Mike McCarthy expects better pass protection

Ryan Wood
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Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) battles tackle David Bakhtiari (69) during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field.

GREEN BAY - Hardly a week passed last season without Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers being harassed in the pocket, and coach Mike McCarthy noticed.

“Well, McCarthy said Monday, “46 sacks is not what we’re looking for.”

Actually, the Packers allowed 47 sacks. Fifth most in the NFL. But who’s counting?

Injuries decimated the Packers' offensive line by the end of last year. Each starter missed at least one game because of injury, except left guard Josh Sitton. He had to play left tackle in the Packers' regular-season finale, with starter David Bakthiari missing three late-season games.

Sacks mounted as the offensive line fluctuated. After allowing a combined total of three sacks in their first three games, they allowed multiple sacks in each of their final 13. Their problems worsened without Bakhtiari, and they allowed 14 sacks combined in the final two games.

It’s hard for a quarterback to find rhythm — and an offense to consistently move the football — when he’s under that much pressure.

“I mean, it didn’t help,” McCarthy said. “There’s no doubt about it.”

The Packers have not yet had their entire starting offensive line together this offseason. Center Corey Linsley remains on the physically unable to perform list because of a hamstring injury, and right guard T.J. Lang just got off the PUP list after missing the start of camp after shoulder surgery.

McCarthy thinks the shuffled lineup could be beneficial down the road, especially if injuries decimate his offensive line again this fall.

“I think you’re seeing a little bit of the rotation going on through training camp,” McCarthy said, “but the good thing about it is you’re getting a number of different guys ready. There’s a lot of guys getting opportunities. But at some point you’d like to rep those five guys and get their symmetry in place to start the season.” and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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