Offensive line in shambles

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I might as well have titled this ‘winters can be cold in Wisconsin’. It’s obvious. This line is weak. But I am beginning to be worried that our drafting and coaching of O-Linemen is a real problem. The players we’ve drafted aren’t good enough and the coaching and perhaps the scheme on offense is simply poor. Last year the O-line didn’t get much attention for being average (if that) because there were other areas we were focused on.

Among other things, I continue to be bothered by the shuffling of positions when there are injuries. We should have back-up players who are back-ups for certain positions and when there are injuries, they should come in. Even if that means bringing in a rookie with limited experience, I would think he’d be better off because he would have been practicing at that position and he would know the plays for that position. For example, when Darren Colledge was moved to left tackle, he doesn’t practice that position much and doesn’t know the plays from that position – and he’s not that good to begin with. Now, perhaps in defense of McCarthy, I”m not sure exactly who was active and who else could have come in. But something just doesn’t feel right re the O-Line. Perhaps O-Line coach James Campen ought to be let go – the line under him hasn’t been good for a while (2007 sort of excepted).

But one other thing I’ve been wondering about is the scheme. Are we still doing zone blocking or has it evolved into a hybrid scheme? Either way, it hasn’t been working well for a while now. I’m not sure what happened between preseason and the real season, but the line needs a lot of work. While it may not help overall, I almost wonder if we should be thinking about trading someone for a decent lineman we can count on. And, I am on board with all those wanting us to sign Tauscher again. A hobbled and barely mobile Tauscher is better than what we have now.

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13 Responses to “Offensive line in shambles”

  1. DaveK Says:

    The line could cost us this season and if it ends up getting Rodgers hurt it may end up costing TT his job. No way he survives another season if Rodgers goes down and if the Packers end up 6-10 again or worse.

    MM’s ‘genius’ offensive mind needs to find a way to win despite the below average line play and they need to go down to St. Louis and right the ship. I can’t imagine though how they go to MN and stop Allen and the William’s wall with this line. It could be a very long day in the Dome for the offense.

  2. J.S. Says:

    “But one other thing I’ve been wondering about is the scheme. Are we still doing zone blocking or has it evolved into a hybrid scheme? Either way, it hasn’t been working well for a while now. I’m not sure what happened between preseason and the real season, but the line needs a lot of work.”

    I will tell you what happened. In preseason, the speed and intensity are way less. Once the “real” games start, the speed seems to overwhelm this Packer line (for the 4th straight year). This mess is COMPLETELY on TT.

  3. bob schnell Says:

    Hi Andy,

    I share your concerns about the offensive line. It has been a sore spot for two years. What makes me so disappointed in the Packers is how they could of made a determination, going into the season, that what they had was adequate? In addition, there has been very little growth in the offensive line’s personnel skills, the last couple years. In the field of education, if one student is doing poorly, then, perhaps the student has a problem that he/she needs to address. However, if the whole class is showing no growth, that falls on the teacher(s) and to a certain extent, on the Principal and the school district at large. I think the same is true for the Packers. I wonder how creative MM’s
    game plans actually are. It seems to me that he is not surprising any of our opponents, last year or this year. If things don’t go well in the first half, how often do the adjustments MM makes at half-time really make a difference. Furthermore, I can’t really say I have ever seen him make an in-game, mid-quarter adjustment, for example, going to a hurry-up offensive style of attack in an effort to pick-up the tempo and change the momentum of a game, like some other teams do at times, when things are not going as planned. MM, to me, seems to stick with whatever the game plan is, throughout the entire game. Sure, he can and does make some subtle adjustments at the half-time, especially in games that are not going well. But, these adjustments, again to me, seem conservative and on the weak-side. I think MM and TT also need to think about getting a running back with some speed and moves as well. Grant, much like his head coach, reflects an ability that appears stodgy and predictable. In short, I am tired of having just big back north and south runners. In the next draft, a swift shake and bake kind of back should be a very high priority.

    Andy, if you allow me to digress one final moment, I would like to comment on the grand unveiling of the Dallas Cowboys new stadium. First, please know I am an old timer at 57 years of age, and I have watched the Packers and pro football evolve for the last 50 years. I have seen many changes in the game and the players as the popularity of the sport has risen. In my view, seeing this new Cowboy stadium, to me it looks like a gigantic cow palace of cement and neon. It is gives new meaning to the term ostentatious. Jerry Jones looked like some sort of modern day emperor sitting on a humungous cement throne. I am told the the building cost about 1.2 billion dollars. What a tremendous waste of assets! Plus, at the cost of looking ridiculous. Sure, it is Mr. Joneses’ money and he can do what he likes with his money, and sure pro football and the cowboys are a business first and foremost. However, none of this can over score the obvious, in my opinion, sublime ridiculousness of this mega stadium. In the end it is still just a football stadium! I have been told that land in Texas, even land in Dallas is surprisingly modest in price when compared to other large cities, so Jerry does not have this excuse, that the land has driven up the total price. Furthermore, having the world’s largest plasma screen hanging down from the roof much like some sort of swollen video albatross, as a metaphor for the true end of pro football, is seems only appropriate. Think, what could have done with even half of that money to help others in need. Mr. Jones could have, I am certain, built an exceptional stadium for say 500 million or less. All hail Caesar!

    Bob

    P.S. Sorry about the vent. Take care, Andy!

  4. awhayes Says:

    JS, DaveK and Bob – all quality points. JS – I agree, our line looks much slower than the opposing defensive lines. That’s a problem. And Bob, I have to admit, I am wondering about McCarthy’s creativity too. I don’t know if the players (the o-line) and their collective lack of execution seriously interfere with his ability to call a variety of plays or if McCarthy may in fact, just not be that creative playcall wise. Either way, it’s a concern – perhaps my opinion of McCarthy being creative stems mostly from the fact that he had new/fresh ideas his first couple years (but maybe by now, defenses have had some time to study his tendencies).

    But the other point Bob, that I like that you made concerns McCarthy’s in-game decision making. I pegged McCarthy as a decent in-game coach after the 2007 season. But now I’m not so sure.

    Still, I’m not ready to jump ship and my hope is that Capers and McCarthy can work together to get this back on track – we’ll see.

  5. 56Coop Says:

    Bob-I totally agree with the fact that the fault appears to be on coaching & front office. This team has way too much talent to be mediocre. I would say that part of our lack of running game is due to the offensive line but another factor is Grant can’t seem to get past 5 yards. He seems to have lost his ability to make people miss. Either that or our offense is so predicatable that the defense just knows where to be.

    Speaking of defense, ours seems to be rather pourous. If it weren’t for Woodson yesterday I’m afraid we would have witnessed a blowout. Not very happy with linebacker playing. After watching Chicago play the Steelers yesterday I’m beginning to wonder if week 1 was a fluke. This is shaping up to be another long season. I know all about the “on any given Sunday” thing but I’m wondering if this might be the beginning of the end to the TT and/or MM era. I know it’s only 2 weeks in the season but after last season it does not appear the Packer’s tendancies are to improve–more like stay the course..and that ain’t cuttin it.

  6. Jeff Baumann Says:

    Bob,

    I think it’s important to note (according to Wikipedia) that Jerry Jones used almost $933 million of bonds from the city of Arlington to fund the stadium. The city raised the sales tax, added a hotel and car rental tax to help pay for the stadium. He also received $150 million from the NFL. The NFL assists teams with stadium financing.

    Do I hear another “Hail Ceasar”?

    Jeff

  7. Ron La Canne Says:

    TT’s O line philosophy is simple, pay minimum salary to any big fat schlub and he will be a star, God forbid, you actually have to pay for talent. As bad as this stinking group is, TT will not give Tauscher a call. He likes the $4 or $5 million he puts in Retainded Earnings. If you want a good cry just read the Packer Oline depth chart. They carry one replacement tackle who hasn’t been active for the first two games and two Rookie Guards. Oh and a jouneyman Center who is now a starter again. Next year Clifton and Wells will be gone and then what will they have.

    The four LB’s need some changes. Poppinga, Hawk and Barnett have all earned bench time for their poor play. Get Bishop on the field, at least then GB would have someone who isn’t afraid to hit someone.

  8. Ron La Canne Says:

    Question:
    (You said the protection is affecting your play-calling. Back in 06 you used a lot of seven-man protections, and then in 07 you opened up more. Do you have to dial back now what you’d like to call?)
    MM:
    The reality is the plays that we’ve had the problems on are the plays we used back then. The quarterback never was hit in those protections two years ago like he’s been hit the first two weeks. They’re fundamental, one-on-one, individual opportunities that’s happened. We’ll look to do some things to help that type of situation. But our quarterback has never been hit like Aaron’s been hit these last two weeks in that particular protection.

    Does this answer bother anyone but me? He is basically saying that his players can’t win the individual battles. Can that mean MM and TT have picked the wrong damned players? Yes, I think so.

  9. 56Coop Says:

    Kinda buffaloed me when I read it also Ron. Last year it was pad levels, this year it’s fundamentals–but don’t worry, we’ll get it fixed–right. Appears the Bills just picked up our 5th round draft pick from our practice squad, Jamon Merewether–Tackle/Guard. I’m assuming MM & TT had already decided he was no good, however, I’m beginning to wonder if assuming anything at thispoint is the right thiing to do. Just seems funny to me, thought enough of him to sign him to practice squad but even though our line is starting to get a little thin you just let jim go to the Bills. God I hope we blow out the Rams next week.

  10. 56Coop Says:

    My bad-thats Jamon Meredith.

  11. Ron La Canne Says:

    56, I’m beginning to feel like Lindy Infante is coaching again and Scoter McClean has been made the GM. How is it possible that TT or MM could look at their O line depth chart on opening day and not say we need to get some one on the roster fast. No, TT was just so excited that once Clifton was gone it would the cheapest line in the NFL.

  12. 56Coop Says:

    God, Lindy Infante–I was at a Falcons Packers game in Atlanta in 91. His last year I think and we had Majik & Mandarich. Packers came out to like a 28-0 lead. Totally blew it in the last qtr. lost like 37-31. Some little kid about 4-5 years old was at his first game with his father sitting in front of us. He turned around and looked at me and said “You’re team stinks”. Scared his father to death thinking I was going to beat the crap out him (one of the few situations like that where I had an obvious size advantage). I looked at the kid & said, “They sure do son, they sure do. Hopefully, we’re not headed back those years of mediocrity.

  13. Ron La Canne Says:

    Good control! Not sure why this is happening to the team, but it ain’t anything new. This goes back to last year – Game two against the Lions where GB almost became the Lions only victory. Both lines are not perfoming and MM had better well get it fixed this week. No more excuses.

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