Packers’ offensive line ready to shine

The Green Bay Packers are heading into head coach Mike McCarthy’s ninth season as head coach with high expectations mostly centered around quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Eddie Lacy. However, everything starts up front and this might be the best offensive line he has ever fielded.

With left tackle David Bakhtiari, left guard Josh Sitton, right guard T.J. Lang, right tackle Bryan Bulaga and newcomer J.C. Tretter at center, confidence is high. With those anchors in place betting expectations are high as well. Take advantage by clicking here to view the best NFL lines this season

Bakhtiari is the second-year pro out of Colorado who protected the quarterback’s blind side last year, starting all 16 games as a rookie. He is back bigger and stronger and at age 22 could be a stalwart on the end of the line for a long time.

Next to Bakhtiari is seven-year pro Josh Sitton, who made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and was second team All-Pro last year. He has only given up only eight-and-a-half sacks since becoming a starter. Sitton is tenacious and fundamentally sound. His move from right guard to left guard last year was seamless and helped paved the way for Lacy to become the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

T.J. Lang is the most unsung player on the line. He has started at left tackle, right tackle and right guard during a career that began in 2009. The last three years he has been entrenched at guard and has missed only one start. He’s always there and he always grades out well. Lang has also been good at adapting to new players beside him which bodes well for this season with the return of Bulaga to right tackle instead of Don Barclay and the new center in Tretter.

Bulaga is a bit of an unknown this year because he missed last year with a knee injury and much of 2012 with a hip injury. Prior to that he was playing at a high level and seemed to be on the way to a great career. Bulaga didn’t let either injury bother him, however, and looks better than ever so far this year in training camp. He’s bigger and stronger and determined to hold down the right tackle spot for years to come.

The biggest unknown commodity on the offensive line is Tretter. He was drafted last year as the Packers’ center of the future but missed most of the season after breaking his ankle in OTAs. This year he has been healthy and impressive, starting with OTAs and continuing with his first start last week against Tennessee. This week will be a good test against St. Louis and with Rodgers making his preseason debut.

I hate using the word if but if the line stays healthy and Tretter comes through, the Packers’ offense will be extremely hard to stop. And the fact that Sitton is the old man of the bunch at 28, this unit could be together for a while.

The “big uglies” might very well hold the key to the Packers’ Super Bowl hopes.

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