2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Reworked Packers' offensive line getting work

    2013-05-21 20:03

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - The Green Bay Packers are using their spring practices as a chance to get their reconfigured offensive line accustomed to their new roles.

Although offseason team activities began Monday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday's practice was the first to feature 11-on-11 work after the first day of practice focused on fundamentals and position drills.

McCarthy made the change last month. The five players - Bryan Bulaga, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay were moved around.

Bulaga was moving from right tackle to left tackle; Sitton and Lang were flip-flopping their spots, with Sitton shifting to left guard and Lang moving to right guard; and Newhouse moving to right tackle, where he'll compete with Barclay and others.

On the first snap of the 11-on-11 sessions, it was Bulaga, Sitton, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, Lang and Newhouse left-to-right in front of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

But while working together at their new positions was important, individually adjusting both mentally and physically is the biggest challenge, several of the players said.

None of them had been told of the idea beforehand, even though changes were to be expected after Rodgers was sacked a league-high 51 times in 2012 and the Packers' running game ranked 20th in the league in rushing per game (106.4) and 22nd in yards per attempt (3.9).

``It was kind of a quick meeting. Basically, it was, `This is what's happening: You guys are playing here, you guys are playing here,''' Lang said Tuesday after first learning of the change.

``You're thinking, `Am I not playing good enough? Am I losing my job?' I don't want to say any of us are secure, because there's always competition.''

Discussing the move after practice Tuesday, McCarthy said that the move was made to put the team's best linemen, Bulaga and Sitton, on the left side to protect Rodgers' blind side.

As for how long before the Sept. 8 regular-season opener at San Francisco he'll have his starting five set, McCarthy said he didn't know.

``I'd like to go maybe two years in a row without answering this question about your offensive line,'' McCarthy said. ``Would I like to have five guys ready to say they're our starting five? And play 19 games? That's great. But we have to get them all ready.''

Sitton said early on it was a big adjustment.

``I think we're all a little surprised. That's a big move,'' Sitton said Tuesday. ``You don't see a four-position switch on the offensive line very often, so it's definitely surprising, but at the end of the day, it's football. We'll get used to it. We'll continue to grow and hopefully it'll be a good change for us.''

According to Lang, McCarthy came down to the offensive line meeting room to explain his reasoning last month. Then, it was time to get to work.

``We all talked about it for 20 minutes, whatever it was, and got a better explanation why it was happening, and it started to make more sense to us,'' Lang said. ``(But) when coach tells you to do something, or asks you to do something, you just have to do it. That's how it works.

``It was definitely awkward for us the first couple days out on the field. Your stance is uncomfortable, your footwork is awful, but we still have a lot of time before we open up the season to make sure we're getting better at our new spots. You just have to keep a positive attitude, go out there and compete every day and just do what you can do to get better.''

Bulaga has the added responsibility of protecting the blindside of his team's franchise quarterback.

``It's like a lefty batting right-handed and not being ambidextrous,'' said Bulaga, who was a left tackle in college at Iowa but has played almost exclusively right tackle since entering the league as the team's first-round pick in 2010.

``You're flipping sides, you're flipping footwork. I think it's a little more physical than mental, just because what we're doing mentally is just flipping calls and flipping plays in our head. That's really all it is. The physical standpoint of footwork, hand placement - everything is turned around a little bit. It takes a little bit of time to get used to that.''

Added Lang: ``You can't think too much about it; you can't make it bigger than what it is. You just have to keep plugging away every day and stay positive.''

That's what Newhouse is trying to do, even though the move is hard to see as anything other than a demotion for him. Newhouse started 13 regular-season games in 2011 after injuries to Bulaga and veteran left tackle Chad Clifton.

When Clifton was released in April 2012, the Packers opted not to move Bulaga to left tackle and stuck with Newhouse on the left side. Newhouse was up and down in 18 starts last season at left tackle.

``You're kind of taken aback,'' Newhouse said Tuesday. ``But I looked inward and acknowledged my role in them having to make the decision (while) also knowing that I can play football and knowing that I had a lot of success at the same time.

``I don't want to be perceived as the weak part of the line. I want to make myself into a strength of the offensive line. It's motivation. I do realize they had to make a decision, and my play was part of them thinking they had to make a decision. So I understand that, I accept that. But I also know I've had a lot of success, so I have to accept the role I've been given and go at it 100 percent. That's all I can really do.''

NOTES: Rookie fourth-round pick JC Tretter, an offensive lineman from Cornell, was injured during Monday's practice but McCarthy did not divulge the nature of the injury or give a timetable for his return. The coach said that Tretter would miss the rest of OTAs. ... Defensive end Mike Neal took snaps at outside linebacker during Tuesday's practice. ... Cornerback Sam Shields, who has yet to sign his restricted free-agent tender, was not in attendance. ... Reinstated defensive end Johnny Jolly was not at Tuesday's practice but could return to the team soon. He missed the past three seasons after being suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but was reinstated this spring.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Lardarius WebbJul 29 10:45a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his third straight day of practice Monday, July 28, and will undergo further testing to determine the extent of the injury, according [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 29 10:43a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd (back) was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Alfonso SmithJul 29 10:43a

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) to an undisclosed deal and waived/injured OT Fou Fonoti (undisclosed).

Eric WinstonJul 29 10:43a

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent OT Eric Winston (Cardinals) to a one-year deal.

Kelvin BenjaminJul 29 10:40a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) doesn't have a timetable for his return after bruising his left knee, but he is expected to be back in days, not weeks. [ More ]

Josh ThomasJul 29 10:03a

Carolina Panthers CB Josh Thomas (undisclosed) was activated from the Non-Football Injury list and is practicing Tuesday, July 29.

Chris IvoryJul 29 09:53a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is likely to be the team's goal line back, according to running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

D'Aundre ReedJul 29 08:53a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent TE Brett Brackett (Cardinals), undrafted free-agent QB Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and DE D'Aundre Reed. QB Brock Jensen was waived and OG Davonte Wallace (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Ricky SappJul 29 08:43a

The Houston Texans signed free-agent RB Tim Cornett (Cardinals) and OT Mike Farrell (Broncos) to undisclosed deals. LB Ricky Sapp was waived.

Alan BonnerJul 29 02:23a

Houston Texans WR Alan Bonner (foot) was placed on the Texans' Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers Monday, July 28.

Brandon JenkinsJul 29 02:13a

OG James Dunbar (Bears), OT Anthony Dima (Texans), OT Jack Breckner (Colts) and LB Brandon Jenkins (Redskins) all cleared waivers Monday, July 28, and are free to sign with any team.

Menelik WatsonJul 29 01:43a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson is slated to start at right tackle. The coaching staff has confidence in his ability after what was largely viewed as a disappointing 2013 [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenJul 29 12:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jimmy Clausen was accurate with his throws during practice Monday, July 28, and he led a touchdown drive during a two-minute drill. Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com [ More ]

Jordan ZumwaltJul 28 11:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jordan Zumwalt (groin) left practice early Monday, July 28, and WR C.J. Goodwin (shoulder) was held out of drills during practice.

Rod StreaterJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) is dealing with a concussion, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 11:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined at least another week due to his hamstring injury. Beckham was originally [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreJul 28 11:33p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) has not been cleared to practice yet due to lingering concerns about his surgically repaired right knee. However, he appears close to joining his teammates.

Chris CantyJul 28 11:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (family issue) missed practice Monday, July 28. OG Will Rackley (head) and OT Parker Graham (groin) also missed practice.

Alfonso SmithJul 28 11:33p

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to announce the signing of free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) Tuesday, July 29. The team needs healthy reinforcements with RBs Kendall Hunter (knee) [ More ]

Juron CrinerJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Juron Criner (hamstring) has been sidelined from practice due to a hamstring injury, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Gavin EscobarJul 28 11:23p

Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar has often lined up out wide during training camp, and offensive play-caller Scott Linehan is experimenting with different ways to get him involved in the offense.

Roy MillerJul 28 10:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Roy Miller (shoulder) returned to practice Monday, July 28, after being given the day off Sunday, July 27, to rest his shoulder that he had surgery on in the offseason.

Cyrus KouandjioJul 28 10:43p

Buffalo Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio has struggled in training camp, and Joe Buscaglia of 550 Sports Radio believes that OT Erik Pears is now the frontrunner for the starting RT job.

Mario ManninghamJul 28 10:42p

New York Giants WR Mario Manningham (knee) said he is still not 100 percent confident in his surgically repaired knee. 'I'm working on it,' he said of overcoming that [ More ]

John AbrahamJul 28 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE John Abraham was detained, questioned and later charged with multiple counts, including DUI, on Sunday, June 29, according to arrest reports in DeKalb County. Abraham missed [ More ]

Anthony DixonJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon was listed as the No. 3 back on the team's first official depth chart with RB Bryce Brown listed as the No. 4 back.

Scott ChandlerJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills FS Kenny Ladler (hamstring), TE Scott Chandler (groin), TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were held out of practice Monday, July 28.

Joe HawleyJul 28 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley and C Peter Konz have both been taking reps with the first-team this offseason.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 09:53p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) had tests on his injured hamstring Monday, July 28, and the results were negative, according to two sources briefed on the injury.

Danny AmendolaJul 28 09:43p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola has spent the offseason working with trainer Alex Guerrero. Guerrero is also QB Tom Brady's trainer, and he helped WR Julian Edelman prior to last season.

Marlon MooreJul 28 08:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed WR Marlon Moore (Dolphins) Monday, July 28.

Clay HarborJul 28 08:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor (calf) will miss some time with a strained calf, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group