GREEN BAY, Wis. -- One of the most important roles on the Green Bay Packers' roster is to protect the blind side of the NFL's Most Valuable Player, right-handed quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But, for the first time in more than a decade, the Packers will enter training camp without Chad Clifton as their starting left tackle.
After Clifton was released on April 23 following a failed physical, coach Mike McCarthy no longer had his go-to veteran, the steady presence on the offensive line whose all-important job was to keep Rodgers and Brett Favre before him -- healthy and on his feet in the pocket.
But, with general manager Ted Thompson selecting an offensive tackle in the first round of both the 2010 and 2011 drafts, Green Bay had been preparing for this day to come.
However, even his best-laid plans haven't worked out as expected.
Bryan Bulaga, the 23rd overall pick in 2010, has settled in at right tackle, starting 12 games at that spot in each of his first two NFL seasons. At only...