Chad Clifton: Under the Radar

by Sean Hackbarth

ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli put Green Bay Packers left tackle Chad Clifton on his “Under the Radar” team. He writes,

A seven-year veteran, Clifton rarely gets a nod when the subject turns to great left tackles, but the Green Bay stalwart has quietly carved out an excellent, if underappreciated, career as Brett Favre’s blindside body guard. Clifton is technically proficient as a pass protector, extends well to ward off rushers and has deceptively quick feet. Green Bay typically ranks in the top 10 in the fewest sacks allowed, and Clifton, who has 89 career starts, is a big reason why.

Let me praise him as a run blocker. Clifton, along with right tackle Mark Tauscher, are holdovers from the dominating offensive line of the Mike Sherman era. In 2004 the line that included Clifton, Tauscher, Dallas Cowboy guard Marco Rivera, Carolina Panther guard Mike Wahle, and Houston Texan center Mike Flanagan helped the Packers rush for 2558 yards, third in the league. In 2004 the team rushed for 1908 yards. It was a drop, but it still ranked 10th in the NFL. Right now, the Packers are only 20th in rushing. However, we’ve seen the promise of head coach Mike McCarthy’s zone blocking scheme. The Packers had a 100+ yard rusher in four straight games, and against Arizona both Ahman Green and Vernand Morency crossed the century mark. Being able to effectively change blocking technique is an indication of Clifton’s talent.

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