25

August

Packers OL Don Barclay Quietly Earning A Roster Spot

Don Barclay

OL Don Barclay, #67, is quietly earning a roster spot with the Green Bay Packers.

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.

29

July

Green Bay Packers Release 11-Year Veteran Mark Tauscher

Mark Tauscher

Mark Tauscher's release by the Green Bay Packers was an expected yet heart-breaking loss to fans and the team.

@jasonjwilde: Mark Tauscher has been released by the @packers.”

That tweet, instantly relayed by dozens of Jason Wilde’s followers today, was simple, striking, and emotional all in one. News of 11-year veteran Mark Tauscher’s release by the Green Bay Packers was to be expected; however, many had hoped the statement would be about his retirement instead.

Along with bookend left tackle Chad Clifton, Tauscher has been one of the foundations of the Packers’ offensive line for just over a decade. Selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft, he became a full-time starter after Earl Dotson suffered a back injury early in the season. He has made 132 regular season starts since that time.

Mark Tauscher has earned a large spot in Wisconsin’s heart, and that will make it hard for fans to see him go. A native of the Badger State, he began his football career at Auburndale High School and was a two-time All-Conference honoree. He also actively participated in baseball and basketball, earning state honors in those sports as well.

After graduating from high school in 1995, Tauscher went on to the University of Wisconsin as a walk on, where he played his first few years as a backup to Chris McIntosh. He finally saw playing time during his fourth year in unbalanced line formations, and became the full-fledged starter at right tackle in his fifth and final season. Tauscher was considered an essential blocker in the line that gave success to Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne.

As a Packer, Mark Tauscher continued his high level of play and gained further adoration from Wisconsin fans. His work ethic and charm made him one of the great faces of the organization.

The past two seasons have, unfortunately, been an omen to his final days in Green Bay, as he only played a total of 13 games during that span of time. It seemed the injury bug had hit him, with a torn ACL at the end of 2008 and a shoulder injury early last season. He was replaced after the most recent injury by 2010 first-round draft pick Bryan Bulaga, who started for the remainder of their championship year.

11

April

2011 Draft Prep: Green Bay Packers Needs by Position – Offensive Line

In this next installment of our 2011 Draft Prep series looking at the Green Bay Packers’ needs by position, we are going to analyze how the offensive line positions currently stand. Strengths, weaknesses, depth, and uncertainties will all be examined to determine the urgency of need in regards to next season.

This series is meant to help us figure out the needs of the team and how the draft could be used to improve the weaker areas. While Ted Thompson largely uses the “best player available” (BPA) approach, his decision to trade up or down the board is affected by what position players he would prefer to have. Additionally, the picking up of players in the later rounds and in undrafted free agency is often based on need, since the talent is less defined.

CURRENT PLAYERS:

#63 Scott Wells [C]
30 yrs. old / 7 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#62 Evan Dietrich-Smith [C/G]
24 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#67 Nick McDonald [C/G]
23 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2012

#72 Jason Spitz [C/G]
28 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (no tender offered)

#71 Josh Sitton [G]
24 yrs. old / 3 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#64 Adrian Battles [G]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#73 Daryn Colledge [G]
29 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (tender offered)

#74 Marshall Newhouse [G/T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2013

#70 T.J. Lang [T/G]
23 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#76 Chad Clifton [T]
34 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#65 Mark Tauscher [T]
33 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#75 Bryan Bulaga [T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2014

#69 Chris Campbell [T]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

* Contract information acquired from RotoWorld.com

POSITION STRENGTHS:

The offensive line as a unit has come a long way from its dismal 2009 performance. It still has its weak points, but overall the unit does a good job in pass protection.