Green Bay Packers Mid-Season Self Scout: Looking at the Lines

Green Bay Packers Offensive line - Corey Linsley
The Green Bay Packers have reached their bye week, at which point I predicted the team would be at 6-2. Their 5-3 record is not to far off but still not as good as I would have liked to have seen.  I’ll start out saying this is not a Super Bowl contending team at this time. It is not the coaching or system, there is just not enough talent.
Earlier in the year I stressed the lines on both sides of the ball. Both lines are a weakness on this this team, keeping it  at a play off level team but not a elite Super Bowl contender.
I am not saying the team can’t get on a roll and win it all, if you look at 2010 you have a perfect example of that happening.  But if you want to do more then be a one and done or two and walk team, the weakness shown on the lines on both sides of the ball are going to have to be shored up and shored up quick.
I am not high on Bakitari, he is a liability to me; inconsistent, weak in the run game and can get beat like a drum by both power and speed if he is not playing perfectly. Can he get better?  Of course he can, but that is doubtful for this season.  My problem comes from seeing him get beat on the same moves over and over. He is a serviceable LT at best right now.
Bulaga is not the same after his ACL, everyone knows it takes two years to be back fully, he is getting beat with speed on a regular basis, and he is not able to sink and set against power as he did before the injury. Cameron Jordan made him look like a revolving door.
Where I have not been a big fan of Lang, I think he has played his best football this year, health has a lot to do with that this season, but that went out the door Sunday night. Lang had better not be out long because Taylor was horrible.  I am hoping that Tretter can fill that hole if Lang is out for any time.
Linsley has done a good job, better then I thought he would, still making some mistakes, but he has the tools and strength to play at a high level. He is getting beat now and then but not at a rate that both Bulaga and Bakitari are.
There is hope, Linsley will get better with experience and hopefully Lang is not out a extended stretch.  With Bakitari, is it a matter of experience or talent? I hope it is just experience because he has to play better, a LOT better. Bulaga can also get better with more playing time and with his work ethic I expect him too improve.  The only bright spot is Sitton, he is as consistent as they come and a damn good football player.
The defensive line is another story, losing Raji hurt bad. His best play was at NT in 2010. He can hold point and shed a blocker, that is the most important thing for a 3-4 NT.
Guion is a nice rotational player but not starting material, his play has improved after missing almost all of training camp.
Even without the injury, Datone Jones is looking more and more like a bad draft choice. VERY inconsistent, when you see a linemen being put on his butt, something is very wrong.  Boyd is another serviceable player, nothing special.
Daniels I still have the same bitch about about, he cannot hold point, he just gets pushed right out of plays against the run. You can’t discount his back side play, his rush ability, his effort is amazing. He just can’t hold point against the run.
In the 3-4 if the middle can’t hold point be that at Nose, 3 technique or end you will not stop the run. And we see that week after week against the better running teams. The better running teams are moving the D-linemen out and getting on the linebackers with ease.
Look at the higher rated running teams the Packers have played so far and it is the same thing play after play.
One player that can help is Penne -l he has the ability to hold point and shed, but he is as raw as a just dropped egg. I am glad he is getting as many reps as he has, his development is something that can help the team against the run this season.
The top teams on both sides of the ball have better lines then the Packers, it is not that the Packers are bad, it is that they are not good enough to be a Elite Team.

31 thoughts on “Green Bay Packers Mid-Season Self Scout: Looking at the Lines

  1. Caption for the photo:

    “See those guys in the hideous uniforms? How’s ’bout you block them this time?”

  2. “Yoop” – Great Job! I am afraid that your article and analysis of both Packer lines is deadly accurate and something that has been a consistent issue with this team since at least the 2011 season. Our play in the trenches is too inconsistent on both sides of the ball and no help is on the way in the short term. We need an NT and a DE who can hold the point of attack on the DL and we need a big time impact LT and a guard to replace Lang and for Bulaga to fully recover on the OL. We’re fine with Sitton and Linsley. Our best hope for a deep playoff run is to get home field advantage (doubtful at this point) and for Rodgers to play lights out. We are just not good enough to dominate the LOS against on either side of the ball against the quality teams that we will face in the playoffs even if we go 12-4 or 11-5 during the regular season. But then again, you never know, which is why we watch the games. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Remember in July when we were all talking about our OL depth and the fact that this team was improved and set there? A couple injuries (Tretter, Barclay) eroded the depth, Bulaga is still slow on the right side (I think we all hoped he would come back and be a different player) and Bakhtiari hasn’t improved in his second year. This is essentially the same quality line as a year ago.

        1. Bearmeat – I think that the problem has been not enough attempts. Last season w/o Rodgers we had to run it more and Lacy benefitted as the OL became more consistent at run blocking. Thanks, Since ’61

        2. We can’t run the ball consistently because Bakh is not better than last year; if anything, his run blocking looks worse to me. Bulaga is only so-so, and our TEs can’t block worth a darn.

    2. I am surprised that you single out Lang. I guess I think more highly of Lang than you do. I think we are solid at both guard positions and at center.

  3. If this review was delivered in a church, I’d be yelling “tell it like it is” followed by “amen”. Thanks for spelling out the problems with our foundation. Could you please forward the article directly to Ted Thompson and keep us posted. Oh wait, he was the architect.

    A couple of things scare me about this assessment. Even if we fast-track changes to the lines, we are looking at a minimum 2 year rebuild. These are all years of Rodgers career that we waste. If we are sticking to TT’s draft and develop then we as well be praying. Thompson has missed on way too many big bodies to trust that we can find the talent via the draft. Most of our 1st and 2nd round linemen have not lived up to expectation. Even the hope of Raji is hollow. Most fans didn’t want him back because of uninspired play, now we place our hope in his return. At this point, our hopes lay with UDFAs Mike Pennel and Luther Robinson. I am hoping that they show up but really.

    A porous D-line will expose weak linebackers and cause us to question the quality of the secondary. A weak O-line will handicap our run game, forcing us to be one dimensional, putting all our hopes on a hurried Aaron Rodgers. You hate to relive the frustrations of previous years but that’s what Packer fans inevitably do. Maybe we can coach ourselves out of this cycle?

    1. Sadly, the only real answer to the issues plaguing this defense is that ARod and the offense must start fast every week.

  4. Thompson can’t draft Dl to save his life. Same thing in SEA. When he left SEA, they signed a bunch of FA DL and went to the SB. Thompson has struggled w OL as well. Finally, w drafting of Sitton/Land, things began to turn around. Bulaga was a questionable pick from day one with 30″ arms. Dez Bryant and DeMarious Thomas were still on the board. Bakhitiari was a good pick for R4, s was Tretter and now Linsley. Barclay was a good FA find. Sherrod was bad luck. So Thomnpson has slowly improved at picking OL but alas, not DL. See K Thornton for latest gaffe. W/o a good OL/DL, teams are spinning their wheels. As I have been saying, we are mediocre team and each year we seem to be getting farther away from the SB. But Packer fans hail Thompson and the moronic HC MM and give them huge salary increases and 5 year extensions. That tells me Rodgers is doomed to finish his career in GB swimming upstream against the tide. But I guess as long as the fans who are so loyal to management get to keep the same morons they will be happy drinking their kool-aid. As for me, I have been watching more and more of the Steelers. They have been doing a much better job drafting than the Packers and they have a pretty great QB who likes to air it as well. The difference is they have a better everything else as well. Interesting that our last SB appearance was against the Steelers. Since then they have rebuilt themselves into a new powerhouse while we, behind the leadership of Ted Thompson have slipped into a mediocrity that is quite disgusting. Maybe 5 years from now we can get new leadership that will hit on a nother new young QB and we can start over.

    1. “Bulaga was a questionable pick from day one with 30″ arms.”

      Bulaga was arguably a top 10 pick right up ’til draft day when he slid when the questions regarding his ability to play on the left side really took off. Was a great value pick at the time.

      1. That was the BS pre-draft hype. He was falling as draft day approached. How many linemen, DL or OL, succeed w 30″ arms? That’s why teams passed on him in the first round. Ted Thompson seems to prefer short armmed linemen. Don’t ask me why. I was pulling for DEZ and/or DeMaryious.

        1. Thomas was gone and Bryant (the top WR talent in the draft) was such a head case he couldn’t keep his spot on his college team.

          Call it BS pre-draft hype if you want, the grades Bulaga was getting were not out of line with where he was drafted. Revisionist history is something that makes us all feel better.

  5. I can see it, you can see it, everyone on here can see it, but the 2 head honchos must have their heads up their azzes, cause they can’t see crap. They must be in denial. I guess we should all just crack open a 40 oz. malt liquor and be happy.

  6. Is it time to wish Aaron goes to a different team? As much as I love the Packers and Arod, I want what is best for him. The most talented qb in the history of the game is being wasted on the TT/MM experiment. TT and MM have tied an anchor around Aaron’s waste and are telling him to swim across the river. I say let him go to a team that has an O-line. Can you imagine the fun that man could have. He would destroy every record out there. Could extend his career for many years as well.

    1. Great idea. For AROD’s sake, I’d love to see him traded. Then we would get what we need i.e., w/o AROD it would be obvious to all just how piss-poor TT/MM are and we would get new management sooner than later. Of course, they know that too and for that reason would never trade him.

      1. You’re both friggin nuts.

        You don’t EVER let go of an ALL PRO QB under the age of 35. Ever. For any amount of money. Never-ever.

        1. Bearmeat -they would rather give up a great QB and consistent winning seasons and an SB shot every season to start over with a new GM, HC and QB and go into the unknown and possibly the abyss like Jacksonville and Oakland. Together they haven’t a clue and sadly calling them nuts is actually an insult to the nuts. Thanks, Since ’61

          1. You obviously didn’t get my point at all. AROD is being wasted behind a subpar O-line. For AROD’s career it would be much better to play with an all-star line. And as far as your nut comment at least I have a pair…

            1. 1st of all I understand your point completely. I’m not sure that Rodgers is being wasted though. The real issue is given the Packers draft position every year and the salary cap in the NFL can you find 5 solid Ols and pay them and simultaneously pay Rodgers, Nelson, Cobb, CM3, Shields, Burnett, etc… I don’t think so. Unless you decide to abandon good economic sense and destroy the future of the team financially to win today, some thing has to give. Remember, Murphy, TT and MM are custodians of the franchise, not owners. They have a responsibility to keep the team viable for the future. An individual owner like Jerry Jones or Al Davis (while alive) can squander their money on bad decisions all they like and now we see the results, especially in Oakland. What would your posts be like if the Packers became Oakland or Jacksonville? As for your other comments, it’s interesting to me that you can insult all the other fans here with your “malt liquor” comments every day because we may not agree with you or complain about our team as you do but when you get some back your comments become even more juvenile. You can dish it out but you can’t take it. If that’s what you call having a pair, well too bad. Moving on now. Thanks, Since ’61

              1. Big T – I appreciate and respect that you are a realist. Believe it or not I am also. I realize that it will be difficult to win an SB with our inconsistent OL and our weak DL. But once we’re in the playoffs anything can happen especially if we get hot as in 2010. That’s why we watch sports, because anything can happen. We usually differ about MM and TT and that’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion as much as anyone else here. However, because I usually support them it does not mean that I am not disappointed about not winning more SBs with Rodgers or that I agree with or that I am happy with every decision they make. When I judge their performance I take more into account than just winning SBs. Draft position, use of salary cap money, keeping the franchise sound financially, player development, staff members hired away by other teams, all these factors and more contribute to the big picture along with on field results. Compare MM and TT to other GM and HC combos and the Packers are in good shape. Think of how many GMs and HCs have come and gone around the league since 2006. MM has integrity, believes in his players and his program and is proud of the Packers tradition. We’re fortunate to have him. TT is a politician but he surrounds himself with good people and they have made good decisions for the franchise. For better or for worse they will be leading this parade for a while longer and life is too short to angry or upset about it. Thanks, Since ’61

  7. Any Given Sunday and the Green Bay Packers.

    The “Any Given Sunday” saying and we are witness to it each and every week and yesterday was no different,and it isn’t exclusive to only those that pulled out the win as a couple of teams seemed to move forward via a loss.

    The Packers IMO,are a team that rely on that Any Given Sunday mantra in wait of an opponent that doesn’t qualify as being one to boast that very thinking after the win.

    A victory over the Bears this coming Sunday,who have literally and physically dived off the proverbial cliff,will have the kool-aid being poured as if the Hoover Dam had burst open.

    But what of the now led Mark Sanchez Eagles’?
    What will be said if our defense allows Sanchez to look resurrected?

    Our second half season schedule offered us two games in which the slogan of fame could rightfully be exclaimed because of likely being a home underdog.With the loss of Foles’ for the Eagles and them being led now by Mark Sanchez,that would leave but one against the Patriots based on the point spread being altered via Sanchez at the helm.

    Now,the rest of the schedule in all thinking,should now garner a 7-1 record,but we are more likely to be on the other side of that slogan ‘Any Given Sunday’ to our dismay against more than should be, as they will simply play harder then we do.

    ‘Any Given Sunday’,a motto in which the Packers feel compelled to aid another in achieving. 🙂

    1. Any given Sunday, provided our opponent does not have a winning record. I count 4 winning records ahead. Does that mean 9-7? Most likely. It will likely take 11 wins to make NFC play-offs this year. Pack would need to go 2-2 vs 2nd 1/2 teams with winning records, assuming they beat the 4 losing records. I don’t think 11 wins is in our future. Hence I see no playoffs this year. Does that both the kool-aid drinkers? I don’t think so. They are willing to wait forever, rather than change horses. You know what Einstein says about insanity……

      1. 8-8 is still not technically a losing record and that is enough for the malt liquor fan club. The way I see it the only way TT or MM are leaving will be on there terms. They will just keep giving themselves big fat raises until they die or just walk away. The malt liquor will continue to flow freely…

    2. “A victory over the Bears this coming Sunday,who have literally and physically dived off the proverbial cliff,will have the kool-aid being poured as if the Hoover Dam had burst open.”

      With this Packer team, every week is an adventure. The Bears might be a mess (which many were saying about the Saints before last Sunday), but they have all they need to beat the Packers: Matt Forte. If Marc Trestman is dumb enough to not feed him the ball until his legs fall off, the Bears deserve to be at the bottom of the division.

  8. We all expected the DTs and ILBs to suck. It is what it is and barring a young guy or two in those critical positions coming out of nowhere (think Raji and Bishop in 2010), Yoop is right. This is not a SB winning team.

    But what puzzles me is the OL play. It was SO much better running the ball last year. And even a slowed Bulaga is better than Barclay. Linsley is better than EDS ever was already. WHY aren’t we putting up 40 burgers and springing Lacy against 7 man boxes all over the place every game?? The offense SHOULD be able to keep the defense off the field more than it has been…

    1. To me the run blocking just isn’t there this year. Lacy is the kind of runner that needs to get going to be effective. He has had nowhere to run this year. I think throwing him short passes is the way to go. He is a load in space.

      1. Whether it’s because the blocking has been sub-par in the middle or because of Lacy thinking he can bounce stuff outside, either way he’s been running sideline-to-sideline way too much over the course of the first half of the season and not between the tackles enough. He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to beat LB’s to the corner on a regular basis.

        On the plus side: the Packers will be seeing more bottom half defenses and below average front 7’s over their final 8 games than they did in the first half…which should translate favorably for Lacy.

  9. GB banked heavily on Daniels and Datone developing into above average DEs. Instead, notwithstanding PFF grades, Daniels is about average and Datone is a one dimensional rush the passer type. Boyd is JAG whose best attribute is against the run, where he is just okay. Then we lost Raji (I did not believe in Raji) and that left only Guion who is accurately described as a decent rotational player, and Pennel. I wanted TT to sign Paul Soliai or someone who could FIX the NT spot, but he went cheap with Raji. I don’t want to re-sign Raji unless we’re talking $2 million for 1 year or less. I think in the big playoff games we will see Peppers full time at DE.

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