Power Play: Pack Makes A Line Shift

Consider the Marshall Newhouse experiment over. The Packers are completing an offensive line makeover and it's likely that Newhouse will be on the outside looking in. That's a good thing. The promise he showed in '11 disappeared in '12, and the team is moving on.

The Packers believe that Bryan Bulaga will be able to move seamlessly to left tackle, despite not having the prototypical left tackle body (short arms). The good news is they must believe he has fully healed from the hip injury and is ready to step right in and protect their most valuable asset. Bringing Josh Sitton over to assist on the left side will certainly help.

When Ted Thompson drafted Derek Sherrod a couple of years ago, he hoped he'd step right in to replace a soon to be retired Chad Clifton. But injuries have kept him stuck in neutral and the team decided it can't wait for him any longer. If and when he's able to walk without a limp and try to play football, he'll compete for the right tackle job which right now is an open competition between him, Newhouse, Don Barclay and rookie David Bakhtiari. My guess is Barclay wins the job.

TJ Lang will slide from the left to the right side, which shouldn't be a major transition for a guy who played almost a quarter of the season at right tackle when Bulaga first went down, while dealing with his own elbow and arm injuries. As a beefier guard than Sitton, he'll be more concerned with run blocking on that side, while letting the nimbler Sitton deal with the stunts and blitzes that will come from elite pass rushers on his new side.

I like the move. The Packers are moving their two best linemen to the left side to give Aaron Rodgers more protection on his blind side. As mobile as Rodgers is, he doesn't necessarily need Joe Thomas over there. But a chance to remain in the pocket a bit more often and a few extra fractions of a second could be all he needs to take the passing game to another level.


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