With one preseason game to go, the Green Bay Packers' offensive line is looking to be more defined. The Packers got an early start to making their depth chart by reaching injury settlements with Matt Rotheram and Josh James. Those were easy decisions, as I think the Packers have their top 10 players chosen. The question is going to come down to if they keep eight or nine up front. With Corey Linsley most likely starting the season on the PUP list, I think they go nine just as an insurance policy. This will make someone expendable when, or even if, Linsley gets over his hamstring injury, but it’s a necessary player to have. Let’s take a closer look at whom the Packers have left to choose from.
LT: David Bahktiari LG: Josh Sitton C: JC Tretter RG: TJ Lang RT: Bryan Bulaga
When Mike McCarthy announced that JC Tretter was going to start the season at center, the starting group was solidified. This is a veteran group that has had a very good preseason. During the game against the 49ers, they struggled in the first drive with penalties and getting movement off the ball, but they came back with an excellent second drive. Their second drive ended with Aaron Rodgers finding Randall Cobb for a 6-yard touchdown catch but the most impressive stats were that the drive lasted 14 plays, went 87 yards (nine rushes for 49 yards), and took 7:53 off the game clock. This wasn’t the first long drive of the preseason and if it becomes a regular occurrence during the season, the offense will be wear down defenses and be difficult to stop.
SAFE TO MAKE THE TEAM
T: Jason Spriggs Utility: Don Barclay
The Packers used a second-round pick on Spriggs so he’s not going anywhere. He has struggled at times with the speed and strength of the game and he played the second half in San Francisco with a club on his hand, but overallhe has done well for a rookie asked to play left tackle. A year learning and playing behind Bahktiari and Bulaga will do him wonders and he will be a solid player in the future if the Packers need him.
I have not been the biggest fan of Don Barclay but he should make the team as the backup center and be used in a utility role. I thought after his game against the Browns he was an easy candidate for the chopping block, but with the severity of the Linsley injury and the fact the Packers did not use anyone else as a center this preseason, he’s a safe bet to stick around, at least until Linsley is 100 percent.
HANGING IN THERE
T: Kyle Murphy G: Lucas Patrick G: Lane Taylor G/T: Josh Walker
I think Kyle Murphy is right on the edge of safe to make the team but I couldn’t put him there yet. He played very well against the Raiders but struggled with the speed of the 49ers. That, along with missing the first game due to injury, makes the Packers still want to see a little more from him. If he comes up a little short, he definitely would get invited onto the practice squad but I wouldn’t be surprised if another team eventually signs him to their 53-man roster.
I think Lane Taylor or Josh Walker make the team but not both. They both have not stood out during the preseason and are in a heated battle for a backup spot. The case for Taylor is that he is getting all the reps with the second group and he has that mean and hard-nosed attitude you need from interior lineman. As for Walker, he is versatile by playing both guard and tackle and got plenty of experience during the regular season last year. Walker’s one handicap is that he has not getting a lot of time right now. You need reps to make the team so it will be interesting to see what the Packers choose.
Lucas Patrick is hanging on but by a thread right now. He has been solid during the preseason and has gotten a lot of playing time. Putting him in with the second group shows that the Packers think highly of the undrafted rookie. However, the Packers have a good veteran presence and two drafted rookies that the Packers won’t want to waste. He’s definitely a practice squad player and will be apart of the Packers this season in some capacity.
GOOD AS GONE
C: Jacob Flores C: Kyle Steuck
You need to get some playing time to make the team and Flores and Steuck haven’t been in a game yet. They may fit into the Packers practice squad plan but it’s hard to judge what they can bring to the table.
Tuesday is the first cut down day when the rosters have to be at 75 players. It will be interesting to see who sticks around for the final preseason game against Kansas City. Stayed tuned to APC for all transactions as they happen.