Posted August 05, 2013

Bryan Bulaga injury could put Packers in a bind

Green Bay Packers, NFC North
The Green Bay Packers' Bryan Bulaga missed seven games last season with a hip injury.

The Packers’ Bryan Bulaga (left) missed seven games last season with a hip injury. (G. Newman Lowrance, AP)

The Green Bay Packers, understandably, were not satisfied with Marshall Newhouse’s performance as their starting left tackle in 2012. So, they flip-flopped Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga in preparation for 2013, with Bulaga taking up residence on Aaron Rodgers’ blindside.

Those plans may have gone out the window on Saturday night.

According to The Journal Sentinel‘s Bob McGinn, Bulaga suffered a knee injury during the Packers’ intra-squad scrimmage, one which had the team “hoping for the best while fearing the worst.” The Packers’ concerns apparently were well-founded: Pro Football Talk reported that Bulaga tore his ACL during the scrimmage, an injury which would sideline him for the season.

With just a month until the regular season and the free-agent tackle market picked mostly dry, the Packers could have a serious problem. The obvious move would be to slide Newhouse back to the left side, where he allowed nine sacks and a team-high 33 hurries during the 2012 regular season.

A desirable option, that is not. But Green Bay also does not have much of a Plan B. The other tackles in play for roster spots include rookie David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay. Neither is particularly fit for a starting left tackle job, though Barclay started on the right in Bulaga’s absence last season. Derek Sherrod, another possibility, has not played since breaking his tibia and fibula during the 2011 season.

This is a headache the Packers did not need. Rodgers was sacked more times (51) than any other QB in the league last season, problematic both because of how much that stat hamstrung the offense and because losing Rodgers to injury likely would be a crippling blow to the Packers’ Super Bowl hopes. Green Bay also wanted to churn out more yardage on the ground this season, with rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin arriving. An in-flux or overmatched offensive line, obviously, would limit those opportunities.

GALLERY: The biggest injuries heading into the 2013 season

GM Ted Thompson opted to mostly bypass any upgrades on his O-line this offseason, adding only Bakhtiari and a host of undrafted free agents. (The Packers also hope to get Sherrod and J.C. Tretter back from the PUP list, at some point.)

That decision may be backfiring already.

The Packers did win the division last year, despite Bulaga missing seven games with a fractured hip. Rodgers still completed 67 percent of his passes and threw for nearly 4,300 yards in 2012, too, despite the loss of his starting right tackle.

There’s still no sugar coating how massive a loss this could be for the Packers, especially in a division featuring pass-rushing ends like Julius Peppers, Jared Allen and rookie Ziggy Ansah. Even with Bulaga and Newhouse both entrenched on the left and right sides, respectively, Rodgers was certain to feel some heat.

Now the Packers have to figure out exactly how to move forward, if Bulaga is indeed done for the year. They deemed Newhouse unreliable at left tackle. Putting him back there would be a gamble, to say the least.

13 comments
j7apple
j7apple

Packers ought to start looking at Bulaga as just plain injury  prone.  With this newest injury he will have now been out of the game injured more than he has played since joining the pack in 2010.  No doubt he is good when healthy, but I think the Pack should consider finding someone a bit more dependable each week playing.

Kyle_L.
Kyle_L.

Reports are saying that David Bakhtiari will be replacing Bulaga for now. This could change in the future.

tom50mal
tom50mal

The Packers need to sign a free agent left tackle. There has to be someone out there who's available. If not to step in for Bulaga then at least to add some depth. I don't see J C Tretter returning until late in the season. And Derek Sherrod might not make it back at all. Ted Thompson needs to get his checkbook out.

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

Sucks for Bulaga (wouldn't wish an injury on anyone, even a Packer player).

kotlowski
kotlowski

Wow, ok when we talk about monumental plays we need to talk about Newhouse taking a foot in the face from that human stain called Suh on the way to another championship for THE most successful franchise in the history of American football, the Green Bay Packers.. Honestly, Suh can just get out of the league or go see some help. what a disgrace of a human being. 

I think this article fails to point out how terrible Bulaga was on his own end. He's just a fat baby who walks around like he didn't do anything after he allows a sack. 

I don't think it has much impact on our super bowl chances, in fact I'd take newhouse OVER bulaga any day. 

Yobub
Yobub

Time to see if Van Roten can play LT like he did as all Ivy @ Penn.  

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

As so it begins........

As I stated last week (after I knocked on wood) when discussing the insane amount of injuries affecting the Milwaukee Brewers this year........I was just hoping the jinx wouldn't be on the Packers too. The O-line/D-line and Secondary are a worry this year (no SB run this year, but maybe next year), and now this already. 

Let's hope it doesn't start to pour (rain) out.......

Scramble
Scramble

@tom50mal Looks like the Ravens let McKinnie take the free agent tour at the right time before re-signing him.

TimDwighter
TimDwighter

@kotlowski Foot in the face?  What are you talking about....


It's amazing how delusional Packer fans are...

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

@Richard--Ramirez yeah, so nice to see a guy go down, regardless of the team. hate the team but the guy needs a job, so no one should wish this on anyone....except LEBRON