this Dec. 30, 2012, file photo, Green Bay Packers
quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws a pass during the second
half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings
GREEN BAY — The
Green Bay Packers' decision to shuffle their offensive line was
based on the need to protect the team's most important asset in
quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
postseason evaluations of schemes and players and ranking each
player on the roster, coach Mike McCarthy and his staff determined
that Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton were the team's best offensive
their ranking led the coaches to having the best blockers
protecting the blind side of Rodgers. Rodgers signed a five-year,
$110 million extension last month that made him the NFL's
Sunday after the conclusion of the rookie camp that he and his
staff put a lot of thought into the move, but that the idea behind
it isn't very complex.
utilize your personnel is a constant conversation, and it's no
different this year," McCarthy said. "Frankly, we felt
Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton were our two most accomplished
offensive linemen, and just going back to the old-school theory of
how you structure your offensive line, we wanted to put those guys
on the left side."
team activity practices kick off May 21, Bulaga will line up at
left tackle, Sitton at left guard and former left guard T.J. Lang
at right guard.
At right tackle
will be former left tackle Marshall Newhouse, who'll compete with
Don Barclay who started the final six games at right tackle last
season, and 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod, who hasn't played
since breaking his leg at Kansas City on Dec. 18, 2011.
The Packers also
selected a pair of offensive linemen last month in the draft,
adding Colorado's David Bakhtiari and Cornell's J.C. Tretter in
the fourth round.
In the one rookie
camp practice open to reporters, Bakhtiari lined up at left tackle
and Tretter at right tackle, although McCarthy said they moved
around during subsequent practices.
Sunday that he likes the competition the shift creates at right
tackle, as Newhouse, Barclay, Sherrod or the rookies could win the
involved on the right side has some history there. Marshall's
played the right side, T.J.'s played the right side, Barclay's
played the right side, so we're just trying to make as much
competition as possible," McCarthy said.
with Bryan and Josh, we've solved the left side and those guys
have some history together, so there's a number of different
things that went into it."
of the line comes after Rodgers was sacked a league-high 51 times
last season and the Packers' running game ranked 20th in the
league in rushing per game (106.4) and 22nd in yards per attempt
team's 2010 first-round pick who took over at right tackle during
his rookie season, played 587 snaps last season before suffering a
hip injury that ended his season on Nov. 4.
Sitton went to
his first Pro Bowl as an injury replacement last season. McCarthy
said he watched Sitton closely as he played left guard during the
Barclay was a
pleasant surprise as an undrafted rookie free agent when called
upon to fill in for Bulaga after Lang struggled at right tackle.
inconsistent and was better as a run-blocker than pass-blocking.
At the NFL
meetings in Arizona in March, McCarthy had said that he wanted to
see improvement from the left side of the line, but the coach said
Sunday that he hadn't made up his mind about shuffling the line at
made a final decision yet. But one thing was clear: We needed to
be more productive as an offense," McCarthy said. "When
you don't win the Super Bowl, you hear about all the negative
things that you are on offense. The reality is, we were fifth in
the league in scoring (and) No. 1 the year before. So, why? You
look at the run game, you look at the players you have.
always built game plans and taken the things we've learned from
scheme evals and do things with the scheme with guys we know are
going to be here. So, how can we best utilize the individuals we
know are going to be here? It's great that these rookies are here,
but I can promise you there's not one play that we put in because
we thought we were going to draft two tackles in the draft. That's
just not the way it works.
a system of offense that has the ability to take advantage of any
players' talents. And more importantly focus on the ones we know
are going to be here. And we felt Bryan and Josh were our two best
answers for the left side."