Statistics Show Why Barclay Takes Lead at RT

Because of coach Mike McCarthy's rotation at right tackle, Don Barclay and Marshall Newhouse have played with the same personnel, allowing some strong conclusions to be drawn about who's made the most of his opportunity.

Don Barclay took every snap as the right tackle with the No. 1 offense on Monday.

Coach Mike McCarthy, however, wasn't ready to stop the fight between Barclay and Marshall Newhouse.

"There's no jobs that have been won yet today as far as those types of questions," McCarthy said following Monday's practice, adding later that he'll continue to "try and create opportunities" at every position.

Since Bryan Bulaga's torn ACL at the Family Night Scrimmage threw a monkey wrench into the offensive line battle, Newhouse and Barclay have been splitting reps at right tackle. During the two preseason games, they've rotated by series, with Newhouse getting the first chance against Arizona and Barclay getting the start on Saturday night at St. Louis.

It's only two games, but judging by Monday's practice reps, the job belongs to Barclay until further notice.

"I don't think it's going to be determined this weekend," Barclay countered. "We're halfway done with camp, still have two more weeks of camp left. Then we have a week of preparation for the 49ers, so there's a lot of time for it still to be decided with guys battling. At some point, guys have to step up and grab the opportunity."

Because of McCarthy's rotation, Barclay and Newhouse have played with the same personnel, allowing some conclusions to be drawn about who's grabbed that opportunity.

According to league data, the Packers have averaged 4.04 yards per rush with Barclay in the game. That's 1.14 yards better than the Packers' average with Barclay on the sideline. Meanwhile, the Packers have averaged 3.22 yards per carry with Newhouse in the game. That's 0.29 yards better than when he's on the sideline. In other words, the Packers are averaging 0.82 yards more per carry with Barclay than with Newhouse.

That should come as no surprise based on last season, when Newhouse took every snap at left tackle over the course of 18 games and Barclay started the final six games at right tackle. According to league data, the Packers ranked 32nd with a 2.3-yard average on runs off left tackle and 26th with an average of 4.5 yards around left end last season. Meanwhile, in the seven games in which Barclay started or played extensively, the Packers averaged 110.6 rushing yards per game and had 10 rushing touchdowns. In the previous 11 games, the Packers averaged 100.7 rushing yards per game and had just two rushing touchdowns.

While Eddie Lacy was a human wrecking ball by pushing, pulling and dragging his way through seven defenders for a 15-yard gain early in the St. Louis game, it was Barclay's dominating seal block against Chris Long that made it happen.

"Run game is a lot of attitude, just getting low," Barclay said. "It's something guys like to do or maybe guys don't like to do the run game, it's an attitude-type thing."

While the powerful, no-nonsense Barclay has established himself as the better run blocker, it's Newhouse who was blessed with the footwork to protect the quarterback.

In 41 pass-protection snaps during the preseason, Newhouse has allowed one sack and no additional quarterback hits or hurries, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Really, that's Newhouse in a nutshell. He can be very good and then have a letdown; in the Arizona game, he was beaten quickly by veteran John Abraham, leading to a sack, fumble and turnover.

Barclay has had 38 pass-protection snaps. He has allowed no sacks or hits but has yielded two pressures. He doesn't have Newhouse's feet but his bulldog tenacity keeps him out of truly bad plays.

Barclay took the high road early in camp. As Newhouse continually lined up with the No. 1 offense, Barclay was a one-man game of musical chairs by rotating between right tackle, center and some right guard. Not once did he complain about not getting a fair shake after playing so well as an undrafted rookie last season.

"Donny Barclay, No. 1, is a team player," offensive line coach James Campen said last week. "That is an unselfish man. ‘Wherever you want me to go, let me go.' But at the same time, ‘I'd like to compete, too, for a starting spot.' He's made that perfectly clear, too, but first and foremost, he doesn't care where he's playing. He just likes to play."

Barring a meltdown against the Seahawks on Friday night — where Barclay will square off against former college teammate Bruce Irvin — Barclay will be playing as the starting right tackle this season.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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