Barclay's focus on improvement, not tackle competition

Jun. 1, 2013
 

Don Barclay didn’t make the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie out of West Virginia by trying to be somebody he’s not.

So why would the mentality for the 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman change now in the wake of a surprisingly productive rookie season in 2012?

After being one of four college free agents to make the Packers’ roster last season, the 24-year-old Barclay ended up seeing more action than anyone anticipated in the wake of starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga’s season-ending hip injury against Arizona on Nov. 4.

An injury to Bulaga’s replacement, T.J. Lang, forced Barclay into the starting lineup a month later during a Dec. 2 tilt against Minnesota.

Barclay held his own en route to earning his first start at right tackle the following week against Chicago and never looked back.

The Packers’ reshuffled their offensive line after the season, positioning a healthy Bulaga at left tackle and leaving his starting post at right tackle up for the taking.

Based on the team’s first two organized team activity practices, the Packers are going to give fourth-year tackle Marshall Newhouse the first shot to lock down the job, but Barclay and 2013 fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari will have their chance, as well.

“It’s the same approach it was last year,” said Barclay, who put an emphasis on improving his footwork and balance this offseason.

“You’re out here fighting every day and every rep you get is a plus. He’s moving a lot of people around right now, so you just have to approach it the same way I did last year. But it is easier having the year under my belt and knowing the offense better. You can visualize stuff and makes it easier to put you in the right position.”

Meanwhile, Barclay is back to what earned him a roster spot in the first place – versatility.

In the first pair of OTA practices open to the media, Barclay has lined up everywhere from tackle, guard and even a rep with as a second-team center where he last played in camp his freshman year at West Virginia.

During last Tuesday’s practice, Barclay received some work with the first-team offense at right tackle, but right now isn’t reading too much into matters.

“To be honest with you, I don’t care,” said Barclay of where he lines up. “As long as I can contribute and help the team out wherever the coaches put me, I’ve played multiple positions growing up. In college, I played guard and tackle and when I got here I played it, too. I’ve snapped the ball a little bit. Anywhere I can help out.”

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