Thursday, October 08, 2009
An update on Allen Barbre
(The following is my column for this week's Newton County News.)
The most-watched program in cable television history was shown Monday and an East Newton High School graduate was right in the middle of it.
Nielsen ratings indicate that when Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre guided his new team to a 30-23 win over his old team, the Green Bay Packers, 21.8 million viewers watched. That was 3.2 million more than the previous high, the $18.6 million who watched the Sept. 15, 2008, NFL matchup of the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
Favre’s first matchup with the Packers, coming two years after they pushed him aside in favor of Aaron Rodgers was the most compelling story for most of those who tuned in, but it was not the big story for people in this neck of the woods.
After serving two years as an understudy, East Newton High School and Missouri Southern State University standout Allen Barbre moved into the Packers’ starting lineup this season and the new role has not been easy for him.
After a strong preseason, Barbre’s problems began in the opener against the division rival Chicago Bears. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
“Barbre found himself lined up against Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye and he certainly got the worst of it.
“Ogunleye had two sacks in the first half, and put plenty more pressure on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Barbre played better in the second half, but the damage to his reputation was done.
“ ‘I was disappointed in myself, of course,’ Barbre said. ‘Why wouldn’t I be? If you’re not, you don’t belong in this game. You’ve got to expect things out of yourself, more than what somebody else expects. Now I’ve moved on and I’m ready to play.’ “
The second and third games of the year were better for Barbre, who was a fourth-round pick in the 2007 draft, but then came the return of Favre, who was Barbre’s teammate during his rookie season.
While Favre was getting expert protection from the Viking offensive line, the same could not be said for the opposing quarterback. The Viking defense pressured Aaron Rodgers the entire game, sacking him eight times.
And though Barbre only gave up one tackle and one quarterback hit, his starting position may soon be challenged by the man who held the spot last season.
Green Bay media are reporting that the Packers are close to signing Mark Tauscher, a veteran tackle who did not receive a contract offer this year because he was recuperating from an injury. Reportedly, Tauscher is healthy and ready to return.
The following item was included in the Packer Report on the Fox Sports website:
“With a bye, Tauscher has two weeks to get ready for the Week 6 home game against Detroit. McCarthy, however, said Tauscher will not just be handed the starting job.
“ ‘He needs to come in and go through practice and so forth,’ McCarthy. ‘At some point, he’ll have an opportunity to compete at right tackle, but Allen Barbre is still the starting right tackle.’ “
The article notes that Barbre’s play has been much improved since the nightmare game with the Bears.
“ ‘Absolutely. He sure has,”’(Offensive Line Coach James) Campen said of Barbre’s play improving since allowing two first-quarter sacks against the Rams. ‘Just his overall awareness. The fact that he hasn’t had mental errors or anything of that nature. With each experience that he goes out and does it, he gets more familiar and gets better balance in his game.’ “