Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Packer Offensive Line Was Awful Against The Lions

Worrying about the offense is not a concern I've written about often for the Green Bay Packers. This shouldn't be a big concern when QB Aaron Rodgers is healthy and playing, but the other 10 starters on offense have to contribute too.
The good news is that the defense is looking much better. They got big plays from two new faces (LB Julius Peppers and FS HaHa Clinton-Dix) and another one from a player who was seldom used in the past (CB Davon House). Though House's INT was probably the least helpful turnover I've ever seen since it pinned the Packers on the goal line and led to safety. The defense wore out late in the game as RB Reggie Bush ran for a long TD and even WR Golden Tate was running through tackles on the final drive. The defense could have done more, but overall they held a good offense in check.

I wrote last week about the lack of help from the offensive skill players. The Lions double-teamed WR Jordy Nelson (who still managed to lead the team in receiving) and it left the offense without a big play threat. TE Andrew Quarless had a great game, but that can't be said for any of the other receiver or back. However, the big problem was that the offensive line had a bad, bad day.

This isn't the first time they struggled badly trying to stop Suh and Fairley. While neither Lion had a huge stat line, they were shoving lineman out of the way at times and Rodgers was throwing a lot of quick passes. He couldn't take a few seconds to let a route develop. The Packers had done a pretty good job against them in recent seasons but this wasn't one of those moments.

LT David Bakhitari. Pro Football Focus gives him the worst run blocking grade of any lineman this season, and the visual evidence would confirm that. However, he does have a positive pass blocking grade, which might be good enough for Mike McCarthy. Former LT Chad Clifton was rarely an asset as a run blocker, but it didn't matter because of his reliable pass blocking.

LG Josh Sitton. He still has the best overall grade at Pro Football Focus of any lineman despite having his worst game of the season. He usually has one bad game per year (in 2013 it was the home opener against the 49ers). I expect he'll bounce back.

C Corey Linsley. He looked like a rookie trying to fill in for a starter last Sunday. Suh especially was shoving him around. He's probably not a long-term starter and he held up as best he could considering neither of the two veterans playing alongside him played well.

RG T.J. Lang. I lost track of the number of times I saw Lang on the ground. He was the lineman watching LB DeAndre Levy running by him on his way to tackling RB Eddie Lacy in the end zone for a safety. He was the only lineman charged with a sack by Pro Football Focus but he still ended up with a positive grade from them on Sunday. Go figure. It looked like a forgettable game for him.

RT Bryan Bulaga. With his surprising return from a knee injury, I'd expected the line to play well, but that didn't happen. Still, it wasn't his fault and he was the only lineman with a positive grade from Pro Football Focus.

The combination of arguably the best two defensive tackles going up against a line featuring a rookie center ended up going about as bad as you might expect. Hopefully it goes better against the Bears next week, but DT Stephen Paea had a good game against the Jets and DT Jeremiah Ratliff is having a good season (assuming he returns from a concussion). At this point, there's no big fix coming until JC Tretter returns later this season, but Sitton and Lang should bounce back from their poor game against the Lions.

No comments: