Originally written on Packers Talk Radio Network  |  Last updated 10/20/14
This is the third installment of my “Five Players That Have to be Good” for the Green Bay Packers. My third choice is left tackle Bryan Bulaga.   On May 3, 2013 the news made its way through Packers media outlets that Head Coach Mike McCarthy was going to make sweeping changes on the offensive line.  The unit that allowed MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers to be sacked a league high 51 times is being flipped from left to right, or right to left, or whichever way you want to look at it.  RT Bryan Bulaga, who was placed on injured reserve with a hip injury, is considered the Packers best tackle.   Even though he was considered one of the top up-and-coming right tackles in the league (regardless of what happened in Seattle), Coach McCarthy has decided to switch him to the left side.  Not only that, but he’s bringing the Packers’ best OL, guard Josh Sitton over to the left to team with Bulaga again.  Naturally this puts TJ Lang at Sitton’s old position of RG, creating an open competition at RT between former starters Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay, as well as 2011 1st round pick Derek Sherrod.   Coach McCarthy’s logic certainly seems solid.  He  has decided that his best tackle is Bryan Bulaga, and that his best guard is Josh Sitton.  Aaron Rodgers is right handed, and therefore when he drops back, his two best linemen will be protecting his blind side.  This also allows the slightly bigger, nastier Lang to move to RG.  Evan Dietrich-Smith is ready to step up at C and the competition at RT will elevate the level of play from all involved. Newhouse will have to perform or no longer be a starter, and Barclay will have to refine his craft to the point that he is more than just a mauler in the run game.  Sherrod will have to prove that he is worthy of a roster spot and not a colossal bust.   There is clearly going to be a newfound emphasis on getting people blocked up front this season.  Not only was the line switched but the Packers spent 4 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft on 2 RBs and 2 OL.  Coach McCarthy told us to write it in BIG BOLD LETTERS that they were going to run the ball better this year.  When you consider those personnel investments and add the fact that the only unrestricted free agent Ted Thompson signed was blocking tight end Matthew Mulligan, it’s clear that the Packers are focused on the trenches.   While this all sounds well and good, it really is dependent on the success of Bryan Bulaga.  If Bulaga can become the blindside protector that Chad Clifton was, starting down pass rushers like Jared Allen and Julius Peppers and playing them to a standstill, this move will be genius.  If Bulaga struggles, and offers nothing more or little more than Newhouse did, then McCarthy may have moved the strengths of the line (the guards and Bulaga at RT) out of their preferred positions without benefitting the team.  It’s a dangerous gamble.   Bulaga, the Packers 1st round pick in 2010, was a pleasant surprise for Packers fans at the 23rd pick, having been projected as high as 5th to the Kansas City Chiefs by some draftniks.  Bulaga was an All-Big Ten selection at Iowa, and the league’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2009.  His biggest perceived limitation didn’t come until the NFL Combine, where it was discovered that his arms measured only 33¼”.  The thought was that with arms that length, Bulaga would be limited to playing right tackle.  His length wouldn’t allow him to get his hands on the league’s elite pass rushers who often rush from the quarterback’s blind side.   Talking to Bulaga about his arm length became about as popular as talking to Aaron Rodgers about the Packers’ offseason workout program during the lockout year, or his height.   “I never really got myself in a position where I thought, ‘Gosh, I wish my arms were longer..’”  Bulaga quipped to the Des Moines Register during his pre-draft process.   I understand that it will be important for Lang and Sitton to adjust to their new roles and thrive in them.  I also understand that whoever wins the RT job needs to be able to hold up against the pass and provide a decent push in the running game.  This complete switch of the offensive line is going to come down to whether or not Bryan Bulaga can acquit himself as an above average starter at left tackle.  If that happens, everything else will fall into place.  If it doesn’t happen there’s a chance that you could have a disastrous performance from a line, even when healthy, was giving up sacks “left and right”.   Bryan Bulaga has to be good. --------------------- Ross Uglem is a writer at PackersTalk.com. You can follow Ross on twitter at rug_PhD12 ---------------------

LSU fan dies at end of win over Ole Miss

Giants surge past Royals to even World Series

Mich. St. upset with Michigan over spear planted on field

TCU puts up 82 points in win over Texas Tech

Agent: Joe Maddon prepared to sit out season if need be

Report: Chandler Jones could miss rest of season


Report: Army football enticed recruits with alcohol, women

Report: Kobe viewed Dwight Howard's departure as 'positive'

Lions suspend CJ Mosley, send him home from London

Federal judge blocks New Jersey sports betting law

Report: Bucs sign Gerald McCoy to seven-year extension

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans about booing

WATCH: Kansas St. fans chant 'We own Texas!'

WATCH: Chris Fowler rips 'stupid' fans over ESPN-SEC bias

WATCH: 5-year-old fan cries over Zdeno Chara's injury

LSU knocks off No. 3 Ole Miss

Miss. St. returns onside kick for TD in win over Kentucky

Bad idea: Couple goes blackface for Ray Rice Halloween costume

WATCH: Kentucky DB Blake McClain lays out Miss. St. WR

WATCH: Dwyane Wade videobombs himself

PHOTO: Blue Jackets forward came real close to losing his eye

WATCH: 350-pound Arkansas lineman throws TD pass

Penn State fans blew air horns outside Ohio State's hotel?

WATCH: Oregon's Charles Nelson has impressive punt return TD

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

WATCH: Fowler rips 'stupid' fans

Maddon prepared to sit out season

MSU upset with Michigan over spear

Couple in Ray Rice Blackface costume

Report: Army enticed recruits with alcohol, women

Penn State fans blew air horn at Ohio State players' hotel?

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.