Leading The Way: The Packers Offensive Line

It was a pretty impressive start for the Green Bay Packers offensive line against the Saints. It wasn't the greatest test, the Saints defensive line was decidedly average last season, but they had made two big signings in free agency: DT Shaun Rogers and DT Aubrayo Franklin. Unfortunately for the Saints, Franklin sprained his MCL during the preseason, and he didn't look 100% against the Packers. Rogers doesn't look anything like the dominant player he was three seasons ago.

I was focused on T.J. Lang in his first 2011 start as the new full-time left guard, and I was pretty impressed. I think I recall one pressure he gave up, but he did a good job of getting up into the second level to block a linebacker or defensive back on rushing downs. 

Pro Football Focus was very impressed with RG Josh Sitton and RT Bryan Bulaga, and gave both players All-PFF team honors for the week. It wasn't until late in the game when I realized I hadn't noticed Bulaga. He'd just been doing his job, and I'm more likely to notice an offensive lineman if there is a mistake.

I thought the most impressive lineman was C Scott Wells, who was given nearly as high marks by Pro Football Focus as Sitton and Bulaga. I remember one play where he threw Franklin aside and opened up the middle of the field on a run play.

It will be a similar situation next week against the Panthers as it was against the Saints. Both teams play in a 4-3 scheme, and are slightly undersized in the front seven because they're built for speed. But the Saints don't have a pass rushing defensive lineman like Panthers DE Charles Johnson. The Packers will match-up very well against the Panthers if they play with good technique and maintain their blocking lanes and assignments, which will probably be where the Panthers try to attack with stunts and blitzes.

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