Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Scrapping Sherrod

Watching the Green Bay Packers get manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL opener last week gave me plenty of frustrations. However, what made me the most sick to my stomach was not the 20-point loss, it was watching both Bryan Bulaga and Richard Rodgers writhe on the ground in pain. Not only was I worried that star tackle Bulaga would be lost for yet another season to injury, but I also knew that Derek Sherrod was the next man up.

To be fair, I think Sherrod as a player has gotten a bad rap. The severe leg break he suffered against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 was not an injury anyone could foresee, prevent, or recover from quickly. Even though he didn’t have a stellar rookie career up to that point, it was still his first year and theoretically had time to improve.

Fast forward to 2014, and his bust status as a first round draft pick has come to a head. Going into his fourth season, Sherrod only appeared in six regular season games. The embarrassing performance in Seattle was his seventh. Sherrod will become a free agent in 2015 having never been a bona fide starter in the NFL.

My question this week, then, is this:

Should Ted Thompson give up on Derek Sherrod after what happened against the Seattle Seahawks and bring in a new right tackle?

In this installment of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, we’ll take a look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half empty” or “half full.”


When the Green Bay Packers drafted Derek Sherrod with the final pick of the first round in 2011, a lot of fans and sports pundits applauded the selection. Chad Clifton was quickly aging, and “protecting the franchise” was a priority. Ironically, many people were hoping Wisconsin Badgers left tackle Gabe Carimi would fall to the Packers; although, his career hasn’t exactly been on a stellar path, either.

But where has this love gone? As I mentioned earlier, some doubts might have crept in during that first season. Yet even those doubts were shrouded in more doubts about Mike McCarthy’s desire to train him at multiple positions along the line. His development and short-term performance was hypothetically being hindered more by what the coaches were doing than limitations of his football skills.

With fewer than ten regular season performances under his belt, I don’t think we’ve ever seen the true Derek Sherrod. We’ve seen glimpses, but never the full potential. graded him at a 2.1 against the Tennessee Titans this preseason, a -0.1 against the St. Louis Rams, a -0.7 against the Oakland Raiders, and a 1.2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. In that four-game span, he allowed one quarterback sack, one hit, and two hurries. This is about the best picture we’ve seen of Sherrod since he recovered from his injury, and while it is obviously not a stellar performance, it is also not abysmal.

If all back-up offensive linemen could play like the starters, then they wouldn’t be back-ups. Even though he is four years into his first NFL contract, Sherrod still has room to grow as a player. Until he’s had that time and the real game experience, Thompson can use him as a serviceable back-up. He won’t, after all, be playing at the roaring CenturyLink Field every weekend.


Derek Sherrod might still have room to grow, but do the Packers have the time to let him? Sure, they’re not hurting much by continuing to work with him and have him on the bench, but that’s not where the team is at. Right now the Packers need to do everything they can to make another push for the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers is not getting any younger, and he’s not getting any healthier after games like the one last Thursday.

Part of the problem is that Don Barclay ended up on injured reserve this preseason after tearing his ACL in practice, leaving one less competent back-up lineman on the bench. However, that also underscores how crucial it is for Ted Thompson to find someone that can be more than just a serviceable replacement should Bulaga or Bakhtiari go down for any extended length of time.

Sherrod’s preseason numbers might not be horrible, but they are also within the context of preseason games. They are not from regular season games, where players are specifically schemed against and starters play the entirety of snaps. Is there much confidence for a tackle who can only post mediocre grades against mediocre players?

If Thompson and McCarthy are truly serious about making a run this year, then they need to start looking for an grooming a tackle that can do more than be “serviceable,” and pronto. Bulaga has a chance of returning to action as early as this weekend, so there could be time to bring in a new player and begin acclimating him to the system. Rodgers and the offense can’t afford to suffer another game with Sherrod at tackle.


If starting-caliber NFL tackles grew on trees, there would be a lot more franchises with orchards planted near their training facilities. Unfortunately, many teams are constantly searching for tackles who can both protect the edge and be a force in the running game. The Green Bay Packers are no different.

While the idea of bringing in a replacement for Derek Sherrod sounds great, there just isn’t anything to really pick from. Looking at the list of free agents, nothing really jumps out as a viable option. (And for Packers fans, it should say something that Marshall Newhouse was signed ahead of everyone else still on the streets.)

Feel free to disagree with me on this one, but I also don’t see Barclay as that much of a better option, even if he were healthy. Last year he allowed 9 sacks, 6 quarterback hits, and 27 hurries. Mostly lauded for his run blocking skills, Barclay really has the same problems with speed rushers that Sherrod does.

To top it all off, even the great tackles have bad days at CenturyLink Field. It’s just a noisy environment, and the Seattle defense itself provides a significant amount of pressure up front. graded Bulaga at -5.6 in the “Fail Mary” game of 2012 after giving up two sacks, one hit, and eight hurries. The only real difference between that performance and Sherrod’s was the absence of a safety.

Derek Sherrod’s career mug might be half empty when it’s all said and done, but at this point his worth to the team is half full. Thompson could easily let him walk at the end of this season, but for now there’s few to no better options out there. And to be honest, do we really have any other choice than to be hopeful for the remainder of this year?


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


22 thoughts on “Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Scrapping Sherrod

  1. “Under no circumstance will I be convinced that Sherrod,pre or post injury,is the guy for the Packers at Tackle..right or left.”

    I posted that in another article a couple of days ago and haven’t budgec one iota from it.That however doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the situation the Packers are in regarding the T position.

    Finding, much less acquiring, someone of better ability is difficult and even if accomplished it would seem unlikely that TT would make the move.

    I do take objection to comparing Barclay and Sherrod and asserting there is no difference.Since the round a player was drafted is often used as a defense,lets remember who was drafted where with these two and also remember that the excuse of Sherrod not having a camp due to the holdout,could in a way make that an equaling of both.

    Sherrod being a 1st rd guy should have been still,more able to win the job over Newhouse,regardless of the multi-position desires of MM since it is a requirement for each and every OL guy..yes/no.

    Yes it’s true Sherrod had a bad break with the injury,but one cannot deny that Barclay had shown more than Sherrod,at a position he WAS NOT drafted to play, ever has and likely will both before and after the injury,which he now needs to overcome.

    The stats posted against Barclay aren’t glorious by any means,but did anyone think with any confidence that Sherrod would have posted better in the same time period based on what had been seen when on the field.

    The glass is half empty though it may appear to be half full at times,but thinking it can remain as such,will simply have the a half empty look for the offense as a whole and damage a product that needs protecting. 🙂

  2. I think we’re seeing a compilation of problems that make Sherrod’s deficiencies even more apparent: the Packers open the season with a run of three teams that are strong on the DL (Sea, NYJ, and Det), and the Packers are starting a rookie center. Both of these mean the Packers are more likely to cheat help up the middle rather than to the outside, putting Sherrod–who never had a reputation as being a physical, nasty player–on an island (unless he gets TE help).

    The Packers are going to have to pick their poison. I don’t see a FA ORT coming in and making a difference at this stage, so either you put Linsley on an island or you put Sherrod on an island. Honestly, I think you keep the TE in a little more often and you roll the dice with Sherrod on the outside. Pressure up the middle will kill an offense faster than outside pressure in the face of your QB.

  3. I agree with Taryn. Bakhtiari showed an ability and attitude for tackle right out of the blocks. Sherrod has never demonstrated that capability. If you want to boil it down to his injury, fine, but it still translates into an inability to play tackle for this team. That fundamental fact puts the Packers in a dangerous position, especially since Bulaga is the ‘glass man’ and Sherrod is listed as depth for both left and right tackle

    At this point, help is not on the way. Talented tackles are locked up. At best, we will be looking at a project. We have Jeremy Vujnovich on our practice squad. I doubt that anyone feels comfort in that. If the talent wasn’t there after the draft and OTAs, then I doubt that we have many real options.

    Since I believe that Packer success starts in the trenches – on both the O-line and D-line, I am worried about this season. I am not sure if the beer mug is half empty or half full. I do know that I will need a hell of a lot more beer.

  4. Sherrod just doesn’t have it, plain and simple. Why try to make excuses and continue to HOPE he gets better. He will eventually end Rodgers career if you keep him in the game. Anyone else will be better than Sherrod( with the exception of maybe Newhouse) so, suck it up TT and think of the team instead of your enormous ego. Just wish I could kick TT in the ding ding to bring him back down to earth.

    1. “Why try to make excuses and continue to HOPE he gets better. He will eventually end Rodgers career if you keep him in the game.”

      1) I’m not making excuses. I think I’ve noted Sherrod’s deficiencies pretty clearly.

      2) I continue to HOPE because it’s the only thing we have at this point, because…

      3) …if we take him out of the game, who are we going to put in? There is no other viable option at this point.

      The question of this article was whether TT should cut Sherrod and replace him. There are two parts to that. Not just cutting him, but finding someone who will do better.

      So tell me…who is your replacement player?

      1. “2) I continue to HOPE because it’s the only thing we have at this point, because…”

        So undeniably true..but our ‘Hope List’ of players is growing at a very fast pace….
        Linsley…more…just saying. 🙂

        1. Taryn, subtly pointed out a growing problem with the Packers. It seems instead of growing smaller, our group of “hope” players is growing larger.

          Sure there’s the potential for success for all of them. But it does seem like the hits are fewer than the misses, with additionally a huge portion of this roster stuck in neutral.

          Anyway, with Sherrod, I feel what we’ve seen is what we’ll get. His feet at one time very good are now slow. He seems top heavy and easily beatable to the outside. The better speed-rushers are going to eat-him up.

          I don’t know how much technique work will help him. You’d think with his pedigree, size, arm length and hand size he would become an above average tackle. He could become like Loadholt, who’s overcame a difficult start to become an effective player in this league. But as right now, I don’t see it.


          1. I think the fundamental problem with having several big-contract guys (Rodgers, Matthews, Nelson) is that you have to rely on guys that you’re “hoping” on. The money only goes so far…

      2. I cannot imagine there is no one out there to replace him. They only have to be average and that is a huge improvement. I remember the Ron Wolf and Holmgren days where they would pick up great quality players mid-season. TT needs to get it done, that is his job. He can pick someone up and pretend he drafted him(for his ego) and all would be fine. Seriously with all of their resources they can’t find a right tackle that is just average. Thats all we need is an average tackle that doesn’t run away from the defender.

  5. I think all of us would like to have full mug, not half full or half empty… I must admit that I do not understand that attitude: “We can’t give up on first round pick”! Why not. If player is not able to perform on NFL level, it doesn’t matter in which round he was picked up. E. g. look Mycah, or David. At what round they were drafted? On other hand, whoever you will bring now, even if it will be pro bowl level of RT, he will need time to adjust. Not much in pass protection maybe, but definitely in running game blocking… SO, we have to go with what we have. But it will be wise to find another OT available at the moment. So, Packers did. They brought 2 OT, Erle Ladson & Mitchell Van Dyk. Who knows, maybe they will become new jars on the shelf…
    Lets hope everything will pass good in game 2…
    EDIT: Take my respect towards 0911 date. For any who lost dear person(s), take my condolences…

    1. I say he deserves another chance this week vs Jets. If on teh slower surface he is able to handle the Jets’ monster DEs, then he is worth keeping around. It would mean he would need help on fast surfaces. This week will tell us everything we need to know about D Sherrod. He’s big, strong, hard-working and intelligent. He seems stiff since the injury. Bulaga on one bad wheel is not the answer. Give him at least one week to heal.

      1. “Bulaga on one bad wheel is not the answer. Give him at least one week to heal.”

        If our Tackle wheels were off a Monster truck I can get behind playing Bulaga with one,but it appears our wheels are off a Tyke Bike…Bulaga on one wheel is seemingly equal to Sherrods two..let Bulaga stay parked for a week and ‘hope’ for a good result for both. 🙂

      2. He will get another chance, for sure. I already said, I will be first to admit I was wrong if Sherrod will show different…

  6. Sherrod’s performance last week was pretty disappointing. He got off to a great start, and even the commentators gave him a compliment on how well he was filling in for Bulaga. Then he gave up those two BAD sacks.

    Granted, the sacks were given up to great pass rushers, but Sherrod has to get off the ball faster than that. I’m not sure if tinkering with the snap count would help him, but he barely got a hand on Avril or Bennett, on those sacks. Rodgers needs to at least get a chance to avoid the defender.

    Let Bulaga sit till he’s completely healthy. They’re gonna need him when the playoffs come.

  7. Apparently Bulaga saw limited practice work yesterday and is practicing today. It could be that the Sherrod discussion is premature…

  8. Thank you. Common sense finally.

    “If starting-caliber NFL tackles grew on trees, there would be a lot more franchises with orchards planted near their training facilities. Unfortunately, many teams are constantly searching for tackles who can both protect the edge and be a force in the running game.”

    Considering his injury – Sherrod hasn’t set the world on fire, but he hasn’t been a “bust” either.

  9. Thank you for the well-conceived and balanced article. I don’t care about where players were drafted or whether they are a bust (that’s for a different article), I only care right now about getting through this season. Barclay was a decent back-up, but he was a well-below average starting NFL RT. I guess I think that Sherrod might improve with reps, but that remains to be seen. There is a lot of talk about signing Eric Winston or trading for a RT. I hope TT is exploring those options. I don’t know much about Winston and have to rely on TT as to what might be possible on the trade front. For now, it is either Sherrod or Bulaga unless TT finds someone else.

  10. What is it with Ted Thompson and his inability to draft linemen, either offensive or defensive. HIs whiffs are now becoming common place but we need to find a tackle and soon.

      1. Bakhtiari isn’t that great, Bulaga is always injured, Tretter injured as well and Linsley has played one game. Sorry Chad I don’t see anything sensational there…

        1. I should just not read the comments if they’re going to showcase this much stupidity.

          By your logic, Rodgers was a horrible pick because he was out for half of last season.

  11. Chad Unfortunately, you seem to have it boiled down fairly well. I hope Sherrod can do better, but there is no evidence. Where did you plant that OT tree?

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