Green Bay Packers offensive guard Josh Sitton is questionable to play in Sunday’s home opener against the Washington Redskins, and the message from myself and the Packer faithful is simple: Sitton needs to play.
Sitton has what Packers head coach Mike McCarthy calls an “ongoing back injury” which he sustained near the end of training camp. Sitton did not practice on Wednesday, and he was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday.
Sitton, the team’s starting left guard, is in his sixth NFL season, and he has become known as one of the NFL’s best offensive guards in today’s game. Since the 2009 season, Sitton has started all but two of the Packers 65 games, all the more reason the Packers desperately need the fuzzy and long-haired beast against Washington.
Before the Packers’ first exhibition game of the preseason, veteran left tackle Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL in early August and his 2013 season was over before it even began. If Sitton is unable to play, second-year right tackle Don Barclay would have to shift from right tackle to left guard.
The Packers signed Barclay as an undrafted rookie free agent before 2012 training camp and he has been nothing but a great surprise for Green Bay’s offensive line. Pairing Barclay up with rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari on quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ blind side? Eek — trouble could lie ahead.
Barclay and Bakhtiari are respectable players, especially for how inexperienced they both are. Both offensive tackles had fine outings against the San Francisco 49ers in the season opener, as Rodgers said he felt the pass protection was “excellent”. Their success, however, relies heavily on Sitton and fellow offensive guard T.J. Lang. The point is, both players need a veteran presence for guidance during live action.
Having such little experience on one side of the offensive line scares the bajeebees out of me, especially when Redskins Pro Bowlers Brian Orakpo and London Fletcher could line up against both players throughout the majority of Sunday’s game. Also, Packer fans may feel less comfortable with fourth-year player Marshall Newhouse at right tackle if Barclay were to start at left guard.
As the team’s starting left tackle for the majority of the past two seasons, Newhouse allowed 21.5 sacks on Rodgers.
Sitton, I beg of thee for the sake of Packers nation, in the words of Barney Stinson: suit up!