Category Archives: Offensive Line

11

February

Packers Release Offensive Lineman

Greg Van Roten

The Packers released interior lineman Van Roten on Tuesday

The Green Bay Packers released offensive lineman Greg Van Roten on Tuesday.  This was reported by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Van Roten was signed as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2012 season.  He was added to the practice squad to start that year and then elevated to the 53-man roster mid-season.

Van Roten provided depth on the interior of the offensive line and also contributed on special teams in 2013 before he was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a foot injury.

Van Roten’s release leaves J.C. Tretter, Lane Taylor and current practice squad lineman Garth Gerhart as the remaining interior linemen behind starting guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang.  Center Evan Dietrich-Smith is currently set to be a free agent next month.  If he is not re-signed by the team, Tretter and Taylor would enter the mix to compete for the starting center spot.

Depending on what the Packers do in this year’s draft or in free agency, they could also look to move Lang to center.

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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11

February

David Bakhtiari 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers OT David Bakhtiari

Packers OT David Bakhtiari

1) Introduction: David Bakhtiari was considered an “add depth” pick taken in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He was my 17th rated tackle (right after the Bears’ Jordan Mills) mainly because I felt he should have stayed in school one more year and put on some upper body strength. With Derek Sherrod’s return a question mark, Bakhtiari would be looked to serve as back up to starters Bryan Bulaga and Don Barclay.

2) Profile:

David Bakhtiari

  • Age: 22
  • Born: 9/30/1991 in San Mateo, CA.
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 300
  • College: Colorado
  • Rookie Year: 2013
  • NFL Experience: 1 year

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Be the game day backup for both tackle positions while hitting the weight room hard.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: His highlight had to be in preseason when Aaron Rodgers was asked about the rookie protecting his blind side. Rodgers responded that he hadn’t even give that a thought, meaning Bakhtiari was doing just fine. His lowlight was during the Thanksgiving day massacre, where he was victimized for three of the six sacks the Packers gave up that day.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: After way too many sacks in 2012, the Packers had taken steps to protect Rodgers’ blind side by moving Bulaga and Sitton to the left side. That plan went up in smoke when Bulaga went down for the season. The Packers could have moved Marshall Newhouse or Don Barclay from where they were battling for the right tackle spot. Instead, they didn’t hesitate to slot Bakhtiari in at the all-important left tackle spot. Bakhtiari was adequate as a run blocker, and downright solid as a pass protector with two exceptions – the Lions and 49ers. Bakhtiari gave up 10 sacks in 2013, including playoffs.. Eight of them came against two of the best defensive lines in the league – the Lions and the 49ers. Over the other 13 games, Bakhtiari gave up only 2 sacks. While Bakhtiari had his rookie moments, that was pretty darn good for a rookie fourth round draft choice.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Bakhtiari gave up two sacks and was uncharacteristically called for two penalties against the 49ers.

Season Report Card:

(B+) Level of expectations met during the season

(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(C-) Contributions to team during the playoffs

11

February

TJ Lang 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

 

Packers offensive lineman TJ Lang

Packers OG TJ Lang

1) Introduction: Entering his fifth year with the Packers and third straight as a starter, TJ Lang has proven himself to be the dependable, gritty, tough son-of-a-gun every offensive line needs. He was rewarded with a four year contract extension last season and has not given the Packers any reason to regret that move.

2) Profile:

TJ Lang

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 9/20/1987 in Royal Oak, MI
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 318
  • College: Eastern Michigan
  • Rookie Year: 2009
  • NFL Experience: 5 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  TJ Lang came into 2013 needing to quickly acclimate to the right guard position, previously manned by Josh Sitton. With either inexperienced Don Barclay or shaky Marshall Newhouse as the starting right tackle, Lang would be expected to be the glue to keep the right side of the line together. Lang would also need to be ready, if called upon, to act as an emergency offensive tackle or even center should game day injuries require it.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: While he earned a season-best 4.8 grade from Pro Football Focus for his game 2 performance against the Redskins, perhaps his most impressive day was the following week against Cincinnati. Lang completely shut down the very tough Geno Atkins, leaving him with a string of goose eggs. No tackles, no sacks, no QB hurries… zippo. On the downside, after performing well against the Lions front four in their first meeting, Lang struggled mightily (as did the entire Packers OL) in the rematch on Thanksgiving day.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: The move to the right side seemed to agree with Lang, who showed some improvement in his game in all areas, according to ProFootballFocus. The most notable change was cutting down his sacks allowed, from nine in 2012 to three last season.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Lang was mostly solid against the 49ers, allowing only 2 QB hurries and for the most part, playing well against the very tough 49ers front.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season

(B+) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B+) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  B+

10

February

Josh Sitton 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers OL Josh Sitton

Packers OL Josh Sitton

1) Introduction: The elder statesman on the Packers’ offensive line with 6 seasons under his belt, Sitton has established himself as one of the top guards in the league. Sitton was asked to move from his customary right guard spot to the left side, and despite some initial reluctance and a slow start, validated the coaches’ decision as a good one.

2) Profile:

Josh Sitton

  • Age: 27
  • Born: 6/16/1986 in Jacksonville, FL
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 318
  • College: Central Florida
  • Rookie Year: 2008
  • NFL Experience: 6 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Sitton was expected to solidify the Packers’ left side after an expected acclimation period, especially in pass blocking. Sitton’s other goal for the year was to show some improvement in his drive blocking, the result of purposely adding 12 pounds in the offseason.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Sitton got off to a slow start and struggled in game one versus the 49ers. Sitton uncharacteristically was called for three penalties and allowed three quarterback hurries in that game, according to ProFootballFocus. You could see he was a little slow to react in pass protection, probably a result of still having to think about things like proper hand and foot placement. While he had higher rated games against some bad defenses like Dallas and Washington, Sitton’s season highlight would come in the playoffs. He acquitted himself nicely against the same team he had been so shaky against. The difference in Sitton’s play from game 1 to game 17 was as big as his belly.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Sitton recovered nicely from that shaky start, got his bearings and looked more comfortable week to week. Over the second half of the season, Sitton was  a rock. He made few mistakes and didn’t miss an offensive snap the entire season.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: As stated previously, Sitton came up big when it mattered most. He had the difficult task of lining up against Justin Smith much of the game (and occasionally Aldon Smith) yet graded out highly in both run and pass blocking.  Sitton gained some measure of personal redemption against the 49ers, even if the team could not.

Season Report Card:

(A-) Level of expectations met during the season

(A) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

10

February

Evan Dietrich-Smith 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers OL Evan Dietrich-Smith

Packers OL Evan Dietrich-Smith

1) Introduction: Dietrich-Smith is one of those guys that unexpectedly hang around for a few years (even after being cut once) and finally get their chance. When Jeff Saturday wore down last season, the Packers promoted Dietrich-Smith to starter for game 15. Smith was expected to compete with some UDFA centers and conversion project draftee JC Tretter in camp, but won the job by default when Tretter went down in July with a broken fibula. He’s received a vote of confidence from Aaron Rodgers, who badly wants to not have to work with a new center every year.

2) Profile:

Evan Dietrich-Smith

  • Age: 27
  • Born: 7/19/1986 in Salinas, CA
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 308
  • College: Idaho St.
  • Rookie Year: 2009
  • NFL Experience: 4 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Dietrich Smith was being looked upon to continue his steady, if not impressive, play manning the center of the Packers’ offensive line. Improving his run blocking and his knowledge of the offense was a priority for 2013.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: According to ProFootballFocus. Dietrich-Smith had his worst game against the Ravens, but I’m going to go with the Cincinnati game as his low light. The Packers offensive line struggled mightily against the Bengals’ front (except for TJ Lang, who completely shut out Geno Atkins). Dietrich-Smith was charged with two of the Bengal’s four sacks and had a negative grade in run blocking, as well. His season highlight would have to be how he finished out the season in the run blocking department. Over the last three games, Dietrich-Smith was more effective at winning his battles than he had been all season.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Aaron Rodgers has said he considers the center position one of the most important of the offensive 11. Certainly, when Dietrich-Smith missed parts of two games, the results (with TJ Lang at emergency center) were less than stellar (remember the Thanksgiving Day massacre?).  Dietrich-Smith brought a measure of reliability to the center position, although I wouldn’t say he played at a high level.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Dietrich-Smith did not allow a sack or a quarterback hit against the 49ers. As previously mentioned, his run blocking was better than usual against a tough 49er defensive line.

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

3

January

Packers Periscope: Wild Card vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Past: Do we really need to remind ourselves of the past?  Sometimes it seems like certainly match-ups become one sided rivalries; in the 1990′s the Packers seemed never able to beat the Dallas Cowboys and recently it’s seemed like the Packers have always gotten better of the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears but the team that seems to give the Aaron Rodgers Packers the most problems is the Jim Harbaugh lead San Francisco 49ers.  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick stole the show in their last playoff meeting, setting a new record for yards on the ground for a quarterback and added 263 yards in the air and two touchdowns.  On the other side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers just couldn’t get anything going against the stout 49ers defense and was stymied into a 1 dimensional passing attack.

The Packers drew the unfortunate luck of having to see their rivals right out of the gate this season with similar results. Again Aaron Rodgers couldn’t get much going against the defense, the running game lead by two rookies just wasn’t ready and the defense fell apart, this time only through the passing game as Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and 3 touchdowns and made aging receiver Anquan Boldin look like the second coming of Jerry Rice.

Since then the Packers have mostly been licking their wounds quietly with bigger issues to fry such as replacing Rodgers for 8 games while his shoulder blade recovered, or having to find a new defensive line and linebacking core as players shuffled in due to injuries.  Getting to the playoffs was essentially a pipe dream until week 17 (the Packers at the lowest had a 6% shot at getting into the playoffs), when they secured their playoff berth with a miracle 4th down touchdown from Rodgers to Randall Cobb, who was also coming back from a horrific bone break of his own.  While neither the Packers nor the Bears were really expected to fare all that well in the playoffs, getting in is an accomplishment on its own, especially considering the wretched season they had to endure just to get to this point.

23

December

Marshall Newhouse: Q & A With Adam Czech

Newhouse

Has Newhouse played his last game as a Packer?

Obviously it was disappointing to see the Green Bay Packers drop a home game in December and one that could have helped their confidence heading into next week’s showdown with the Chicago Bears.  The frustrations were high during the game (see my Twitter timeline) among many fans and were directed at coaches, the Packers front office and players.

One player who always seems to draw the ire of Packers fans is offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse.  The burning question with Newhouse is how and why is he still on the team?

Being a somewhat new Dad, I find myself up at odd hours of the night with these questions and thoughts swirling in my head.  So who better to help me tackle this question than another new(er) Dad than our own Adam Czech?  I caught up with Adam for a quick Q & A and to get his thoughts on Newhouse.

JP:  Newhouse has extensive experience with this offense and was a big part of the offensive line during the 15-1 season in 2011.  This year, Newhouse was beaten out by David Bakhtiari at left tackle and Don Barclay at right tackle.  In the few snaps Newhouse has seen, why has he been so ineffective?

AC:  He probably figures it’s not Aaron Rodgers back there, so why bother blocking anybody? Perhaps Newhouse is actually trying to speed up Rodgers’ return. If he whiffs on enough blocks and every single backup QB the Packers sign gets injured, Dr. McKenzie will have no choice but to activate Rodgers and the Packers will march to the Super Bowl.

JP:  When Mike McCarthy needs an extra body on the line, why is he still calling on Newhouse who can’t seemingly move anyone or hold a block?  Does Newhouse have photos of McCarthy in a speedo during his summer vacation or what?!

AC:  Remember Milton from the movie “Office Space?” He was the guy in the basement who loved his stapler. Everyone also forgot that he was still with the company. That’s Newhouse. McCarthy probably forgets that Newhouse is still on the team until he accidentally wanders on the field, screws something up, then tries to trot off without anybody noticing. McCarthy makes a mental note to cut Newhouse after every game, but then a bunch of other players get injured or something else goofy happens to the Packers and McCarthy just forgets.