Packers, Campen keep the faith in Barclay

Packers, Campen keep the faith in Barclay

After Don Barclay’s abysmal performance at left tackle on Sunday, his quarterback was mindful of the words he chose.

“Don’s going to be more of a right tackle and a backup guard for us and a guy we can really count on,” Aaron Rodgers said after Barlcay allowed him to be sacked twice – including once for a safety – during the Green Bay Packers’ preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that afternoon. “He’s played a lot of snaps for us over the years. He’s started a playoff game. He’s a guy we can count on.

“We have a lot of confidence in Donnie. This is just his progression back into feeling comfortable.”

Notice that while the NFL MVP was talking up his teammate – a lot of confidencea guy we can count on – that he never mentioned the idea of Barclay playing left tackle, which was his position Barclay was playing against the Steelers with starter David Bakhtiari (knee) sidelined. Packers coach Mike McCarthy pulled Rodgers from the game after the safety, having seen him get hit hard on his right (throwing) hand. In addition, left guard Josh Sitton had suffered an ankle injury.

Pro Football Focus has graded 119 offensive tackles this preseason. Barclay, who missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered during training camp, is currently No. 118 with a minus-9.5 grade.

“He struggled the last two games, no question,” offensive line coach James Campen acknowledged. “He struggled. Again, just like last week, the guy’s playing off an ACL. I have all the confidence in the world that he’ll play [better]. He’ll get back to being Donnie. He will. Just give him a chance. We’ve got two more preseason games, and that’s a blessing.”

Rodgers is not expected to play much – if at all – in Saturday night’s third preseason game against Philadelphia, in part because the Packers will not only be without Bakhtiari, but without Sitton and right guard T.J. Lang (concussion) as well.

Asked earlier in the week if he’d try out other options at left tackle, Packers coach Mike McCarthy replied, “Ah, we’ll see.” Others who could play there are former practice-squad players Josh Walker and Jeremy Vujnovich.

“You don’t ever make excuses for players, and I never have. When you wear the helmet and you get asked to do the job, you have to do the job,” Campen said. “Donnie will come back from two performances like that. I have all the confidence in the world in that.”