Guys who score touchdowns and pop long gains get all the love on offense but anyone who knows football understands it all starts up from. Without effective blocking from the offensive line it takes a near superhuman effort to score points at all. That is the quandary the Green Bay Packers face. Could they avert their looming disaster by signing Jammal Brown in NFL free agency?
Bryan Bulaga loss leaves Aaron Rodgers exposed on both ends
There wasn’t a lot to celebrate about the Green Bay Packers offensive line in 2012. Though the team still won 11 games and the NFC North division title, it didn’t erase the fact they let an All-Pro quarterback in Aaron Rodgers get sacked 51 times. For an idea of how egregious that stat is, fellow All-Pro Tom Brady went down a total of 27 times. Rodgers has the good fortune of being younger and more durable but he isn’t bulletproof and can’t be expected to take punishment like that every year. The coaches knew this and decided to jumble the depth chart a bit. Their biggest move was shifting Bryan Bulaga, the most reliable tackle on the roster from the right side to the left side. That would ease the pressure on whomever took over for him on the right since it usually requires less efficiency in pass protection. Sadly the Packers never got a chance to see the new formation in action. Bulaga went down with a torn ACL during a training camp practice, ending his season. Suddenly an already questionable offensive line has lost its best player and threatens to throw the entire offense off kilter.
Brown anxious to overcome his time with the Washington Redskins
In the fast-paced NFL, it’s easy to forget past accomplishments. A lot of people don’t remember that Jammal Brown is a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle for the New Orleans Saints who helped them win a Super Bowl in 2009. Much of the reason for his disappearance is simply not playing. Brown hasn’t played a game since the end of the 2011 season. Hip and groin problems have dogged him ever since the Saints traded him to the Washington Redskins. After his contract was voided, making him a free agent, the 32-year old fell off the map. Experts know he’s out there but the media has surprisingly not picked up on it. Last word was his latest hip surgery was a success and he should be fully healthy for the first time in a long time. When healthy he is a stout lineman, known for his punishing run blocking and excellent technique that helps him in pass protection. That would make him a great option at right tackle, and at least give the Packers options on what to do on the left side. The big road block is GM Ted Thompson. No front office man in professional football avoid NFL free agency like he does. The former scout is all about building through the draft and only dabbles in the market to fill an absolute need. Losing the left tackle on a bad offensive line would probably qualify.
The Green Bay Packers must remember Aaron Rodgers is their priority. No expense is too big to keep him healthy, which includes signing free agents. Jammal Brown is pockmarked by red flags, but he’s reliable and experienced. That is what they need right now.