The Green Bay Packers have struggled to field a healthy roster for the past several years and on Monday they suffered another serious blow. The team announced that left tackle Bryan Bulaga would miss the entire season with a torn ACL.
The team believes Bulaga suffered the injury during Saturday night’s intra-squad scrimmage. Bulaga managed to play 30 snaps before he was pulled with the rest of the starters. He walked around fine in the locker room but later told trainers that his knee didn’t feel right and while Packers officials were hoping it wasn’t a ligament tear, but MRI results confirmed their fears.
While he will go to well-known surgeon Dr. James Andrews for further diagnosis, many believe it will just confirm the torn ACL and end Bulaga’s season.
Bulaga was drafted by the Packers with the 23rd Overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and handed him the starting role protecting the right side in Week 5 and he started every game that season. After starting 33 games at right tackle, Green Bay planned to shift Bulaga over to the left side this season to improve their protection of Aaron Rodgers.
This isn’t Bulaga’s first season-ending injury, he missed the final seven games last season after fracturing his hip against the Arizona Cardinals. While Bulaga was out, rookie Don Barclay started at right tackle for the Packers final six games but was inconsistent.
The Packers offensive line gave up 51 sacks last season and really have struggled the past four years to protect Aaron Rodgers, who has been sacked a league-worst 168 times during that span as @ESPNNFL reported. Green Bay hoped moving Bulaga and right guard Josh Sitton over to the left side would help protect Rodgers but now will have to change their game plan.
Marshall Newhouse has started every game at left tackle for the Packers since Week 4 in 2011 but has struggled to consistently keep pressure off of Rodgers. During training camp this year, Newhouse has been practicing as the starting right tackle but that was before Bulaga got hurt.
The name many will be keeping an eye on now is rookie David Bakhtiari who has started to impress coaches during the offseason. Bakhtiari spent much of his time backing up Bulaga at left tackle, but recently has started challenging Newhouse for the right tackle spot. Now there is a chance both Newhouse and Bakhtiari start for the Packers.
The big concern here is the health of Aaron Rodgers, but even without Bulaga steps can be made to make sure that Rodgers isn’t sacked 50+ times again in 2013. Sitton already improves the left side and if Rodgers can get rid of the ball faster, it can help his offensive linemen out. Losing Bryan Bulaga is a tough blow for the Packers, but it won’t cripple their chances this season.
Filed under: Green Bay Packers