What the Heck is Wrong with Bryan Bulaga?

Bryan Bulaga

Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga has struggled this season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga has allowed 18 quarterback hurries, three sacks and three hits through the first five games.

In 12 games last season, Bulaga allowed 21 hurries, one sack and two hits.

I’m no math whiz, but after crunching those numbers, Bulaga has already allowed the same number of hurries, sacks and hits through five games in 2012 that he allowed in 12 games in 2011.

So what the heck is going on? Bulaga was one of the buzz players entering training camp. He was pegged as a player with the chance at going from good to great.

Injury report
Could he be hurt? Bulaga popped up on the injury report with knee trouble, and perhaps the injury is more serious than the Packers are letting on. That’s pure speculation, but given the way he’s played so far, it’s a definite possibility.

At this point, I almost hope he’s playing hurt. I don’t want to believe that the Packers once promising first-round draft pick at tackle has taken a turn for the worst and is going from good to not-so-good. If he’s playing hurt, there’s hope that he’ll get healthy and get back to playing at a high level again.

If he’s just regressing, well, that’s scary. That gives the Packers two first-round draft picks at tackle who are shaky at best (Derek Sherrod being the other). First-round draft picks are precious commodities. It’s tough to be a successful team if you whiff on your first pick in consecutive drafts.

More numbers
The other Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t much better for Bulaga.

His overall grade for the season is -8, -7.4 on pass blocks and -1.1 on run blocks. Bulaga’s overall grade was 22.3 in 2011, 12.8 on pass blocking and 9.1 on run blocks. Penalties are also popping up. Bulaga already has been flagged three times this season after only drawing six flags in 2011.

Roll the tape
If numbers aren’t your thing, check out this video evidence:


God gave us two hands. Offensive lineman need to use both of them.

Bruce Irvin gets into Bulaga’s body and makes his move because Bulaga is way late on getting his hands up. If Bulaga, who outweighs Irvin by at least 75 pounds, gets his hands on Irvin, he’ll win the battle much more often than he won’t.



NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia

Bruce Irvin NFL Draft Profile

Bruce Irvin, OLB West Virginia

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Bruce Irvin

Player information:

  • Bruce Irvin, OLB West Virginia
  • 6-foot-3, 245lbs
  • Teammates claim he has run a sub 4.4 40 yard dash

NFL Combine:

  • 4.50 40yd dash
  • 4.03 20 yard shuttle
  • 6.7 3-cone drill
  • 10.25′ long jump
  • 33.5″ vertical jump
  • 23 bench press reps

News & Notes:

Irvin dropped out of High School as a junior and spent 2 years on the streets caught up in the seamy world of drug dealing and robberies. Was arrested and spent a few weeks in jail, where a friend pleaded with him to not waste the physical gifts he was blessed with. Irvin turned his life around, got his GED and enrolled at Mt. San Antonio Junior College. After a season where he recorded 16 sacks, Irvin transferred to West Virginia and spent two seasons there.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post):  A gifted athlete who has the initial burst to routinely reach the edge. However, lacks ideal size and doesn’t have a real sophisticated pass rushing repertoire. Is going to make the move to a 34 OLB at the next level and might need a little time. Reminds me some of the Chris Clemons.

Chad Reuter (CBS Sports):    Despite his lack of experience, Irvin’s athleticism and toughness should give him a chance to be a pass rusher as a 3-4 linebacker at the next level, or possibly a defensive end for the handful of NFL 4-3 teams not minding his lack of size. If he answers questions about his past to NFL scouts’ satisfaction, they may decide to take a chance on his potential in either role with an early-round selection.

NFL.com (Combine): Bruce is a compelling prospect whose athletic ability is as unique as his path to the NFL. An electrifying pass rusher who will fit as either a specialist DE or an OLB in a 3-4 scheme, Irvin uses a flurry of moves and his uncanny athletic ability to maneuver his undersized frame around and through offensive linemen to produce massive sack production in his limited views at West Virginia. A player who is hampered by his size and amount of snaps taken at a high level, Irvin should be selected within the first two rounds of the draft by a team looking for a boost in their ability to get to the quarterback.