Grading the Packers: Offensive linemen

PackerReport.com's Todd Korth continues his series of individual assessments by handing out grades for the Green Bay Packers offensive linemen:

Mark Tauscher: Proved to be Green Bay's best lineman in 2006 because of his skills and leadership. When Tauscher missed five games with a torn groin between November and December, the line struggled to rush the ball and protect Brett Favre.

Tauscher had just two penalties (one holding, Sept. 10 vs. Chicago, and one false start, Dec. 31 vs. Chicago) that opponents accepted against him. Tauscher also did not allow a sack.
Before he injured his groin Nov. 12 at Minnesota, Tauscher started 57 straight games since he injured his knee in 2002. Tauscher returned to play the final two games of the season.
Grade: B

Chad Clifton: After missing a number of practices in the off-season and in training camp due to ankle and knee surgeries last spring, Clifton struggled at times in 2006. He started in 15 of 16 games, missing the Oct. 22 game at Miami because of the flu. He allowed a team-high 4 ½ sacks, the most he has given up in one season in his seven-year career. He also was penalized five times - two for holding and two for false starts, and one for illegal formation.

Clifton finished strong Dec. 31 against the Chicago, never allowing Mark Anderson, the Bears' sack leader, to get a hand on Brett Favre.
Grade: C

Scott Wells: The third-year pro became a regular starter and made the most of the opportunity. He didn't allow any sacks and had three penalties (two false starts and one holding). Aside from two botched snaps in a forgettable game at Buffalo on Nov. 5, Wells showed that he can be a fixture at center for years to come for the Packers.

Wells started all 16 games, after starting 10 between center (2 games) and left guard (8 games) in 2005.
Grade: B+

Daryn Colledge: The rookie struggled early in training camp and was demoted to the second team, which may have been the best thing to happen to him last season. When Jason Spitz injured his thigh in the season opener against Chicago, Colledge received a second chance and made the most of it. Colledge stepped in at left guard, played more aggressively and remained at that position the rest of the season, aside from a one-game stint Oct. 22 at Miami when he filled in at left tackle for Chad Clifton (flu).

Like most rookies, he wasn't perfect. Colledge allowed 2 ½ sacks and opponents accepted six penalties against him (five false starts and one holding).
Grade: C

Jason Spitz: He began the season by sustaining a deep thigh bruise to his left leg, causing him to miss the next two games. Spitz returned and reclaimed his starting spot at right guard, where he performed well for a rookie the rest of the season.

Opponents accepted three penalties (two false starts and one holding) against him and he gave up 2 ½ sacks.
Grade: C

Tony Moll: The rookie worked his way into the starting lineup at guard during training camp, but then was demoted to second string early in the season. Moll, however, ended up starting 10 of 16 games this season, due to injuries to other starters, including five at guard and five at tackle.

Moll, a former tight end at the University of Nevada, is probably a better fit at tackle than guard. "Personally I feel that I can play tackle better," he said. "If they say it's guard, so be it."

Moll was penalized five times for false starts and gave up 2 ½ sacks.

"I think I did OK," he said. "With as many plays as I was able to get (2006), it's going to put me that much farther ahead," Moll said.
Grade: C-

Tony Palmer: The rookie was claimed on waivers from St. Louis during the weekend of final cuts in early September and played in six games, mainly on special teams.
Grade: C

Junius Coston: 2006 turned out to be a disappointing season for the second-year pro and his time with the Packers may be up. Coston was hoping to start at one of the guard positions last off-season, often playing with the first-team, but when the Packers selected three linemen in the NFL draft, the writing was on the wall.

Coston sustained a sprained knee in training camp, causing him to miss the first three games. He only played special teams in one game (Detroit on Dec. 17) and was not activated to the 45-man game day roster in the final two games.
Grade: D

Tyson Walter: Was signed as a free agent by the Packers on Nov. 25 and played mainly on special teams in Green Bay's last five games. The Packers like his ability to play all five positions on the line.
Grade: Incomplete

Kevin Barry: The 332-pound linemen sustained a torn quadriceps in the final practice of a May mini-camp and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. The jury is out on if Barry will be able to adjust at either guard or tackle to the Packers' zone-blocking scheme. To help his chances, he hung around the team's facilities throughout the season, rehabbing his leg and learning the system.
Grade: Incomplete

Josh Bourke: The 6-foot-7 rookie tackle injured his back late in training camp and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Until the time of his injury, Green Bay's coaches were impressed with his ability as he moved up the depth chart after signing as a free agent.
Grade: Incomplete


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


Packer Report Top Stories