Monday, July 20, 2015

Pre-Camp Breakdown: Now Introducing the Packers Offensive Linemen

Compiled and Written By: Todd Stelzel, PackerToddsnEnds

This year the Green Bay Packers return intact an offensive line that was one of the better lines in the NFL last year.  Bryan Bulaga resigned with the team and that all but solidified the fortress that surrounded and protected Aaron Rodgers on pass plays and Eddie Lacy during run plays last year. Like last year the Packers will score a ton of points.  Like last year Eddie Lacy will rush for 1,100 yards and become just the 3rd running back in Packers history to do so.

The Studs: #75 Bryan Bulaga, #70 TJ Lang, #63 Corey Linsley, #71 Josh Sitton and #69 David Bakhtiari
The starters on the offensive line for the Packers are set.  # 63 Corey Linsley will start at center.  If he plays like he did last year...he will go to the Pro-Bowl.  The two guards will be # 71 Josh Sitton and #70 TJ Lang.  They pull very well and are two of the best when zone blocking and pass protecting. Sitton will be a Pro-Bowl player in 2015. Lang will be an alternate.  The two tackles are the bookends of the unit.  #69 David Bakhtiari and #75 Bryan Bulaga are two of the best in the business. Both are valuable and they protect Aaron's blind side very well.  So the line is set...but what about the back ups?

I'm predicting the Green Bay Packers will carry no more than eight offensive linemen this year on the squad.  Therefore, given the five starters the lucky other three will be #67 Don Barclay, #73 JC Tretter and #74 Mark Rotheram.  All three of these players bring versatility to the unit.

#67 Don Barclay, Tackle/Guard
# 67 Don Barclay will be the Packers best sixth man coming off the bench should any of the studs up front get hurt during a game.  In fact, last year Barclay himself was injured with a torn ACL, but is expected to make a full recovery.  During OTA's in June he showed the coaching staff that he lost no movement laterally and was more powerful in the legs than the previous season.  Packers fans should be excited about his return to the team.  He can play both tackle and guard positions.

#73 JC Tretter, Center
#73 JC Tretter will be the Packers back up center.  Interesting to note, Tretter was the starting center last year to begin the season, but lost his job to Corey Linsley when he got hurt.  Linsely never looked backed and just dominated interior "D" linemen.  Garth Gerhardt will push Tretter big time for the second spot, but will come up short and will make the squad as a practice player, should he clear waivers.  Tretter has experience at both the center and guard positions, but is a true center all the way and will only be used in that role.

#74 Mark Rotheram, Guard/Tackle
#74 Mark Rotheram will virtually be pushed by every other linemen in camp.  However, in the end he will prevail.  Rotheram is a very athletic player for a guy his size.  He is 6'-5" and 325 pounds, strong upper body and powerful legs.  He uses his hips very well when run blocking and his explosive take off allows him to get to the 2nd tier and blast linebackers out of the way for Eddie Lacy.
#76 Villanova Tackle Vince Kowalski, #50 for Packers
Finally, every year I like to pick a dark horse.  A linemen who seems to have a very good chance, but is relatively unknown.  My dark horse this year is #50 Vince Kowalski.  Vince is 6'-4' and weighs 305 lbs.  He played both right and left tackle at Nova.  Should Barclay go down again and a few other tackles slip up...Kowalski is the man!

Next time the Packers defensive players will be introduced.  Until then...#GoPackGo!

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