Packers OL Don Barclay Quietly Earning A Roster Spot

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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.

Keep your eyes on Don Barclay during the rest of camp. He’s been quietly carving out a roster spot for himself.

 

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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  • Ron LC

    Thanks for the heads up Chad. I will keep an eye on him. The O line backups are in dire need of some quality upgrade. When commenters on the site think Sherrod and Datko are the best backups it is not a good sign. Sherrod won’t be back for 6 weeks at least and Datko is perpetually injured. Add to that Newhouse is still having problems with speed.

  • barry

    i also like Van Rotten, although i think he ends up on PS.

  • I bleed green more

    I also like Van Rotten he is raw but give him time. Its good a few are stepping up to play.

  • Ron LC

    Guys, as much as I may agree with your spelling, it’s Van Roten. I saw no such peformance. I saw him get his butt beat mutiple times Thursday night.

    • Chad Toporski

      lol, I had to laugh at the typos. Not sure how many were accident, though…

  • Jim Hurly

    I’d rather him be Roten than rotten, anyway.

  • aaronqb

    I agree on Barclay. I watched him in the second half. His pass blocking was solid and he has a nasty streak in his run blocking. In the fourth quarter he ran his guy a few yards out of bounds. I think he makes the 53 man.

    • Chad Toporski

      I ended up going back to the Cleveland game and checking him out there, too. He actually spent time at both RG and LG in the second half; seemed to be solid at both. There was only one play where he whiffed on a pass block in that game. I can also start to see that physicality in his run blocking that you’re talking about. Always a plus.

  • Elo

    Looked good to me too. Wish Newhouse was showing more. LT is a bit of an issue right now.

    • Chad Toporski

      Ditto. I wish Sherrod were healthy so that he could actually start practicing. There’s a lot for him to prove yet as a first round pick, and hopefully he becomes a better option than Newhouse.

  • I bleed green more

    Just protect Rodgers that is all I ask.

  • Donnetta Battin

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  • Turophile

    Chad, nice to hear about a guy no-one else has mentioned. Not many people are good at analysing line play, though we all know what real good and real bad look like !

    I had candidates for the last couple of spots, Dominguez and Genus. Dominguez dinged his ankle in camp, he hasn’t done much. Genus (a favourite of mine) has failed to stand out at all, with the 2nd and 3rd stringers. Time for a re-think.

    So, Newhouse, Lang, Saturday, Sitton, Bulaga as starters. EDS and Wells pencilled in as backups. That leaves one or two spots. Herb Taylor is now out (waived). Datko’s improved play gives him a decent chance. Barclay has a sniff at being temporarily on the final 53, probably as an inactive, until Sherrod comes off PUP (Sherrod is almost certain to be on that).

    The Packers may even prefer Barclay to Datko, for the immediate future, but then if you only keep 8 OL you have to take the chance of exposing Datko to being nabbed off our PS. I am guessing we have a better chance of keeping Barclay on the PS without having him poached by another team.

    • Chad Toporski

      That’s about the way I see it. Dominguez’ injury and Genus’ lack of performance have me scratching my head on what the Packers will do with them. I agree with you that EDS and Wells are probably the back-ups.

      I think Datko would make a better PS player than Barclay at this point. I can’t say that I’m too concerned about Datko getting picked up by someone else considering his slow development and uninspiring preseason play (which is what the other teams are probably looking at).

      • Tarynfor12

        Who’s this guy Wells that is ‘pencilled’in as a backup?
        Surely it isn’t Scott or I missed something.

        • Tarynfor12

          Never mind…forgot Reggie signed..duh..

  • Paul

    I’ve been both a Packer fan and WVU fan for over half a century and am thrilled that the Pack picked up a Mountaineer. Barclay was a FA steal being a rock on the West Virginia offensive line. In addition to his physical skills, but he’s got “game smarts” and learns and adapts quickly. He’s played in several schemes under different head coaches in Morgantown and had no problems there.