The Green Bay Packers (5-3) made a bevy of roster moves on Tuesday and Wednesday, only days after their Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears (5-3). Some of the roster moves, such as placing tight end Jermichael Finley on the season-ending injured-reserve (IR) list, was expected, but other roster moves could further implicate current Packers starters.
In addition to Finley, the Packers placed rookie linebacker Sam Barrington on the IR. In their places, Green Bay promoted quarterback Scott Tolzien from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and activated offensive tackle Derek Sherrod off of the player-unable-to-perform (PUP) list.
Tolzien will backup veteran Seneca Wallace while Aaron Rodgers recovers from a broken collarbone injury, while Sherrod has a legitimate chance to crack the starting lineup, if healthy.
Sherrod hasn’t played in a regular season game since breaking his leg in a Week 15 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs during his rookie season in 2011. Sherrod, the team’s first-round selection out of Mississippi State in the 2011 NFL Draft, began practicing with the team for the first time in nearly two years in late October.
If Sherrod is cleared to play within the next couple of weeks, there is a possibility the 6-foot-6, 321-pound behemoth could replace second-year lineman Don Barclay at right tackle.
Barclay, an undrafted rookie out of West Virginia, has started the last 14 games at right tackle dating back to Week 14 of the 2012 season. As a collective unit, Green Bay’s offensive line has shown massive improvement, but right tackle is still a big question mark.
Rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari, left guard Josh Sitton and center Evan Dietrich-Smith‘s jobs are likely secured barring any kind of injury later this season. Right guard T.J. Lang has had a magnificent season, but the veteran guard suffered a concussion in the loss to the Bears and his timetable to return is questionable.
If Lang is out for an extended period of time, though, Barclay would step in at right guard. If Lang is able to come back, however, Barclay’s job at right tackle isn’t very secure with a healthy Sherrod.
As a team through eight games, the Packers offensive line has allowed 22 sacks. Individually, Barclay has allowed 5.5 sacks this season, the worst among all Packers’ offensive linemen.
Offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse is also waiting in the wings, but if the Packers were to make a change at right tackle, it likely wouldn’t fall in favor of Newhouse. From 2011 to 2012 at left tackle, Newhouse allowed 21.5 sacks. In relief duty against the Bears on Monday night, Newhouse allowed two sacks in less than one half of football.
If Sherrod is healthy and cleared to play, it’s time for Green Bay to place him at right tackle in favor of Barclay. The Packers invested a first-round draft pick in the former Mississippi State Bulldog and it’s time to use that investment to help salvage a potentially disastrous letdown in 2013.