The Green Bay Packers offensive line is a good place to start re-tooling if the team wants to go that route under a new head coach. It won’t take long for Mike McCarthy’s replacement to realize there hasn’t been much stability protecting Aaron Rodgers in 2018. Guard Lane Taylor is having a down year in his third season as the starter and fellow guard Byron Bell has played poorly since taking over for Justin McCray. The Packers will also have to make a difficult decision with right tackle Bryan Bulaga who has failed to stay healthy for the second straight season. There’s no telling what could happen to Green Bay’s roster this offseason, but there’s a strong chance Rodgers’ blocking may take on a new look next year.
Protection breakdowns are one of the leading factors as to why Rodgers leads the NFL in throwaways. Defenses have been able to generate a consistent pass rush up the middle as a result of poor guard play. Taylor and Bell both rank in the top ten among guards in pressures allowed this season. Taylor’s poor pass blocking puts him tied for the league-lead among guards in sacks allowed with eight.
The Packers can make a relatively easy decision to part ways with Bell who signed only a one-year deal right before the season began. However, Taylor is signed to a three-year $16.5 million dollar extension that has his under contract through 2020. He was a useful back-up early in his career and showed promise as a two-year starter, but this season isn’t what the Packers bargained for. They could be forced into a tough decision surrounding the 29-year-old guard.
Bulaga, who will turn 30 in March, will see his current contract end after 2019 but the team has the option to not wait another year. He rushed back this offseason after tearing his ACL at the midway point of the 2017 season and hasn’t looked the same. Bulaga has battled knee troubles throughout the season even exiting a few games unable to return.
Green Bay will likely look forward to free agency and the draft to strength the offensive line seeing that there are no young prospects to turn to. Backup tackle Jason Spriggs isn’t panning out as a former second-pick and McCray has lost the trust of his coaches to be an every-down player.
Buckle-up for what will surely be an eventful Packers offseason with a lot of changes.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over two years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.