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Barbre promises to close the gate

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Associated Press
September 18, 2009
— After struggling in his debut as Green Bay’s starting right tackle, Allen Barbre knows he might as well have a target painted on the “78” on his chest going into Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Show weakness to an opposing defensive coordinator, and he’s bound to come right at you.


But after beating himself up about his disappointing debut against Chicago on Sunday night, Barbre is ready to move on and remains confident he can be an NFL starter.


“They’re probably saying some things about me, they can exploit me and whatnot,” Barbre said Thursday. “But I feel like if I go out there and play with technique, I feel like I can beat anybody.”


Barbre, a third-year player out of Missouri Southern who was taken by the Packers in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, won the job in training camp.


That puts him in the unenviable position of replacing long-standing Packers right tackle Mark Tauscher, who anchored the right side of the line for nearly a decade before a knee injury late last season.


The Packers did not re-sign Tauscher, though general manager Ted Thompson never completely ruled out the possibility of bringing him back.


After a decent performance in the preseason, 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.”


Coaches and Rodgers expressed support for Barbre this week, making it clear that his was just one of many flawed performances by the Packers’ offense. They beat the Bears, of course, but only after they were bailed out by Rodgers with a go-ahead, 50-yard touchdown pass with 1:11 left in the game.


“You know, everybody’s been real supportive,” Barbre said. “I’ve licked my wounds and I’ve moved on. Now I’m looking to play against Cincinnati.”


Packers offensive line coach James Campen said Barbre has had a good week of practice and expects him to bounce back.


“You never, ever want a game like that—no one does, for that matter,” Campen said. “But he’s not the first guy to have a game like that.”


Campen said Barbre’s teammates have offered support this week, talking about their own past struggles. Campen was part of the conversation, too, recalling a “miserable” game he played for the Packers against the San Francisco 49ers in the early 1990s.


“I just believe you get into a tough position and when something happens, you don’t go run and (cower) from it,” Campen said. “I know that I was proud of the fact that (Barbre) was accountable to it. I mean, after the game he spoke about it, got it off his chest, didn’t go run and hide from it, and I think that was excellent for him. That tells you a guy is accountable to me.”


Sunday’s sluggish performance aside, the Packers are expected have one of the NFL’s most productive offenses this season. And Barbre knows that if he and the rest of the line are playing the way they can, they will be.


“I think we’re unstoppable,” Barbre said. “We beat ourselves. We didn’t lose, of course, but we shoot ourselves in the foot. That’s our biggest enemy.”


NOTES


n LG Daryn Colledge left Thursday’s practice with a foot sprain. “I don’t think it’s serious,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.


n WR Greg Jennings (wrist) and K Mason Crosby (abdomen) were limited in Thursday’s practice. RB Brandon Jackson (ankle) continued to sit out practice.


n Packers LB Nick Barnett and his wife are taking German language lessons at nearby St. Norbert College in preparation for the arrival of their German au pair next week. “My wife’s always trying to open me up to different cultures and different stuff,” Barnett said. “We plan on going to Europe soon, so I thought it would be fun to actually know a little bit.”



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