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T.J. Lang Is Back

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T.J. Lang Is Back

Anyone in attendance at Packers training camp last summer remembers the sight of offensive lineman T.J. Lang, tepid and rusty from having missed an entire offseason due to wrist surgery, getting beat up on in one-on-ones and generally making a poor showing of it on the field.

What a difference a year makes.

Sure, he missed another offseason, this time due to the NFL lockout, but his time has clearly been spent well. A healthy Lang took the field on Monday night, the first night the team was in pads and actually hitting each other, and absolutely handled all comers. In the one-on-one's between the offensive line and the linebackers, Lang won all four of his contests. In team scrimmage periods, he was quick out of his stance and as tenacious in his run blocking as he was expert in his technique in pass protection.

Much has been made of the Packers giving their first round pick Derek Sherrod a look at left guard to start camp, but there really is no comparison between the two. While the rookie was inconsistent at best on Monday night (which is totally expected) Lang looked strong and in control.

Obviously, there's a danger in extrapolating too much information from a single practice, let alone the initial one with hitting and thumping/tackling. But to this bloggers meager eyes, its not even a question.

T.J. Lang should be the starter at left guard when the Packers open against the New Orleans Saints.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Majik Man's picture

I hope so. TJ has been ready, willing, and able throughout all our offensive line changes. We believe in him, and personally I'm ready for him to get a shot. Sherrod wasn't drafted to fill the LG roll, he was drafted as a chance for us to have our bookend tackles of the future. I fully expect TJ to win the LG battle, and show the world what ESPN overlooks. Small names, big talent. GO PACK, GO!

aussiepacker's picture

MM always said he thought Lang was a guard so this could be the year TJ breaks out?

Yope's picture

If Teej wins the spot at LG would they start working Sherrod at LT or because of Newhouses progress would they just keep him behind Lang for the season...?

Chad Toporski's picture

They've got Sherrod doing reps at LT with the 2nd team so far this practice. I think they'll continue to give him time at both positions and see how he progresses with each.

I think it will be similar to last year, when they had Bulaga ready to play at either T or G.

Sanford's picture

It's hard to take someone seriously who forms a definitive opinion after watching one practice.

packeraaron's picture

Andrew Brandt tells a great story about watching Aaron Rodgers in his first practice, making a throw to Donald Driver and he and Ted looking at each other and "just knowing" Aaron was going to be special.

I'm not saying Lang is special. I am saying I think he's the starter on opening night. Just an opinion.

fishandcrane's picture

It's hard to take some one seriously who forms a definitive opinion of someone who forms a definitive opinion of one practice.

PackersRS's picture

Practice? Listen, we're talking about practice! Not a game, not a game, not a game, we're talking about practice.

Chad Toporski's picture

I swear people these days read half of an article or blog post and then stop, leaving the rest up to assumptions and imagination...

"Obviously, there's a danger in extrapolating too much information from a single practice, let alone the initial one with hitting and thumping/tackling."

MarkinMadison's picture

Lang's been around for a few years. It's not like observers aren't familiar with his good and bad, his ups and downs. We're not talking about a rookie here. We're talking about a guy that looked like a starter two years ago, until he got injured.

Edward's picture

Absolutely. It seemed from his rookie appearances that he has the nastiness to be a great bookend guard with Sitton. Was pretty disappointing last year, but OL takes a few years to master, so maybe this will be his year.

retiredgrampa's picture

I "adopted" Lang the year he was drafted because I was impressed with his play during the "seniors" practices. I sincerely hope that this is his year to blossom.

CSS's picture

Ted Thompson has endured a great deal of criticism during his tenure in Green Bay leading up to the playoffs last year, most of which I thought was unfair.

The one criticism I did feel was well deserved was his inability to build a consistent offensive line with depth. I realize there's a lot of camp yet, but this line has the potential to be not only talented, but deep.

Should they stay healthy and progress, I have no reservations saying possible reserves Newhouse, Sherrod & McDonald would start on any of the other three NFC North offensive lines, and several others in the conference. I'm excited about the O-line, crazy....

MarkinMadison's picture

Agreed. The Bears O-line is a joke. If they hadn't picked Carimi in the draft they wouldn't even have a glimmer of hope. Detroit and Minnesota are not in much better shape, if any. If Newhouse or McDonald get cut, they'll be on another roster in a heartbeat. This O-line is bigger and better than ever before. I have more hope for this line than I have since TT let Rivera and Wahle walk.

Kevin's picture

Offensive line of the future: Sherrod, Lang, McDonald, Sitton, Bulaga

PackersThad's picture

I wish there was a space for Newhouse on that line! He's too good to let go. If only Newhouse could play inside.

PackersRS's picture

Watch TT trade Newhouse for a high draft pick. And then trade that high draft pick for multiple low draf picks.

Dayne Shuda's picture

A TJ Lang article and not one mention of Pink Country Time Lemonade and Cherry Skoal?

:)

PkrNboro's picture

Aaron,

Is it blasphemy to think that Clifton might not make the final roster (tempered by the reality of ONE padded practice)?

With the development of Newhouse, and Lang, and the double-duty of Sherrod -- it seems like the left side of the line could be in good shape. And this doesn't include McDonald.

After years with a questionable starting oLine -- and the likes of Moll/Barbre/Giacomini as backups -- suddenly we've got a damn good (and young) starting line, with at least 3 decent players on the depth chart...

Pinch.
Me.

Thanks for your coverage of camp...

packeraaron's picture

I would be beyond shocked if Clifton wasn't on the roster and starting on opening night. No matter how well guys my flash in camp, no one is as good as Clifton in pass pro right now. Not even close. They signed him to a three year extension last offseason. I think he sees at least two of those years, if not all three.

Nerdmann's picture

Did anyone really have any doubts about Lang? Yeah he struggled last year, but that's because he couldn't lift in the offseason. Dude's rock solid.

CSS's picture

I didn't have necessarily have doubts, but I did have Spitz in the back of my mind too. Spitz looked so promising and then really regressed. Not just due to injury, either. His technique, footwork, hand placement...everything regressed.

For me, it's how a guy responds from the neck up after a set-back. Spitz didn't recover, but I'm hoping Lang can not only recover, but excel.

Mojo's picture

Strangely enough, I could see this unit becoming the strongest top to bottom on the team. It would be quite a change from a few years ago when it was generally considered one of the teams weakest.

PackersRS's picture

Our secondary is awfully good, though. Multiple HoF worthy good.

Mojo's picture

Yup, secondary is darn good too. I still get a little nervous with Shields though. Seems there were a number of times last year where his man was open, but the opposing QB either didn't see him or missed the throw. Hoping Sam will continue developing from a very good first year.

Also don't know about how our corner backups will be.

Otto's picture

That was all an act. Shields just let them look like they were open, so he could pick them (I hope).

spiderpack's picture

Funny. But maybe true!

Nononsense's picture

I agree 100% on Lang he should be our starting LG on opening day barring injury.

As for Newhouse, well im not gonna get ahead of myself but to me it makes more sense to have him as Cliftons top backup than Sherrod given the lockout.

I would give him reps at LT and RT to have him ready as possible to step in for either of those positions. Hes just not OG material IMO, though im sure he could be passable there in time.

Schladeraff or whatever should be the backup LG and McDonald the backup at C and RG.

Otto's picture

From what I'm reading Schladeraff is getting owned in drills. It sounds like Sampson Genus is handling his business much better.

Otto's picture

Let's see, eight starting caliber players for 5 positions. Good problem to have.
I can't wait to see someone to the left of center run block.

The rest of this division's o-lines are in shambles.
Bears blogs are talking about Mike Tice and the team doctors puting a line together.
The Vikings just cut their pro-bowl LT for showing up at 400 lbs.
The Lions? QB Matthew Stafford's only started 13 of a possible 32 games. Nuff said.

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