There haven’t been a lot of bright spots across the Green Bay Packers’ backup offensive line this preseason, as Graham Harrell can probably attest to. All of this negative attention, however, has probably overshadowed some of the good line play going on. One player in particular – Don Barclay (#67) – has quietly been proving his worth with the second unit.
Barclay was picked up by the Packers as a rookie free agent from West Virginia University. With experience in the guard and tackle position, he was a three-year starter as the Mountaineers’ left tackle.
As a Green Bay Packer, Don Barclay made his first big jump during the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. He earned a No. 2 guard spot along with veteran Reggie Wells and has been practicing there since. In Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Barclay once again played with the second string offensive line at right guard. During the fourth quarter, he also took the reps at right tackle with the third string unit.
After hearing some rumors about his play, I decided to go back and “A.J. Hawk” him throughout the Bengals game. What I saw was very promising. Though I am no expert on the finer techniques of being an offensive lineman, I can definitely say that Barclay looked extremely solid. He didn’t give up any pressures or sacks, and he was able to hold his ground in pass protection, rarely if ever getting pushed backwards.
Though he also performed well in run blocking (at one point pulling across the line for a block), I would probably mark that as his area of weakness. He did whiff on his blocker at the second level a couple times, but truth be told, I think the Packers would rather him weaker in run blocking than in pass blocking. Regardless, he still did an overall nice job of controlling his man.
If I had to place my bets today, I would put money down on Don Barclay to make the team. Considering the lack of talent we’ve seen otherwise, he might not have much competition. Barclay’s ability to play both guard and tackle is just what the Packers like in their backup offensive lineman. Even though Barclay hasn’t played on the left side, the Packers could slip him into right tackle and move Bryan Bulaga over to left tackle if Marshall Newhouse gets injured.