O-line key to Packers’ success

Former Packers’ general manager Ron Wolf will go his grave believing the offense line of a football team is the key to the team’s success. “If you don’t have five, you can’t play,” he said. And he didn’t mean five nobodies, he meant five quality players, starting with left tackle. Apparently current general manager Ted Thompson subscribes to the same theory with the current Green Bay Packers.

Thompson’s second draft as GM brought three starters to the offensive line last year, two who will be starters this year in Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz, and super sub Tony Moll, who started his share of games last year. The venerable Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are solid at tackles and Scotty Wells has the nasty demeanor that has to remind Brett Favre of Frankie “bag of donuts” Winters.

Moll is the ultimate team player. He will fill in where needed and it wouldn’t surprise me if he replaced Clifton or Tauscher some day. The Packers still need depth on the offensive line and I’m kind of surprised that Junius Coston has not made a bigger splash this training camp. The Packers have been high on him for the last two years and you would think he would be pushing for a starting job, but apparently that is not the case yet.

The offensive line is so important not only because they protect one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Favre, but they have no proven running back behind them who can make up for a slip here and there. They need to be even more precise than they were last year, which shouldn’t be all that hard.

For some reason I’m not quite sure of, I think the Packers offensive line will be better. Not just because the youngsters are a year older and everybody knows the system better, but because their former coach is now the offensive coordinator. Joe Philbin knows this unit’s strengths and now has the ability to call, or at least strongly suggest, the plays that work best for them. Philbin did wonders with this raw unit last year and I can’t wait to see if the whole offense responds to his way of coaching like the offensive line did last year.

Offensive line coach James Campen is a fan favorite who played his heart out for the Green and Gold. Campen knows how to protect Brett Favre, having done it himself for two years. If Favre stays upright, the Packers will be have a chance to win every game, throw in a respectable running game, and the Packers may surprise on offense.

Bottom line is, more than ever before, the Packers’ offensive line will determine it’s success. I have faith in Philbin and Campen. If the Packers do indeed become a surprise team in 2007, the reason the talking heads will attribute it to will be the offensive line.We will find out a little more Saturday at Pittsburgh.

by Al Davis

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