Monday, June 23, 2014

Packers 2014: The New Look Offensive Line

After reading Jack's post on RT Bryan Bulaga, I realized that I hadn't thought much about the changes on the offensive line this offseason. It's been a quiet 2014 so far with no free agent signing like with C Jeff Saturday in 2012 and only one late round draft choice (5th round C Corey Linsley). But the line's starting five is pretty much set, barring something surprising this preseason.

LT David Bakhitari. He went from unknown to the unquestioned starter at left tackle. He had a couple bad games last season, and unsurprisingly his conditioning entering last season as a rookie wasn't up to NFL standards. The fact that he's the unchallenged left tackle this season shows how much confidence the team has in him.

LG Josh Sitton. He had a rough start last season in Week 1 because of a back injury, but it cleared up within a couple weeks and he went onto be ranked as the No. 2 guard overall last season by Pro Football Focus.

C JC Tretter. Mike McCarthy has seemed to have wanted a tall center for years. He tried to promote Jason Spitz over Scott Wells a few years ago, but Spitz got hurt and Wells went onto play at a Pro Bowl level. Tretter is more athletic and taller (6-4) than any starting center they've had in years, and the coaches know exactly what they've got after watching him play on the scout team for the last several weeks of the 2013 season. Playing alongside two veterans will help with his transition, and I've got zero concerns about him.

RG T.J. Lang. He was very good in his first season as a starter (2011) but he slipped in 2012, and I was worried about his long-term future. Instead, a move to the right side of the line gave him no problems, and he bounced back with a solid 2013 season (the 15th ranked guard last season overall according to Pro Football Focus). Sitton and Lang were the anchors of the line in 2013, and they'll do it again next season.

RT Bryan Bulaga. If they did have any concerns about him returning from an ACL tear, he's seemed to have answered them this offseason. His health is still the biggest concern among the five starters, and even if that does become a problem again, Don Barclay was OK last season in his place.

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