2013 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

Terrelle PryorApr 23 08:58a

The Seattle Seahawks acquired QB Terrelle Pryor from the Oakland Raiders Monday, April 21, in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in this year's draft. He will compete with [ More ]

Matt RyanApr 22 10:53p

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is calling for major improvement on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He fears the team could bottom out for a second [ More ]

EJ ManuelApr 22 08:13p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel (knees) is healthy entering voluntary workouts and feels normal and had no limitations during the Tuesday, April 22 conditioning program. Bills head coach Doug [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 22 07:53p

Updating a previous report, the Baltimore Ravens have officially placed LB Rolando McClain on the reserve-retired list for a second time. The Ravens will retain McClain's rights if he changes his mind again.

Eli ManningApr 22 07:33p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) expects to be 100 percent for the beginning of training camp. Manning has no concerns about learning the Giants' new playbook, instead [ More ]

Ray RiceApr 22 04:43p

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice looks great physically, according to strength and conditioning coach Bob Roguck. 'He's doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth, [ More ]

David WilsonApr 22 02:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said he is still waiting for a clear MRI to be medically cleared, but is currently ahead of schedule.

Julio JonesApr 22 01:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) will be limited during the team's offseason workouts while he recovers from offseason foot surgery. 'Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,' [ More ]

Eli ManningApr 22 01:03p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) said his ankle is progressing but he does not have a timetable for his return to the field. Manning is currently in a walking boot.

Stevie BrownApr 22 12:33p

New York Giants FS Stevie Brown (knee) said he feels like he is ready to go when the Giants hit the field after recovering from a serious knee injury. [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 10:33a

The New York Giants are likely to cut FS Will Hill after his third potential drug suspension.

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

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