Is evaluating offensive line talent a Ted Thompson weakness?

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So far, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say TT has made mostly high quality GM moves. Mike McCarthy, Jennings, Grant, Rodgers, Woodson, Crosby, Tramon, Blackmon, Pickett, James Jones, Bigby – quite a list of really important coaches/players he is responsible for bringing to Green Bay. While his handling of the Favre situation still irks a good many and the Harrell pick appears to be a poor one, for the most part, this guy has done a good job overall as the GM.

One thing I wonder about, however, is whether or not TT’s keen evaluative skills include an ability to judge offensive linemen. When he arrived, he opted not to re-sign Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera. Probably should have re-signed Wahle at that time. The result in his first couple of years was a weak offensive line. So, like he does with most positions, he tried to build through the draft. He’s selected Will Whitticker, Junius Coston, Colledge, Moll, Spitz, Barbre, Sitton and Giacomini. (Wells was a 2004 pick, I too thought he was 2005…) Of this group, only Spitz and Sitton to a lesser extent have received some positive feedback from scouts and those in the O-Line know. Colledge continues to disappoint, Moll is a penalty machine and Barbre hasn’t put it together yet.

Since TT took over, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the O-Line has been one area that has been inconsistent and below average. Only last year, for about 9 games, was the line pretty good. I don’t know if it fair to pin all of this on TT though – coaching, injuries and the scheme may be factors here too. I think the question may in fact be: is the consistency not there yet because players keep shuffling in and out due to MM, injuries and/or the scheme or is it not there yet because there are simply poor quality players shuffling in and out? Either way, this is an area that needs to improve if the team plans to balance their offensive attack with a more present running game. Perhaps TT might consider making a splash in free agency for a big-time O-lineman, we’ll see.

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5 Responses to “Is evaluating offensive line talent a Ted Thompson weakness?”

  1. daveK Says:

    Absolutely it has been a weakness. I am guessing he would even admit that. I am as big TT supporter as there is but he has been unable to find two above average guards since he has been here and he has tried in FA and the draft. None of them have really panned out. I am not sure what happens if Clifton or Tauscher ever goes down. Has he found capable backups for them? He has hit on almost every position but only provided barely adequate guards for the offense line. I thought Faneca would have been a good pick up. Not sure how he is doing for the Jets this year though. (anyone have an opinion on that?) I thought that Faneca and Spitz at the guards with Wells in the middle would have been a much improved interior of the line.

  2. Scott W Says:

    TT is drafting to the scheme. He’s picking undersized, athletic guys who can (theoretically) perform well in a zone blocking scheme. What I’m unsure about, is how often is that scheme employed at the college level? If it’s not used in college much, you really don’t have a decent benchmark as to how that guy will perform in that scheme.

  3. scott in wisconsin Says:

    But don’t forget, Marco burned out 15 months later. Even Tausher seems like he’s getting slower/older. This is going to be a real issue. sooner rather than later.

  4. daveK Says:

    I think this is the challenge for the Packers in the next few years. Four real important positions (RT, LT, both starting CB’s) all are currently occupied by really good but aging players. Can Thompson replace Tauscher, Clifton, Woodson, and Harris in the next 1-3 years with compariable players as we lose these players to injury and/or age? The Packers ability to compete for a Superbowl will largely depend on Thompson’s ability to replace those four players.

  5. One year anniversary of offensive line post « packergeeks Says:

    […] of offensive line post By awhayes Almost exactly one year ago (Sept 24, 2008), I wrote this post. Interesting to me that it still seems to apply 1 year later. Again, even allowing for the […]

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