Packers may end up moving Bulaga to RG and letting Spriggs or Murphy man the RT position. Neither guy is as good as Bulaga at RT but the combination of Bulaga at RG and Murphy/Spriggs at RT may give the Packers the best starting 5 OL if the Evans experiment does not pan out and the talented young OGs are not ready to play.

DThomas's picture

GatorJason: "Patrick, Amichia and Barclay can all be coached up as b/u C. I’d prefer the Packers had a clear Plan B at Center, but they have options for strong, smart players who could backfill for Linsley."

I think they do have a clear Plan B at C and it's Barclay. You're right about C requiring more brains than the other OL positions - the C does make line calls and has to know all the OL assignments and adjustments on every play. I don't recall if Patrick practiced at C, but Barclay has played there and even though I'd rather they have a better backup I think it'd be very tough for Patrick to be the primary backup unless he spends all of TC at C. I think it would be nearly impossible for Amichia to take over at C - he's going to have to add strength and acclimate to the NFL. I think that's too much for him to overcome.

If they are going to bring in a vet to backup at C (and I don't think they will), the sooner they do so the better because that player has to learn the playbook and get accustomed to what Rodgers requires from the C.

Regarding Bulaga at RG: I think that possibility exists only if Spriggs is so good at OT he forces his way onto the OL. I don't expect Murphy to do so - he'll have his hands full playing OG.

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