The depth of the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line took a big hit with the loss of Don Barclay this week to a torn ACL.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has said before that he believes that this can be the best offensive line during his tenure in Green Bay and you can see why.
David Bakhtiari should improve following a promising rookie season and adding more muscle. Bryan Bulaga looked fully recovered from his torn ACL during the preseason opener in Tennessee last night. J.C. Tretter had a nice debut last night as well, as he got to the second level nicely to spring a couple of long runs. Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are one of the top guard combos in the NFL.
If the starting five stayed healthy for all 16 games the Packers would have no problems. However, that is a rarity in the NFL, and it has not happened in Green Bay since 2003. The loss of Barclay weakens Green Bay’s offensive line depth, especially inside.
Barclay was far from great during his tenure as Green Bay’s starting right tackle last season. He showed that he is probably better off being a top backup than a starter. However, if you watch a lot of the NFL preseason you would see that a ton of teams have brutal second team offensive lines. At least the Packers knew their offense would still be able to function with Barclay as a starter.
Their depth last season at guard was also a huge issue, but they got away with it since neither Sitton nor Lang missed a game. They better hope they are that lucky again with Lane Taylor currently being their top backup at guard. Perhaps they think rookie center Corey Linsley can slide over to guard if necessary. He has had a solid camp thus far.
Derek Sherrod is now the top tackle at both left and right tackle. Sherrod played both spots in Tennessee last night and his name was not called out a lot, which is a good thing for a offensive lineman. The Packers clearly think he has talent since they drafted him with their first round pick in 2011. That awful broken leg injury never gave him a chance to prove his worth, but if he continues to build on what he has showed so far in camp he should be fine as a backup.
The same cannot be said for their situation at backup guard right now. The Packers’ depth is solid in most positions, but guard is a place they should be looking for an upgrade at just in case something happens.