T.J. Lang 2014 Report Card – Packers Player Grades

Green Bay Packers Report Cards, Player Grades
Packers OL T.J. Lang

1) Introduction: T.J. Lang is perhaps one of the most unknown and under-appreciated offensive linemen in the NFL when using his performance as the metric. With this being his second season as the starting right guard (he previously started at left guard from 2011-2012), it was his best season as a professional. He has a vicious mean streak and likes to maul opponents at the point of attack. Grading Lang is a bit of challenge because the eye ball test suggests fellow guard Josh Sitton is the better player, but Lang graded out higher than Sitton (Pro Football Focus grades of 23.1 for Lang and 22.7 for Sitton). However, no one can refute that Lang and Sitton make up one of the best guard tandems in the league.

2) Profile:

T.J. Lang

  • Age: 27
  • Born: 9/20/1987 in Royal Oak, MI
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 318
  • College: Eastern Michigan
  • Rookie Year: 2009
  • NFL Experience: 6 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Lang was expected to continue his growth at right guard after being switched from left guard before the 2013 season. With the center position in flux yet again following the 2013 season, there was preseason talk of potentially converting and developing Lang into the starting center. He said he preferred to not make that change and felt more comfortable at guard. As such, he was expected to be the leader on the right side of the offensive line to help groom the new centers of J.C. Tretter and Corey Linsley and get right tackle Bryan Bulaga up to speed after he missed all of 2013 with a torn ACL.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: His worst game by far was the season opener against Seattle when he earned a Pro Football Focus grade of -3.9. At midseason, Lang left the game against New Orleans with a severely sprained ankle.  Luckily, he was able to avoid surgery and continued to start the rest of the season. He was hobbled, and missed practice time to aid in recovery, but still had a very effective season. His other negatives were he was called for two holding penalties and yielded two quarterback sacks during the regular season. He was also called for a personal foul for a scuffle during the Divisional Playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys while he was defending Davante Adams, which would be considered as a positive in a certain light. Another negative, which occurred off the field, was he engaged in a Twitter battle with disgruntled fans after the disappointing loss to New Orleans. The entire offensive line struggled in the red zone at various points in the season, and most notably on the goal line against the Detroit Lions in the regular season finale and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. Overall, he a very good season and had the highest Pro Football Focus grade off all the Packers offensive linemen (23.1).

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: The Packers have one of the best guard tandems in the NFL in both Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang. The 2014 season showcased the best Packers offensive line we’ve seen in several years, and Lang was certainly a big part of that. He brought anger to the position and wasn’t afraid of mixing it up with opponents after the whistle. The 2014 season also marked a transition in Lang’s leadership with the team. Aaron Rodgers publicly praised Lang’s new-found vocal leadership both on the field and in the locker room. He greatly helped with the center transition and re-acclimation of Bryan Bulaga, was excellent in run blocking, and did everything he could to keep Aaron Rodgers upright this season. His blocking helped running back Eddie Lacy finish with his second consecutive 1100+ yard season.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Lang will mostly be remembered for his personal foul against the Cowboys and the red zone and goal line woes against the Seahawks despite yielding no sacks during the playoffs. Seattle appears to be Lang’s kryptonite and Pro Football Focus graded his NFC Championship performance as -2.8. It was not a particularly good game for Lang.

7) Intangibles: He has a temper and plays angry. He also isn’t afraid to mix things up on Twitter.

Season Report Card (Player Grades):

(A) Level of expectations met during the season.

(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(C+) Contributions to team during the playoffs.

Overall Grade: A-


Jay Hodgson is an independent sports blogger writing for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WISports.com.

Follow Jay on twitter at @jys_h.


6 thoughts on “T.J. Lang 2014 Report Card – Packers Player Grades

  1. Michael Bennett has a tendency to have that effect on RG’s. Looks like Opie, plays like McQueen.

  2. Agree with the comments and grades. Agree with Savage57 that Michael Bennett does tend to affect RGs negatively. Bennett had 7 sacks and 11 run stuffs during the season, and 2 more run stuffs during the NFC championship game against us. Different scheme, but pretty indicative. In terms of run stuffs, Guion had 4, Boyd (part time) had 3, Datone had 2, and Daniels had 3, Pennel 1 for a total of 12. Bennett’s 2 run stuffs in the playoffs against GB are 2 more than GB had in the postseason, too. GB LBs had 21 stuffs, and 2 more in the postseason. Seattle’s LBs had 22 stuffs, 0 in postseason. Gotta look at a DL or ILB in the draft for us.

    A little off topic, but I thought I understood why GB was not so good in the past picking up 4th and 1s back in the days of EDS/Wells, Spitz/College, Clifton and Tauscher. I don’t understand the problem with current personnel. Sitton, Linsley, Lang and Bulaga are all strong, good run blockers. Kuhn is still an effective lead blocker, and Lacy can be a beast. Maybe the stats don’t bear out my pessimism, but I always figure we have a better chance of getting a TD if, say, Nelson gets tackled at the 13 instead of the 7 yard line.

    1. I think the stats bear out your observation, and we are even better at getting TDs from outside the 20.

      The issue (IMO) is that we depend on WRs to stretch the field and then run around to create passing lanes when AR extends the play. It’s a lot easier for defenses to limit those opportunities when the the number of downfield yards gets lower.

      So against GB on the goal line teams know they can load up against the inside runs, and still have a chance to cover the receivers on a short field. Jordy and Cobb can get separation, but not so much the other WRs or TEs (This is why getting a TE like Richard Rodgers was more important that picking up a direct replacement for Finley. But Rodgers needs another offseason to fully develop his upper body strength and technique.)

      Really successful run teams force defenses to play against the run from sideline to sideline — a good outside run will stretch the D and provide good matchups for the next inside power run. Even with Lacy not being the niftiest outside guy, I think we have better personnel for that now, but really haven’t added that kind of variety in running plays on a consistent basis. To some extent, relying on Starks for the outside runs telegraphs the plays.

      I’m looking for that variety and better separation from the TEs next year. I think they need to draft another TE (Quarless should be gone after next season) and for Abby, Janis, or a new draft pick at WR to provide some more guys who can get separation in the short field passing game. Another decent RB (Starks will be 30 and a UFA after next year) wouldn’t be bad either.

      1. I agree. Bulaga’s run blocking grade from PFF of +0.3 was not as good as I thought it would be. So one problem might be that our LT is not a good run blocker, and our RT is average. That makes running wide to either side harder. Regarding Quarless, he is fine as a #3 TE. His contract calls for $1.75 million cap, which to me is fine for a #3. We just don’t have anyone else. I would have to agree that he makes more mistakes (some on STs) than one would expect from a veteran player. RR would be fine as a #2, assuming he continues to improve as a run blocker (and he’s got a ways to go there).

  3. Agree with grades and comments. With Sitton, Lang and now Linsley the middle of our OL is set for the next several seasons. We need to get better at OT, especially, LT to have a truly dominant OL. I hope that the addition of Solari to the OL coaching staff can help with that and with our current personnel since we can’t expect to pick up a top tier OT at our draft position. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  4. Finally a grade that I can agree with. Lang has finally put together a season of consistency. Last season Lang would have an exceptional block followed by a head scratcher play. The main reason Lang moved to RG was the weaksiden3 tech (like Michael Brockers) was killing McCarthy and the payoff has been tremendous. Put Lang on a slower bigger guy on Lang and put Sitton (your best O lineman) on the most athletic DT on the field.
    Lang will never be Josh Sitton good, but he is as good a RG Green Bay needs.
    Lang is so good sometimes you forget the other team has a DT. I hope Lang can continue to progress and become a perennial pro bowler.

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