The Green Bay Packers have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. With wide receiver depth throughout the roster and Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, it is easy to say they are tough to stop. However, the Achilles heel for the Packers over the past few seasons has been the offensive line.
Last season, the offensive line allowed 51 sacks to opposing defenses. Part of this stat was on Rodgers holding the ball too long, but a majority of the sacks came from a breakdown schematically or just a lack of the linemen getting their pad level lower than the defense.
Along with the sacks, it was clear the offensive line was not doing their job in the run game. The Packers did not have a single 100-yard running back the entire season. The line was not opening holes for the backs and that stat is clear evidence.
So far in the 2013 season, however, the offensive line is proving they are making great steps in improving. The line had a significant loss in the preseason with the injury of starting tackle Bryan Bulaga, but rookie David Bakhtiari has stepped up and played very well as his replacement. Along with Bakhtiari, the rest of the line has improved. Guards TJ Lang and Josh Sitton have worked on their craft and are protecting well while center Evan Dietrtich-Smith has made himself a very reliable center in what will be his first full season.
If you don’t believe me, here are some quick stats so far for this offensive line. In the first two games against very tough defenses (San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins), the offensive line has only allowed six sacks and two of those sacks Rodgers took responsibility for. Along with the low number of sacks, the Packers finally had a 100-yard running back last week as James Starks emerged and ran well.
It is clear so far this season that the offensive line for the Packers has improved in many ways. If they can remain healthy and continue to improve, the Packers’ offense will be that much more difficult to stop. The season still has a long way to go, but so far this offensive line has been very impressive.