The sky is not falling over Packers Nation
Bryan Bulaga.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
CREATED Aug. 6, 2013
GREEN BAY - When the news that Bryan Bulaga had torn his ACL and was lost for the season, the news spread faster than the virus the monkey in “Outbreak” was carrying.
The newly anointed protector of Aaron Rodgers blind side, a key component in the master plan Mike McCarthy had constructed for 2013, was suddenly no longer part of the equation.
Bulaga was being moved from right tackle to left tackle, and with G Josh Sitton, was expected to protect the Packers $110 million investment. The shift was done so to put the Packers two best linemen on the same side of the line in an effort to keep Rodgers on his feet more, and prevent him from taking any more hits than he needs to.
The master plan made sense - perhaps too much sense: a move that may have been long overdue, especially considering the beating Rodgers took with Marshall Newhouse at left tackle last year, but a move that was in the best interest of the team for the 2013 season and beyond.
Then, just like that - POOF!
All of the planning, all of the film study, all of the hope that the shift brought, was gone.
For many, the loss of a key player such as Bulaga was seen as a nail in the coffin for the Packers for the coming season.
It made sense. A former first round draft pick who played at a high level on the right side of the line shifting to the left side being taken out of the mix is enough to make anyone worry.
While the loss of Bulaga is going to hurt, it is not going to be enough to cause the cancelation of the 2013 season.
Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy will review every possibility there is in an effort to make up for losing Bulaga. Whether it is rookie David Bakhtiari, Marshall Newhouse, or someone not yet on the team, the brain trust of the Packers will make all of the necessary adjustments necessary to compensate for Bulaga’s injury.
While having Newhouse back on the left side of the line may not be the most ideal solution, the Packers did win 11 games and a division title in 2012 with him anchoring the left side. He has the experience, and could provide the solution for the coming season.
Bakhtiari has become a favorite of the coaching staff. The 4th round draft selection has been solid since joining the Packers, and may get the first crack at claiming the left tackle job according to reports.
If Derek Sherrod is able to finally come all the way back from the devastating leg injury he suffered in 2011, things would be even more optimistic for this season.
Whether that is possible remains to be seen, as he has still not practiced, but he would add another option for the Packers to make up for the loss of Bulaga.
Perhaps this reshifting of the offensive line will cause an even bigger emphasis on the running game. Mike McCarthy said it would be better, “In big letters.” Losing his starting left tackle may make this happen.
Injuries are part of the game of football. They happen every year to every team.
Not every injury happens to a starting offensive lineman in a year when the shift on the O-line was a focus of scrutiny in the off season. Still, losing Bulaga will not cause the Packers to go winless in 2013.
It may have made their path a little more difficult, and cause a few more grey hairs on Thompson and McCarthy, but they will persevere.
Somehow, they always do.