Bryan Bulaga (Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch/ US PRESSWIRE)
Tell me if you have heard this before. A Green Bay Packers offensive lineman has a season ending injury and the entire offensive line has to be revamped. Unfortunately, we are hearing about it yet again. Former first round pick Bryan Bulaga missed 11 games in his first two seasons in the NFL, including the final six games of 2012. After tearing his ACL this past Saturday, the 11 will more than likely rise to 27. Before training camp, head coach Mike McCarthy moved Bulaga from right tackle to left tackle, saying Bulaga was the Packers’ best offensive lineman. Now with Bulaga gone for the season, it’s time for the Packers to play musical chairs with the o-line.
One option for the Packers is to move Marshall Newhouse to left tackle. Newhouse took over for the injured Chad Clifton in 2011 and was the starter at left tackle all last year. But this year the Packers plan was for Newhouse to be the starter at the right tackle position. If that is the case, the Packers could start Don Barclay at left tackle, since he started the final four regular season and the two playoff games for the injured Bulaga. They also could have rookie David Bakhtiari start at left tackle. Bakhtiari has been impressive during the first week of practice, and was competing with Barclay and Newhouse for the right tackle starting job.
The major concern about Bulaga’s injury is the fact that he and Josh Sitton were moved to the left side of the line to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ blind side. Last season, Rodgers was sacked 51 times, which was the most in the league. With Bulaga hurt and 2011 first round pick Derek Sherrod still recovering from a leg injury, the offensive line is very thin and cannot have another starter hurt. Regardless of how healthy the rest of the offensive line stays, one thing is for certain. The Packers must fill the gap left by Bulaga, or Aaron Rodgers is going to take a lot more hits this season.