Aug 22, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Green Bay Packers centerCorey Linsley
(63) snaps the ball to quarterbackMatt Flynn
(10) against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
First and foremost you have to give credit where it is due, and this offensive line needs to be recognized for its accomplishments.
Mike McCarthy wasn’t just spouting hyperbole when he called this offensive line the best he’s had in Green Bay; these guys are legitimately good and continue to improve as a unit.
The guards are one of the top tandems league-wide; Josh Sitton is an All-Pro-caliber player at left guard, while T.J. Lang continues to play as a strong compliment opposite him at right guard. Brian Bulaga has sufficiently recovered from multiple injuries the past few years to be a more-than-capable starter at right tackle. David Bakhtiari isn’t perfect, but has been a great value pickup from last year’s draft as a step-in left tackle. Last but not least, Corey Linsley has been one of the top rookies league-wide with his unexpectedly strong play at center.
While looking up statistics on these guys I came across one that is not only interesting, but emphasizes just what McCarthy was saying about these guys being the best group he’s had: 23. That is how many times the Packers’ quarterback has been sacked this season, including only one yesterday to a group that came in tied for fourth on the year with 31 sacks.
Not impressed yet? Well allow me to continue. If you prorate number across the length of the entire season, you get to right about 33 sacks on the year.
Sound like a lot? Yes? Well here’s some more perspective:
Sacks Allowed by GB, 2008-2014
2008 – 34
2009 – 51
2010 – 38
2011 – 41
2012 – 51
2014 – 33 (projected)
That’s right; if the current pace is upheld, the Packers will have given up the fewest sacks of any year since Aaron Rodgers became the starting quarterback.
Obvious some of the kudos have to go his way; his ability to run around outside the pocket and make subtle movements inside it play heavily in that number. But he also is well-known for holding the ball longer than most QBs. Often it results in a big play, but in plenty of cases that can make a sack much more likely.
The fact that Rodgers is able to continue his penchant for extending plays while seeing these sack numbers drop mean that his guys on the O-line are stepping up in a major way, and we should all appreciate what is being accomplished by them.
They’ve also been impressive in the run game too, and especially so yesterday where they helped establish it against a defense that was willing to sell out against the passing game for most of the day. Their blocking helped the next guy thrive…