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Lambeau Leap of Faith


August 27, 2010 12:23 PM

Five Predictions for the Green Bay Packers Offensive Line

Earlier this summer, I began a position prediction series with the quarterback position. Then actual news started happening, and it was put on hold. While real news is still happening, my intention has always been to finish this series, so I resume it with the single most important unit on any football team, the offensive line.

As we saw last season, no matter how good your quarterback is (and only Payton Manning, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers have been better over the two seasons Aaron Rodgers has been a starter), if your line play is poor your offense will struggle. NFL teams in general score touchdowns on fewer than 10 percent of drives in which they incur a sack; the Packers specifically did it just once last season.

2179860358_cc697028c2.jpgWhile starting tackles Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton were absent and limited respectfully last season, Green Bay yielded 32 sacks in 8 games; when they were healthy, the line gave up just 19 more. They are both healthy for the start of the season, and better play out of this unit has been seen thus far in the preseason; as a result, Rodgers has completed over 75 percent of his passes and not thrown a pick.

On the other hand, the line looked good last preseason, too. With that in mind, I offer five predictions for this unit in 2010:
  1. At some point, Chad Clifton will miss time and Bulaga or Tauscher will have to play out of position. Cliffy has battled injuries every season since Warren Sapp leveled him in the 2002 season. Sometimes he has been able to play through them, but the last couple seasons, he has missed at least some time...his days are numbered.
  2. Bryan Bulaga will start at guard.
  3. This unit will open up holes for backs: Green Bay will average over four yards a carry and get nearly 2000 total yards rushing (about 1600 from the backs).
  4. Partially because of prediction number one, this unit will still finish in the bottom half of the league in sacks yielded, but barely. I foresee Rodgers being taken down around 35 times.
  5. Not one player will make the Pro Bowl as even an alternate.

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