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Football Outsiders on the Offensive Line

I asked Bill Barnwell at Football Outsiders 5 questions based on the chapter on the Green Bay Packers in their Football Outsiders Almanac 2009, which is one of the many great publications they have available for the upcoming season.

My second question: The outlook on the offensive line isn't rosy, and a marked change from your 2008 book when generally good things were said. The biggest drop is in sack rank from No. 1 in 2007 to No. 14 in 2008. A big reason for that drop was the struggles of LT Chad Clifton. He missed only one game, but played hurt for most of the season and had four separate surgeries during the offseason. At age 32, entering his 10th season, how realistic is it that he'll rebound in 2009 and improve the team's sack rate?

I'm pretty sure Chad just got all those surgeries so he could finally finish one of those surgery punch cards, where you get 10 surgeries and the next one's free.

In all seriousness, I don't think we can safely say one way or another which Chad Clifton to expect in 2009. He allowed just about a league average number of sacks (5.5) for a left tackle, but Daryn Colledge's 4.5 sacks allowed at guard probably had something to do with giving Clifton a little more help than normal. 

One of the other factors you have to consider is that the quarterback does have a say in sack rate. For all the bad blood surrounding Brett Favre and inflated opinions of his performance, the man was a fantastic pocket passer; he had economical footwork in the pocket, using one step to get away from trouble when other guys would take three or four (and get sacked in the process). That's something that comes with experience, and something Aaron Rodgers hasn't mastered yet.