Rookie Lang Shows Promise in Camp

t_j__lang

The Pack’s 4th round pick out of Eastern Michigan is getting a chance to work with the first team thanks to a somewhat unstable O-line situation in Green Bay.  Packers.com posted an update on Lang’s work today.  Here’s an excerpt.

Although T.J. Lang’s work with the No. 1 offensive line on Tuesday morning was due to an injury and some veterans getting rest, the fact that he lined up at left guard after taking most of his snaps to date on the right side speaks to the versatility the rookie lineman brings.

With tackle Chad Clifton and center Scott Wells both sitting out the morning practice as part of their one-a-day schedule as they return from offseason surgeries, combined with left guard Daryn Colledge’s absence due to an bruised thigh, Lang found himself at left guard with the first offense.

“There was one play today I was sitting in the huddle and I looked around and kind of took it all in,” Lang said. “I saw Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant in the huddle, and it kind of made me smile a little bit.
“Also, kind of within me I knew I kind of had to step it up a little bit and I didn’t want to let those guys down. It was fun getting in there with the ones.”

Throughout OTAs, mini-camp, and the first few days of training camp, Lang has worked almost primarily on the right side with the second line at both tackle and guard. He said he didn’t find out that he would be lining up at left guard until Tuesday morning, calling the coaches’ decision a “confidence boost” for him since it was on such short notice.

“We think the kid is a bright kid,” said offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. “Background-wise, he’s got experience at tackle, he’s got experience at guard. We’ve thrown him around at a couple of different positions. We’ve been impressed with his ability to grasp what we have been teaching from a schematic standpoint.

“I think his body type is such that he’s got enough size and hopefully the strength to play inside. He looks like he has some nice feet that he could block some edge people on the outside.”

The 6-foot-4-inch, 316-pound Lang began his college career at Eastern Michigan as a defensive lineman before making the switch to the offensive line prior to his sophomore season.

Lang said he was informed by the Packers coaches immediately after the draft that he would likely see time at tackle and guard, which helped prepare him for OTAs and mini-camp.

“I had that mindset coming in the whole time that I didn’t really know what I was going to play,” said Lang, who was selected by the Packers in the fourth round. “I tried to get in the playbook and really study every position.

“If I looked just at right tackle and they put me in at right guard, I’m going to be out there kind of lost. Just a little extra studying on my part knowing what everybody is supposed to do.”

Lang was accustomed to bouncing around on the offensive line, having started at both left and right tackle in college, but that isn’t quite the same as shifting from tackle to guard.

Although Head Coach Mike McCarthy has spoken throughout the offseason and training camp of his desire to settle in on one line to maintain some stability for the offense, the flexibility Lang offers could provide a nice insurance policy on game days if a starter succumbs to injury.

“I think if I can show them that I can play tackle, right guard, left guard, I think it will help my chance of at least getting a spot on the depth chart,” Lang said. “Just because number-wise, if somebody goes down, I want them to feel comfortable putting me in wherever I need to go. So I definitely think I can use that to my advantage.”


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