Don Barclay may not be a starting offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers when the season begins but chances are at some point Barclay will find his way into the lineup.
That’s because while Barclay may not be the Packers’ most talented offensive lineman he is certainly their most versatile; and for a backup offensive lineman, nothing brings more value than the type of versatility that makes you a potential candidate to sub for all five starters.
Especially when you consider that in the NFL injuries are a certainty that must be dealt with and there is no better way of getting prepared for injuries then train a player to backup five different positions.
That is exactly what Barclay could be this season for the Packers. In Green Bay’s first OTA session last week, Barclay was taking snaps at right tackle for Bryan Bulaga, who is still recovering from an ACL injury. Tuesday, Barclay was at left guard for Josh Sitton, who was also nursing an injury.
When asked about Barclay, head coach Mike McCarthy had this to say according to ESPN.com: “Donny has the ability to potentially play five positions on the offensive line. I don’t know how many guys you can say that about.”
That kind of versatility may not seem like a big deal but from a coach’s perspective, a player who can backup five different positions is invaluable. Trying to decide what 46 players to put on the active roster each week is difficult and in some cases only seven offensive lineman dress on game day.
The NFL is a game oriented around passing, which means more defensive backs and skill players are needed than ever before and being able to only dress seven offensive lineman because you have one that can backup five spots could mean dressing an extra receiver, cornerback or linebacker.
Depth is tremendously important in today’s NFL and with a 16-game regular season that is a war of attrition, it’s needed more than ever. If a team is going to be successful and compete for the Super Bowl, quality depth isn’t just nice to have it’s a required.
Packer fans know as well as anyone that injuries strike without mercy in professional football and the team’s that can overcome are the ones that win.
Therefore, Cheeseheads everywhere should rest easy that Green Bay has a player like Barclay on its depth chart because versatile players aren’t a dime a dozen which is what makes Barclay so valuable.