Chad Clifton: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

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Packers offensive lineman Chad Clifton
Chad Clifton

1) Introduction: Over the last six games of last season, Chad Clifton had a run of play among the best he has given the Packers. The grizzled veteran came into 2011 in the second year of the three year contract he signed as a free agent in 2010 when the Packers had nowhere else to turn.

2) Profile:

(Jeffrey) Chad Clifton

Position: OT
Height: 6-5
Weight: 320 lbs.
AGE: 35

Career Stats:

 

3) Expectations coming into the season: Clifton entered this 12th season of his career as the incumbent starter, expected to hold on to his starting spot despite the trio of recent OT draft choices (Sherrod, Newhouse & Bulaga). Best expectations would be that Clifton’s knees would hold up and he would continue to be the steady protector of Aaron Rodgers’ blind side.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Clifton’s highlight came very early in the Packer’s first game against the Saints. Clifton was in on all 67 offensive snaps and didn’t give up a sack. Unfortunately, it was pretty much all downhill from there. as Clifton’s season got derailed by injuries. The low point would have to be the playoff game against teh Giants. Clifton was benched after giving up a sack in the 3rd quarter. that may prove to be his last play a s a packer.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: When healthy, Clifton is an essential part of this team. Unfortunately, Clifton’s old warhorse of a body has been wearing down the last few years. Clifton would start only six regular season games in 2011.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Clifton fought hard to come back for the Packers’ playoff game, but no matter how much Clifton wished it, his body just wasn’t ready. Clifton did not play well, split time with Marshall Newhouse in the first half and then was pulled in the second half. Clifton played 35 of the 77 offensive snaps against the Giants.

 

Season Report Card:

(C-) Level of expectations met during the season
(D) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(D-) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: D

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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  • Tarynfor 12

    Actually,Clifton exceeded my expectations for him by just getting dressed for games.

  • Ron LC

    The grading is spot on. Almost all of us who are Oline fanatics expected that Clifton would not have a complete season. The good news was that his replacement was not a complete failure. Newhouse seemed to learn and get better over the season. Unfortunately he contributed to the less than acceptable level of sacks given up by the line.

    It is possible Clifton will not be on the team next season. His physical condition is likely to bring up talk of retirement this year. Clifton, like DD, will not go easily. TT has to weigh the fact that even if Clifton comes back, he will not be a full time contributor.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      If Sherrod hadn’t broken his leg, I am certain the Packers would have released Clifton. Now, I don’t know what to expect…

      • JimR_in_DC

        I’m taking a quess on this…TT tries to rework Clifton’s deal to keep him as a backup. If they get it done, Clifton stays. If not, TT releases him and takes a chance on the guys he has + whatever he gets out of the draft.

        • JimR_in_DC

          I may not have been clear here, the part I’m guessing at is the intent to only bring Clifton back as a backup LOT.

  • Ruppert

    Given Clifton’s $6M cap number, I will be very surprised if he is back at all next year. If he does come back, I think it would have to be after some type of restructure/pay cut.

    I get the feeling that it’s “Thanks for the Memories” time with Cliffy. And if it is, let me offer a special Thanks for holding together for last year’s Super Bowl run.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      hey Ruppert… As I said above, i think it was a done deal until Sherrod got hurt, now TT has a tougher choice. Every year he chooses to roll the dice at one or two positions, maybe next year it’s OT. Probably depends on whether they think Herb Taylor would be adequate in a veteran backup role…

  • Lucas

    A pay cut to be a backup? Why not sign Tauscher while we’re at it? Youth will likely provide what Clifton could as a backup.
    Newhouse got enough experience this year, has off-season programs, and competition at the position (if Sherrod is healthy) so great strides will be made.

  • http://cheeseheadtv.com/eat_more_cheese/ John Rehor

    My head tells me to think Clifton has played his last game as a Packer. Then I remember Sherrod and his shattered leg.

    Have this weird feeling he’s coming back simply for this reason, but is a very expensive backup

  • Zack

    I don’t think this is quite as tough a decision as it seems. Clifton is not the answer to our dillema. If worse comes to worse and Sherrod isn’t available or playing up to par, FA is a WAY better option. Even if Clifton was willing to take the lowest salary he can possibly be paid (which is a HUGE stretch), he has proven he is not durrable enough to continue to play. I would rather have a durable average player than an all pro who is MUCH more likely to be hurt than finish out the season. If he played next year I’d give him a 3-5% chance at most to finish the year without injury and he’d be taking up a roster spot. It is not a good option to have 2 questionable players in one position even if Clifton can be baught for a bargain.

    • Zack

      The only way I would think that Clifton comes back is if there is ABSOLUTELY NO other viable option available… which if it came to that I would say that if you have a choice between a bad option and a terrible option you go with the bad option. Anyone know of good FA’s or later round draft picks this coming year?

  • Dan

    Only bring him back for a one year , 1M contract. He can sit on the bench and be used in an emergency situation only. Hopefully he doesn’t get hurt in practice. If he doesn’t take a 4M pay cut, then cut him.