It seemed like Don Barclay had a legitimate shot to be the Green Bay Packers starting right tackle entering training camp. His primary competition for the job was Marshall Newhouse, who underperformed at left tackle last season, and Derek Sherrod, who’s still recovering from a leg injury he suffered late in 2011.
Barclay also played pretty well while filling in as the starter at right tackle last season when he was a rookie. Although he had some issues in pass protection, he was a road grader in the running game.
Well, the Packers have seen to it that Newhouse has a major advantage in the competition. How’s that?
They’ve got Barclay playing center part of the time, a position he hasn’t played since his freshman year of college. And then he only played it for a week. Barclay hasn’t adjusted particularly well to center, but that was to be expected.
The point is, fewer reps at right tackle mean fewer chances to impress, fewer chances to get into a groove, fewer chances to gel with the guys next to you.
The Packers apparently have no other choice. They drafted guard J.C. Tretter in the fourth round with the plan to move him to center to compete with Evan Dietrich-Smith for the starting spot. Then he tore up his ankle during OTAs.
Now the backup options are second-year men Garth Gerhart and Greg Van Roten and undrafted rookies Patrick Lewis and Lane Taylor. There’s a decent chance none of those guys will even make the roster (although Van Roten made it last year as an undrafted rookie), so the Packers are looking at it as a move of necessity.
Barclay probably will make the team, even if he isn’t starting at right tackle.
Best-case scenario for Barclay right now is Van Roten or someone else shows he’s legit, the coaching staff decides he can at least be the backup center, ends the experiment and let’s Barclay get after it full time at right tackle.