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Green and Bold: Packers O-Line on the Brink of Disaster

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Green and Bold: Packers O-Line on the Brink of Disaster

The Green Bay Packers front office made an astute signing on Monday when it agreed to a three-year extension with left guard Lane Taylor worth $16.5 million, as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported.

The Packers have seen a lot of shakeups at guard in the last two seasons after cutting Josh Sitton in 2016 and letting T.J. Lang hit free agency this spring, so, needless to say, some stablility at the position is nice. It's a bonus that Taylor got a solid 16 starts in 2016, because free-agent acquisition Jahri Evans, who is holding down the right side, has yet to play a snap in the Green and Gold. 

But that stability won't last long. 

With Taylor's signing, this iteration of the starting five—from left, David Bakhtiari, Taylor, Corey Linsley, Evans, and Bryan Bulaga—will remain intact for only one year. Both Evans and Linsley's contracts are set to expire in 2018.

Obviously, Evans was never meant to be a long-term solution at right guard; it won't be surprising to see the Packers prioritize that position in the 2018 NFL Draft. (Even their reserve guards, Lucas Patrick and Justin McCray, will be exclusive-rights free agents in 2018). 

But we don't even need to look to 2018 to see potential cracks in the surface for the Packers offensive line. Because the truth of the matter is that, while this starting five looks just fine on paper so long as it remains healthy, there's almost no guarantee that it will. 

In 2016, three of five Packers starting offensive linemen appeared on the injury report at least once

Just remember: injuries to Green Bay's offensive line got so out of hand that defensive lineman Letroy Guion had to come on the field at guard in the NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons. 

How does this group look if it's racked by injuries? Even just one injury to a starter along the line could send the whole house of cards tumbling down.

Put simply, Green Bay's offensive line depth is atrocious. 

Don't let head coach Mike McCarthy's optimism fool you. In a presser last Monday, ahead of roster cuts, he had this to say when asked about the offensive line depth: “I feel great about our offensive line depth. We have great numbers there.”

Sure, the numbers may look fine. The Packers kept nine offensive linemen on the 53-man roster: Bakhtiari, Taylor, Linsley, Evans, Bulaga, and reserves Jason Spriggs, Lucas Patrick, Justin McCray, and Kyle Murphy. (Note: it's very possible one of these linemen will be cut to make room for Tuesday's signing of DL Quinton Dial.)

But even McCarthy could not say with a straight face that he's hoping any of those four reserves get a chance to take the field this season. 

McCray, drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2014, has never played in a regular-season NFL game.

Patrick spent last season on the Packers' practice squad after the team signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2016 draft. 

Murphy played eight snaps in 2016.

Even Spriggs, whom the Packers moved up to draft in the second round in 2016, has struggled mightily this preseason. 

You know times are bad when you're wishing the Packers had the services of veteran lineman Don Barclay, who was placed on injured reserve to make room for Ahmad Brooks, available to them this season. 

NFL rosters are rarely designed to gracefully handle injuries to the starting 11 on either side. But there are plenty of other positions much better prepared than any of the spots along the Packers' line. 

The Packers' best chance to win in any game rests, first and foremost, with Aaron Rodgers. But Rodgers' best chance to win rests on the shoulders of his offensive linemen. The Packers had better cross everything that their starting five remains intact through most of the 2017 season. It is not hyperbole to say it could spell disaster if it does not.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (78) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

I gave Michelle a "Thumbs Up" for this piece because it's right on the money. The word "Atrocious" describes the Packers back-up O-Linemen to a T. Obviously I've been spoiled the last several years while having 2 of the best Guards in the game but both are gone now. Having a backup like Tretter was a luxury too but the Packers no longer have that luxury, now they have a couple liabilities.

Ted has been excellent in filling out the roster this year with FA, especially the last few days with the additions of Brooks, Odom, and Dial. He's got the BEST QB in the NFL right now and if an injury was to happen to one of the starting O-Linemen he's got a bunch of O-Lineman that struggled against Joe Blow in the preseason. Who? Exactly!

McCarthy will always tell the public he loves the depth at whichever position group he's talking about. Lets not forget what he said about the OLB depth a few weeks earlier. Ted you've done a really excellent Job this spring/summer. Now keep it going and sign a damn O-Linemen.

The TKstinator's picture

I am really surprised that GB didn't add any O-linemen during cuts/PS formation. Maybe they still will.

Disappointed (so far!) in Spriggs. Hopeful for Murphy. Time will tell, as it always does.

HankScorpio's picture

The Packers certainly addressed the OLB spot after teams set their rosters at 53.

Perhaps that they didn't do anything at OL besides place Barclay on IR means they don't share the pessimism at OL that has taken hold among some fans.

Nick Perry's picture

Is it really pessimism Hank or is it from watching 4 preseason games they showed nothing and Spriggs who was expected to really step up actually regressed? I think you could call me a pretty big "homer" but I can't put a positive twist on any back-up O-Linemen.

Maybe I'm just being unreasonable but I don't think in any way you can look at the Packers reserve O-Line's body of work in the preseason and not be highly concerned.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do feel that if they have to play 1 backup player it will be ok. If they have to play more then 1, look out...
1 backup player you can help cover the void there with TE's or RB's helping. But if you have more then 1 backup playing, it can get shaky.

dobber's picture

I think you could say this about just about every team out there, though.

OL is always riding the edge of the knife. You can't afford to carry a one-for-one backup at each position (10 OL), but you need to have enough flexibility to be able to cover an injury at any one of 5 positions. Quality OL are in enough demand that players who are good enough to start don't stay in backup roles. Everyone's going to have a dropoff when a starter comes off the field...two? Yikes.

That said, the Packers have gone young in their backups, and this is what we get as a result. A lot of finger-crossing and praying.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, I do agree..

The problem with the Packers depth right now is their top backup is Don Barclay, who is on IR. Barclay was the same guy that most fans wanted to get rid of, now are hoping he can come back.
I think Patrick could fill in nicely but he had the concussion so we don't know his status yet.

I think Spriggs and Murphy will be ok. But both had their struggles this preseason which is worrisome.

HankScorpio's picture

When has the backup OL in preseason games ever looked good? A very large part of what everyone likes from the backup QBs in preseason is their ability to make plays behind a porous OL. It was true of Rodgers when Favre was still around, then Flynn, than Hundley, then Callahan.

I can remember at least one of those years, actually did lead to a disaster on the OL. But usually it didn't. Usually the OL ended up being average or better. Sometimes way better.

What justifies saying a starting unit that few have concerns about being on the brink of disaster? Do they have a high number of guys with balky backs, creaky knees or bad shoulders? Not according to what I've read. They are pretty healthy going into the season. If all 3 or more do go down, that will be a disaster, no doubt. Football is a rough game so that might happen. But which NFL team would be fine with 3 OL starters out? Is there one?

The TKstinator's picture

Could be.
OR they didn't like what was available.
OR the available players didn't like GB. (Perish the thought!)

RCPackerFan's picture

'You know times are bad when you're wishing the Packers had the services of veteran lineman Don Barclay'

Ughh... that pretty much sums it up...

The TKstinator's picture

same page, brother!

And that is a Hulk Hogan style "brother!" at the end.

RCPackerFan's picture

lol, love it.

Bearmeat's picture

Yep. The depth has been reduced to tissue paper thin. We have to hope for NO injuries (which is foolish, but it's where we are), and for Spriggs and Murphy to "get it" really quick. Not to mention Barclay to get healthy quickly as well.

8 decent linemen is ok. Right now we have 5 - but all is not lost. If the above happens, we'll be fine. If not... well...

Mojo's picture

One of the burdens on both our first and second string o-lineman is that Arod, has the tendency to hold onto the ball for an inordinately long-period of time. He seems intent on continuing this practice probably for the rest of his career.

Last year our tackles were adept at holding their blocks for a long-time. If one goes down it will be incumbent on the backup to keep up the tradition. I've seen no indication Spriggs can do it and Murphy is a big question mark.

Like sharks to blood in the water, opposing pass-rushers senses will be lighting up when either Bahk or Bulaga go down. It will be necessary for QB1 to adapt to the situation and take more dump-offs and checkdowns. At least until the regulars come back.

HankScorpio's picture

I think this is a little bit a drama llama-ism.

The Packers starting 5 OL was a very good unit in 2016. Perhaps the best pass blocking unit in the NFL, although not nearly as good at run blocking. In 2017, they swapped out TJ Lang for Jahri Evans. Evans is certainly getting up there in age and no longer one of the best in the game but I don't see a "disastrous" drop in that swap. The starting unit seems likely to be well above average. I don't know if that means top ten or top five or what. But I would guess that any serious, legitimate ranking of the 32 OL units has the Packers ranked with a single digit.

It's true that the Packers don't have Pro Bowlers waiting in the wings at backup OL spots. If they suffer a run of injuries, they will not be as good. Is there another team in the league that is any different? Jason Spriggs sure as heck isn't the first young player with consistency problems. Many before him have overcome those issues and gone on to fine careers. It's not written in stone that he won't follow that same path.

Further, given that the backups are all younger players, how do even know what they will be if they are thrust into action? Any long-time Packer fan can rattle off any number of players elevated to starting OL roles that made fans nervous but ended up performing fine. The latest example being Lane Taylor, recently rewarded with a contract extension.

RCPackerFan's picture

I have no concerns with the starters. They are very good. What concerns most is the backups. The backups were downright hideous this preseason.
Now some of that has to be held in perspective. A lot of our backups were going against starting caliber players, as our starters didn't play as long. And they were standing next to some guys that are no longer on the team.

I hope we don't have to see the backups that much this season.

HankScorpio's picture

I can't remember a preseason where I thought the backup OL was anything other than hideous. It seems to me, that is the nature of the beast.

After the hand-wringing among the fanbase over elevating Lane Taylor in place of Josh Sitton and seeing how it ultimately worked out, I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt a little bit being joining the hand-wringing this time around.

Certainly losing multiple starters to injury will become an issue. That's always true of every position on every NFL team. It certainly was true at CB last year. And WR the year before that. Both positions were considered deep prior to that run of injuries.

If this is a big concern, things are looking fantastic in Packerland, IMO.

RCPackerFan's picture

I agree and disagree with the previous seasons having bad OL. We have had some good and some bad. I read a thing after the 3rd preseason game that the Packers OL was one of the worst teams in giving up pressures. I think they had like 48 pressures or something like that.

Honestly my biggest problem with the Sitton/Taylor deal last year was that it took away their depth. But Taylor was really good last year.

While I get your point with the Taylor deal, its not really an apples to apples comparison to the situation this year. This year the starters are really good, but there isn't any standout backups. Last year we had Tretter. This year we don't have that one great backup that we feel great about.

dobber's picture

The backups--playing as a unit--were pretty poor. When Murphy and Spriggs were plugged in with the #1 OL, they were better than they were playing next to Amichia, Gray, and others. A lot of tinkering there. A lot of inexperience. Hell, Gray was playing college ball in Canada where the pass rush rules are very different.

Yes, it will likely force the Packers to keep their TE in-line in many situations if Spriggs or Murphy is out there on the edge for any length of time, but I don't know that it's untrue of many other teams, either.

I agree with Hank: if the worst issue your team has going into the regular season is that you have little confidence in your backup OL if two of them are forced to play any amount, that's not too bad.

RCPackerFan's picture

Thats what I'm hoping for. That Spriggs and Murphy and others will be better playing next to the starters.

I agree with that as well. If our biggest concern is our backups, then we are doing pretty good. But your one injury away from the backups playing, and that can change a game/season...

croatpackfan's picture

When everything is fine, lot of you will find a reason to worry. I now understand. You have to worry. You think/feel that is the way you show how good/excellent fan you are.
Well, OK. If you like that, do that.
I just laugh. It become so popular this preseason. I can only remind you on David Bakhtiari. Remember how he started? Mike McCarthy said that it will be OK. Many of you claimed that he has to say that - well they have probowler in David. Now, who should I believe?
Oh, good day laugh...

HankScorpio's picture

I thought Bakhtiari looked like a guy that won a job by default in his early days. And really, that was the case. Their LT options were all bad and he was the least bad of the bunch. He wasn't at all consistent and it was an issue.

He's turned out ok as time has progressed.

The TKstinator's picture

Never forget there are plenty of good seats available on the Worry Bus!
(Beep, beep!)

mnbruton's picture

You seemed like you were disagreeing with me but in the end, I think we agree - the Packers' starting five looks like it could be above-average this season. Throw in an injury or two? Big trouble. Sure, they could face adversity and emerge victorious. But they are very, very green. It's all about the depth, not the starters.

Jonathan Spader's picture

They're not just very green they're gold as well.

HankScorpio's picture

If anyone wants to see an OL unit that is on the brink of disaster, just wait until Sunday. Such a unit will pay a visit to Lambeau. They will be the guys in the white jerseys.

dobber's picture

The Vikings basically s#!tcanned their whole line from last year. Maybe they'll be better than a year ago...but not for awhile.

Mojo's picture

I believe Seattle has Ifedi at guard, but if their line was and is so bad, why did they cut Evans last year?

Finwiz's picture

That's a "scary" thought, isn't it?
I thought the same thing when he ended up back in NO, then let loose, and picked up by GB.

flackcatcher's picture

Money. Cutting Evans saved on the cap. Neither team had him in their long range plans due to his age. Seattle still is a mess cap wise.

GBPDAN1's picture

This article is spot on. And the fact that nothing has happened yet to address this problematic issue ,since cut downs, has diminished my hopes of a solution. I guess there's no one better then our back ups that got released? It seems like the only option at this point is a trade? This team needs an adequate backup OT and I'M for trading a 4-5 rd pick to obtain one at this point. This team is a SB contender. Losing Bak or Bulaga to injury would put a big damper on the Packers hopes.

Razer's picture

Who wouldn't want a couple more starter quality guys in that O-line depth?! Let's face it, outside of our tackles, we don't really invest a lot of draft capital in our O-line. The depth is all low round or UDFA and therefore it is exactly as invested.

I like that TT has gone out and picked up players to build the roster beyond his draft abilities. The O-line is a tough place to cherry pick other rosters. You only have to look at the Packer O-line discards that have found full-time positions on other teams.

If there was one guy that I wished we made a bigger effort to keep, it was JC Tretter. One guy would have covered us at center, guard and tackle. Let's hope that Spriggs gets better and one other guy steps up

dobber's picture

I had no confidence in Tretter's ability to stay healthy. None. The idea of him starting at G--a position he had virtually no game experience--scared me. I think they're far better off with Jahri Evans for the year and looking for that next RG (maybe it's Murphy...maybe it's someone coming out of the 2018 draft...maybe it's another veteran FA signing).

GBPDAN1's picture

Hi Razer. I do understand that it's not realistic to have "a couple more starter quality" O-line depth guys. What I said was "adequate" OT depth. Currently, my opinion is that the Packers do not have anyone that would be considered adequate to play OT, to protect Rodgers, if Bak or Bulaga goes down. From what I've seen, it would be a disaster as this article pointed out.

I'm not saying to give up on Murphy or Spriggs, keep them on the 53 and pray they develop. But, the Packers need to avoid a disaster by picking up a Tretter type backup linemen. He played adequately in the playoff game 2 years ago at OT. I believe the only way to accomplish an Acquisition at this point is to make a trade. A 5th rd pick perhaps for an insurance policy? I keep having flashbacks of the days of terrible tackle play with Favre and Rodgers running for their lives and having no time to throw. Of course this is all moot if our 2 starting tackles make it through the whole season like last year. I pray to the football gods that this happens again.

However, football is a rough game and hoping that we have both of our starting OT healthy for a whole season is probably not going to happen. Bulaga is already hurt. Having Spriggs play LT for a whole game against a quality team could be the difference between a victory or not. We have at least 8 quality teams in our schedule. 1 loss could be the difference between home field in the playoffs. Is this worth a mid rd draft pick in a trade, to have a better insurance policy behind our starting OTs? Maybe im wrong, but I don't think so

Bear's picture

<p>Who do you think they should trade for?&nbsp;</p>

JohnnyLogan's picture

Can someone explain TT's reasoning in not signing Tretter? He wanted to be a starter and be paid starters money, I know. Why not make him starter at guard instead of Evans? Do centers make more money than guards? Many of us thought he was the most important signing we could make. Rodgers is the franchise. Tretter can play every position on the line and well. Maybe it was impossible from the beginning, but I still believe for the right money he would rather be playing in Green Bay today than with the Browns.

dobber's picture

Actually, Tretter played very little at G, where they would have needed him. If they felt he was a solid plug there and had confidence in his ability to stay healthy, I think he would be playing in GB this year. Look at what they paid Taylor--who's a little better than average at G (like Bakhtiari, I think this is another good contract for the Packers)--and look at what Tretter got on the open market. The overall numbers are almost identical, so it shows the Packers were willing to pay that much.

They just must have thought Tretter either wasn't going to be capable at G or that they couldn't count on his health.

croatpackfan's picture

Cap Space is very popular feature very often forgotten in Packers Nation...

HankScorpio's picture

TT's reasoning is obvious...the salary cap. Since the implementation of the cap, good teams have let players they would otherwise keep walk away to other teams in order to maintain cap health.

Teams that don't follow that notion religiously end up in cap hell and are forced to rebuild to get out of cap hell, resulting in more good players going elsewhere. That leads to a downward spiral, which can be very difficult to turn around.

TT has always shown a willingness to err on letting a guy go too soon rather than too late. To be sure, he's made some poor calls in that regard here and there. But the overall track record has been pretty good.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Hank, do you think TT has held onto CM3 and Cobb too long? Both are hefty cap hits who have struggled to stay healthy.

HankScorpio's picture

Jonathan,

Good question. I think a good argument can be made that he should not have given those two the deals he did. Certainly neither have performed up to the big $$.

In the end, I think he made the correct decision at the time, particularly with Matthews, who they could not let him get away. They had no alternative. Of course, that also falls on TT but his history at OLB is another subject.

Cobb was not nearly as necessary and the case is stronger that he should have been let go if that was the price required to keep him, IMO.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Hank,

I feel like a TT is making the exact same mistake with Perry. The difference is Matthews was better and healthier than Perry prior to his massive contract. We need to draft an OLB in the earlier rounds to avoid overpaying out of necessity.

Finwiz's picture

I thought the same thing at one point last year, good post!
You would have covered two bases with Tretter assuming he could of played guard, then he's also insurance at center if Linsley get's injured, which seems to frequently happen.
He went to Cornell, so it would seem he had the intelligence to make the transition to guard from center?
One can only conclude they didn't value Tretter the way we do in fantasy-land, on an internet site.
Apparently he couldn't play guard, or else they were tired of the injuries.
My guess is, the latter.

Savage57's picture

One constant that can be relied upon, if history can be trusted, is the Packers will enter a season with at least one position group threadbare in terms of reserves.

Might these second-tier guys develop into NFL players? Maybe. Are they now? Evidence says no.

I get the cap prevents you from being able to have reliable depth at all position groups, but Lord, why would you choose to shortchange the unit charged with protecting the franchise?

Tundraboy's picture

You know times are bad when you're wishing the Packers had the services of veteran lineman Don Barclay,"

Yup.

Tundraboy's picture

On paper we are playing with matches! Maybe Spriggs et al, will surprise us in real game action. Could happen, not likely but possible.

dobber's picture

Maybe the only snaps he sees will be in mop-up duty.

We can if-if-if this to death. Let's play some football and see if the experts planned correctly...

croatpackfan's picture

Do you mean Cheeseheadtv experts or Packers experts...

dobber's picture

We're all novices.

The NFL execs are the "experts"...or, at least, they're paid to BE experts.

Finwiz's picture

Good point.
I think sometimes we all forget this around here.

Point Packer's picture

Should have resigned Tretter. Problem solved.

Dzehren's picture

Exactly

dobber's picture

The fact that they gave Taylor a contract of approximately the same size as Tretter got from Cleveland to play C, tells you that they had some reservations about Tretter in general (granted that Cs tend to make less than Gs) or his ability to play G. Note that Tretter's contract in Cleveland has an out after the first year, so even they were covering their bases.

lou's picture

The biggest reason he was not extended was playing in 31 out of a possible 64 regular season games during his 4 years in Green Bay. Availability is also the reason Taylor was resigned before Linsley, hopefully Linsley can play all 16 games, which is the determining factor. If he does the Packers win and so does he because playing a full season his contract will be higher than if they signed him right now.

Spud Rapids's picture

Just remember the Giants had Marshall Newhouse starting the last 2 years so I think we should stop complaining/worrying. Every team in the league is one injury away from the season being lost

Packer Fan's picture

I have been saying this for several days. Michele must have read my comment. There was a story somewhere that said the Pack was looking for help on both sides of the line after the cutdown to 53. I assumed offense too. TT I feel has done a good job of picking up the SF players to create excellent depth for OLB and DL. I thought a guy like John Greco from Cleveland could be picked up similar to Brooks and Dial to create quality backups. Doesn't seem like it is going to happen. I just see one or two of the starting five OL get hurt, Rodgers will repeatedly end up on his back in that game and TT will start looking for replacements. I hope it doesn't happen.

Brandon Fisher's picture

Yup, what pissed me off even more was not drafting any OL prospects in the later rounds...needed them more than two WRs that didn't even make the 53.

Jonathan Spader's picture

This was a really weak draft for OL. The difference between am UDFA and a 6th or 7th round pick wasn't much. The Packers filled their rb needs and tried out some wrs with potential. Packer fans were thrilled with Dupre when he was drafted. Who would you have drafted on OL in rounds 6 or 7?

Brandon Fisher's picture

Well obviously I would have liked to pick someone earlier then late in the 5th or later but a couple guys have been doing well....

Danny Isidora has been looking good for the Vikings

Chase Roullier has shown versatility playing C/G for the Skins

Obviously they excepted Spriggs to take a step forward but the point being was we had enough talent at WR. Would have liked to see us draft more OL and OLB prospects over 5 RBs/WRs.

Jonathan Spader's picture

There's a huge dropoff in tallent in OLB outside of the first 3 rounds. The Packers have found fantastic value in the past in the 4th-6th rounda at OLine. RB tallent can be found all over as the Packers showed this year with the all 3 rbs showing something. With the influx of 10 draft picks and FA acquisitions there was little chance of players drafted later in the draft would stick. The Packers grabbed Amichia in the 6th roubd so it's not like they didn't grab anyone. Ron Wolf said he regretted not giving Farve more WR weapons during his time as a GM. I think if TT has what in his mind are free picks and he's taking a flier on a player his go to guys are wrs who can usually at least contribute on special teams. This is obviously all speculation on my part but that seems to be his trends since I've been following the Packers.

Brandon Fisher's picture

<p>Rodgers has had a great WR core his whole career, he needs a solid running game and defense like the guy in NE has. &nbsp;</p>

Jonathan Spader's picture

I agree Aaron needs a solid defense. The best way to beat the Packers is to keep #12 off the field. I don't think Brady has an elite running game at his disposal. They have low priced players like the Packers who they use effectively. Watch what Blount does this year with the Eagles compared to his TD total with the Patriots last year.

EdsLaces's picture

We could have 5 Joe Thomas' and we are still gonna get worked by that DL Sunday...just sayin...

dobber's picture

"just sayin..."

Cue the internet chat bully...

The TKstinator's picture

And here I am, rising to the bait...

To anyone who employs the very useful phrase "just sayin'"....

Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries.

I will say "ni" again to you, if you do not appease us (here at CHTV.)

Bully out!

Mojo's picture

As far as MM's pressers he will occasionally throw a nugget out there but generally they're purposely bland and devoid of any relevance.

During the regular season he might update us on injuries ( even that is usually the minimum) but after that its nothing but perfunctory coach-speak.

I've learned to tune them out like a bad commercial.

Since &#039;61's picture

First, I think the term "brink of disaster" is a little strong, i.e., click bait. When I first saw the headline I thought some of the Packers OLs had been hurt in practice.
To me a disaster would be if we needed to plug a defensive player into the OL like we needed to do with Guion in the Atlanta game.

Is the backup OL an area of concern? Yes, but who were our backups last season? Spriggs, Murphy, Tretter, and Barclay. Ok, Tretter is gone to FA and Barclay who most of us want gone is on IR. So the differences are Lucas Patrick and McCray.

This is an era of trade offs for NFL GMs and rosters. If we kept Tretter would we be able to extend Taylor and hopefully Linsley? Could we have signed Brooks, House and Francois if we resigned Tretter? If we did resign Tretter we would still have Spriggs and Murphy anyway.

Rodgers has played through much of his career with backup OLs and he has excelled through it all. Am I hoping that our starters remain healthy? Absolutely! But that is true for all of our position groups. The good OLs are signed and are being well paid.

Nothing is guaranteed even if we had Tretter or allegedly better backups. If there were guarantees, why play the season? Just give the Lombardi trophy to the Pats and be done with it. We follow sports to see the unexpected, not the guaranteed. As Packers fans we see the unexpected nearly every week with Aaron Rodgers.

I hope that we can find an experienced OT to bolster the position but I'm not counting on it. Depth is important but we all know that the health of our starters is what matters most to this team.

I'm going to take it one play and one game at a time.
As of now I don't see any disasters. If and when disaster or the brink of disaster strikes, we'll deal with as best we can.
Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

"To me a disaster would be if we needed to plug a defensive player into the OL like we needed to do with Guion in the Atlanta game."

To be honest, a team is likely to have 7 or 8 OL active on game day depending on circumstances. The fact that injuries mounted to the point that Guion played G really was a function of how game day rosters are put together more than the depth on the 53-man roster. A single game claiming enough OL to force a defensive player to take snaps on the OL is really a separate issue from the quality of depth of the OL.

...but I echo your sentiment: one game at a time. Play and assess...play and assess...

marpag1's picture

"First, I think the term 'brink of disaster' is a little strong, i.e., click bait."

Yeah, it's pretty click-baity. But that's the way of things around here, no?

mnbruton's picture

Hey, the title of the column IS Green and Bold :).

Dzehren's picture

I agree with Packer Point regarding Tretter. Big loss. However, I feel OK with Patrick at center and MURPHY at Guard or RT. LT is a major concern- we could move Bulaga to LT and MURPHY to RT

Qoojo's picture

I think the packers can use 1 reserve, and be ok. If they have to use 2 or more, then it's not going to be ok. We might find out this weekend if Bulaga can't play.

Also, I would like to see MM be a little quicker to respond when a backup OL needs help during a game, instead of his usual, go half a game or more before realizing that the backup is not an all-pro. MM slow to help a backup is almost a bigger problem than using the backup player.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I think the article is pretty spot on. A little hyperbole about McCray and Patrick - it is a good thing they are only ERFAs in 2018, RFAs in 2019: that means if either progresses they are under team control for the next 3 seasons.

TT has been kind of a whiz at drafting OL, at least in rounds 1-4. Linsley in the 5th has been good, and some of the other 5th rounders eventually became starters, even if they were lower level starters. On WRs and OL, I give TT some benefit of the doubt if his guys take a bit longer to develop than I'd like.

4thand10's picture

I watched McCray and Murphy do pretty well this preseason. Yes, Spriggs was horrible, but last year he filled in at guard once or twice and did ok there, but at LT he sucks.

We also have 3 pretty good tight ends, 2 of which can block pretty well... and all of them can catch passes. Whatever perceived weakness on the OL this year can be made up by excellent tight end and RB play.

Spock's picture

A month ago everyone was worrying about the DEFENSE, now it's the BACKUP offensive line. The comment section (comic section?) is always fun through the preseason and after the roster cuts before the first game. I'm as guilty as anyone (and more football ignorant than most) of 'worrying' about aspects of the Packers' roster. It's why we are fans! Can't wait for Sunday's game to start talking about an actual (real) game! The Packers management have fielded very competitive, fun to watch teams for quite a while now. I trust they will do that again this year. Go, Pack, Go.

PETER MAIZ's picture

Michelle is right. I'd like to say that keeping all the O line from injury is a pipe dream. When have there been years when all of the O line been perfectly healthy? If you can't keep Rodgers upright, you ruin the season. And as to McCarthy, it's all PR. What is he supposed to say if not that everything is hunkey dory ?

dobber's picture

As I recall, 2014 was a pretty good year for the OL...except Tretter was lost before it even began. The only player who missed a game was Bulaga. He missed one.

flackcatcher's picture

Actually, Spriggs and Murphy had good last preseasons games. Spriggs footwork was light years better, he kept his base down and arm extended and hand punch right on the inside to counter. More important, he never lost focus in space, He never was gasping either, playing in Denver for visitors is tough. Murphy was noticeably quicker sliding to his right, his base was set low, and arm extend and hand punch were good. All in all, two fine performances that made the packers breathe a bit easier. If there was no growth in the back up OL positions, both of these guys would be in danger of being cut. But they are still here. Good for the Packers, good for them.

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