Black and Blue all over: Thompson on LTs

Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a long Q&A here with Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson. I thought Thompson’s most interesting response related to the Packers’ backup plan on the offensive line heading into the 2009 season.

Left tackle Chad Clifton was coming off surgeries to both shoulders and knees, and he entered camp without a clear-cut backup. Ultimately, the Packers moved left guard Daryn Colledge to left tackle when Clifton was injured early in the year, with disastrous results. Rookie T.J. Lang later took some turns. Here’s a portion of what Thompson said:

“The thing that I think is overlooked sometimes is you can't have a left tackle ready to play that's sitting on the bench in the NFL. There's not that many of them. There's not 32 of them. We happen to have one and we actually have a couple of young guys, including T.J. Lang, that we think can play out there. But when you get hurt at a position as valuable as left tackle, you're going to take some lumps. Now, we've done that in the past and we've been able to play our way through it and win some games. We struggled a little bit more this year.”

I agree with the first part. There aren’t even 32 good left tackles in the NFL, let alone enough to staff the bench as well. But I’ll repeat this: Upending multiple positions to replace one player, no matter who it is and where they come from, was a shaky first choice. If you’re going to be worse at left tackle when your starter gets hurt, to me it didn’t make sense to get worse at two positions.

Thompson said he hopes to re-sign Clifton and right tackle Mark Tauscher, but it’s early in the offseason to really know how that will play out. As we’ve discussed before, Lang seems in line for a starting role -- somewhere.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • The Packers have flipped the jobs of their strength and conditioning coaches, making Mark Lovat the primary coordinator and Dave Redding the assistant. According to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, that plan was hatched last year when Redding first joined the team.

  • Chicago’s insistence that numerous coaches would be eager to join the team as coordinators created the current anxiety level surrounding the Bears’ search, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.

  • Bears receiver Johnny Knox never thought he would be in the Pro Bowl as a rookie, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Minnesota cornerback Asher Allen could figure prominently in training camp next season because of starter Cedric Griffin’s knee injury, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

  • Via Sportsradiointerviews.com, Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton rips Brett Favre. Again.

  • Detroit right tackle Gosder Cherilus worked with doctors at Wayne State to help them fly to his native country of Haiti to help with relief efforts. Here’s the wire service story, via the Detroit Free Press.

  • John Niyo of the Detroit News heard nothing during the Senior Bowl festivities to suggest the Lions won’t draft a defensive tackle at No. 2 overall.