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The Third Tackle: Derek Sherrod or Don Barclay?

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The Third Tackle: Derek Sherrod or Don Barclay?

As mentioned in our recent "Look at Packers Players Coming Off Injuries," despite Bryan Bulaga being the assumed starter at right tackle for the Packers in 2014, it wouldn't be surprising to see him withheld from practice on Thursday when Organized Team Actitivies are open to the public for the first time this year.

Bulaga is more than nine months removed from a torn ACL that landed him on injured reserve, which should put him well on the road to recovery, but the Packers aren't the type of team that's going to rush a player back from injury, particularly in May with the start of the season still more than three months away.

At best, Bulaga might take part in some activities or drills but would be put on some kind of "pitch count," rotated in and out in order keep him fresh and not put too much stress on his surgically-repaired knee.

The question is, who will line up with the first-string offense when Bulaga is out of the lineup: Derek Sherrod or Don Barclay?

Perhaps the better question for observers, onlookers and fans is, who deserves first crack as the backup swing tackle during the 2014 offseason? The issue has less to do with Bulaga than either tackle spot. What happens if either Bulaga or David Bakhtiari is out of the lineup?

The past two seasons, Barclay has emerged as a starter at right tackle when Bulaga has been injured. He's become a reliable player, a guy that knows the ins and outs of the offense.

Barclay also has the ability to play all five positions on the offensive line in a pinch. That alone makes him a valuable asset.

But Barclay is also a known quantity. While reliable, he's not an All-Pro. He's prone to struggle with speed rushers coming off the edge.

Sherrod, meanwhile, is the former first round draft pick, a player fans have been waiting to make a full comeback from injury ever since his gruesome broken leg suffered in December of 2011.

Yes, Sherrod saw the field in 2013. But a total of six snaps on offense and playing on the place-kick protection unit hardly qualifies as a full-fledged comeback.

There's a now-or-never feeling about Sherrod in 2014. About two and a half years removed from injury, if Sherrod doesn't make major strides and return to his pre-injury form, there's a chance he never will.

As OTAs and minicamp take place over the course of the next month, does Sherrod deserve the opportunity to prove how much progress he's made at the expense of Barclay?

It's a worthwhile question.

Who deserves to be the Packers' top backup swing tackle this offseason? free polls 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Bakh, Sitton, Tretter, Lang, Bulaga as your starting 5.

Barclay as the backup at C/G. Sherrod as the swing T. Possibly Linsey as the 8th man.

This is a GOOD line. Best one we've had since the heydey of Cliffy/Wahle/Flanagan/Rivera/Tausch.

We are gonna TEAR everyone up on offense this year.

Evan's picture

I agree with pretty much everything.

Only minor quibble would be Barclay - I think his primary function will be back-up T/G and only play C in an emergency.

If I were to bet, I'd say Tretter wins the C job and Linsley is back-up C/G and Barclay is the 8th OL who isn't active on game day.

I think Barclay is a solid back-up to have, I just don't know if he'll have the time to learn to play center this off-season, if also learning guard. And I think Linsley will be a better back-up C and Sherrod a better back-up T.

L's picture

I'd guess that Barclay is expected to be one of the most versatile O-linemen - someone who can back-up every position except LT - and if he makes the 53-man roster he will most certainly be active on game days - at least to start the season.

Not sure who will win the Center job between Tretter or Linsley, but if Tretter wins it then I would think that Linsley becomes that extra O-lineman who doesn't get activated on game days if Barclay made the 53; unless of course injuries occur. If Linsley wins the starting Center job then it's likely Tretter becomes that extra O-lineman that's not activated on gamedays unless injuries occur, but I believe Tretter is someone who's capable of becoming as versatile if not more versatile than D.Barclay and could end-up eventually replacing him in that very important role next year, if not as the season progresses this coming year.

I see D.Sherrod being given every opportunity to not only serve as the primary back-up tackle at both the Right and Left sides but also to challenge for a starting spot at either of those positions; especially, if Bulaga appears a bit limited from his ACL recovery.

Some others to keep an eye on is L.Taylor and G.Gerhart. It'll be interesting to see their performances and what kind of versatility they're capable of this year.

Jordan's picture

Unfortunately, Sherrod is top heavy. He has good feet, but once he commits his weight in a direction, he doesn't recover well. I give Sherrod an A for effort as I think he'll battle as hard or harder than anyone on the team. That's what he's shown so far in what little film he's put out.

It's almost as if Sherrod is a rookie. No way do they put Sherrod out there on 46 man roster unless there's injuries. Sherrod would have to have an incredible training camp and pre-season to end up on the 46. It's not impossible. But it's unlikely, IMO.

I'm not writing off Sherrod permanently. But when week 1 rolls around vs Seattle, I don't see him on the 46. The Packers drafted Linsley so they don't have to shuffle Lang to center if Tretter goes down in a game. Linsley will be on the 46 against Seattle.

jmac34's picture

Until Sherrod can prove anything except that he can get hurt, it has to be Barclay as the third tackle,

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

You suck.

ebongreen's picture

My best guess is that the team would like Sherrod to take over as the third tackle, and move Barclay inside to guard. Barclay can play, but he's not starter-material at either tackle position: he might be starter-class at guard given enough reps.

Like Bearmeat above, I think it'll be Sherrod as the #3 tackle active on gameday, and the team will pick between the loser of the C fight and Barclay for the #3 interior lineman active. I think those are some mighty good options to have.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Barclay is a known quantity at OT. Need is to find out what Sherrod brings to the table, so I would give him first crack at OT. I have posted this before, but here goes again: I agree with L and Stroh that Sherrod should compete for the starting LOT w Bakhtiari as well as for the back-up tackle positions.

As to the active linemen on game day, there are too many variables. The scenarios painted above are all reasonable. Need to know if the loser of the center battle can BU at OG (and pray that the winner is a competant C). Need to know if Sherrod is back up at LOT, or even possibly the starter. Reps everywhere might be scarce. You can bet that when Tretter gets reps at C, Linsley will get reps at guard, and vice versa. It would be nice if Bulaga could get some reps at LOT in case of injury. Conventional Wisdom is that Barclay would play ROT and Bulaga would move to LOT if Bakh got hurt, unless Sherrod is good enough just to slide into LOT and is active. Any way you cut it, looks like GB has a lot of pretty good linemen.

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