1) Introduction: As a fourth round draft pick in 2008, Josh Sitton actually had high prospects of starting at right guard his rookie season. Unfortunately, a preseason knee injury sidelined him, and he was replaced by Tony Moll. Sitton only ended up starting two games that season. Fast forward one year, and he swiftly becomes possibly the best player on the offensive line. Josh Sitton was the only Packers offensive lineman to open every game at just one position in 2009. He also played all 1,093 snaps on offense, the only player on either side of the ball to not miss a snap with his unit. In 2010, the NFL Alumni Association named Sitton Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Josh James Sitton
Height: 6-4 Weight: 320 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season: For an offensive line that was coming off a horror of a season in 2009, Josh Sitton seemed to be the only true bright spot. In his first year as a full-time starter, he proved himself to be a reliable lineman (both “available” and “accountable,” to use Coach McCarthy speak). Sitton was a young player with a solid skill set, and it was a performance he was expected to repeat – and improve upon – in the 2010 season.
4) Highlights / Lowlights: If there’s a moment where you can spot excellent play by an offensive lineman, it’s when he has to go up against an elite defensive lineman. In the case of Josh Sitton, he had two very notable chances to do just that: Weeks 4 and 14 against the Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh, the All-Pro defensive tackle who was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
But don’t take my word for it, take Suh’s: “I would say the guy I respect the most that I’ve gone against on the offensive line is Josh Sitton, Green Bay’s right guard. He’s one that is very patient, and he understands the kinds of moves that you may want to do against him. I’ve found ways to beat him, just as he’s found ways to catch me — in my rushes and so forth — to stop me. He’s one of those guys that I definitely respect.”
In both matches with the Lions, Sitton was able to hold Suh in check for virtually the entire game – an exceptional feat.
Sitton didn’t have any glaring lowlights of the season. (At least none that my untrained eyes witnessed.)
5) Contributions to the overall team success: Stats can sometimes speak louder than words, so let’s start with those. Of the five offensive lineman that finished out the season, Josh Sitton ranked last in sacks allowed (2) and “bad runs” (9). He came in second-to-last in pressures allowed (17) and penalties (3). (Scott Wells was the only one to beat him in these two categories, with 16 pressures allowed and 2 penalties.) Throughout the season, Sitton proved himself to be a more-than-capable pass protector and run blocker. He studied his opponents well, and was just a consistently physical force on the line.
6) Contributions during the end-of-season 6-game run: There’s not much more to say here that didn’t already apply to the regular season. He did, however, have to deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ front seven in Super Bowl XLV. He often faced off (successfully) against DE Ziggy Hood – the more-than-competent replacement for the injured Aaron Smith – as well as the myriad blitzes Dick LeBeau sent at the Packers. This was probably his stiffest challenge of the playoff run and shows how crucial he was to the success of the offensive line in protecting Rodgers and giving James Starks room to run.
Season Report Card:
(A) Level of expectations met during the season
(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success
(A-) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)
Overall Grade for the Year: (A-)——————Follow @ChadToporski