4

August

Packers News: Report: Bryan Bulaga Suffers Knee Injury

Here we go again. Bryan Bulaga may miss 2013 with an apparent knee injury

The Green Bay Packers may have already suffered their first major injury of 2013 and they have yet to play a preseason game.

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting via Twitter that left tackle Bryan Bulaga suffered a knee injury during Saturday’s Family Night scrimmage and that the injury could be severe.  According to McGinn, the team is “hoping for the best but fearing the worst.”  If the worst case scenario comes to fruition, Bulaga will be on injured reserve for a second straight season.

It’s unclear which knee Bulaga injured, but if it’s the same leg as his hip injury from last season then there could be some long-term repercussions for Bulaga.  As the Packers’ best offensive lineman on a newly revamped line, this injury could prove devastating for Green Bay.

As for what the Packers will do in Bulaga’s absence, there are some options but none of them are really good scenarios. Marshall Newhouse could move to the left tackle position he held last year and let David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay battle it out for the right tackle job.  They could also try Bakhtiari at left tackle and keep Barclay on the right.   With Barclay entering his second year and Bakhtiari a rookie, neither of these situations are ideal.

Part of the Packers’ reasoning for shuffling the offensive line this offseason was to shore up protection of Aaron Rodgers’ blind side. That meant moving Bulaga to left tackle, which is where he played in college.  Unfortunately, it looks like he may have to wait to play that position at the professional level.

For now, it will be a waiting game until official word on Bulaga comes down. Coach Mike McCarthy made no mention of this after Saturday’s scrimmage so everyone is truly in the dark for the time being.

If the report is true then the Packers may be in for another battle with the injury bug in 2013.  After injuries decimated the roster last season, this is not the news Packers fans have been waiting for.

Buckle up, Packer Nation. It may be yet another bumpy ride for the Green and Gold.

7

October

Packers: Bryan Bulaga Misses Friday Practice, Marshall Newhouse Likely to Start at RT

Green Bay Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle, knee) was a no-show at Friday practice, which would seem to indicate that second-year player Marshall Newhouse will get his second career NFL start at right tackle on Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday that Bulaga’s playing status for Sunday was riding on whether or not he go during today’s practice.

This came from McCarthy’s post-practice press conference yesterday:

“If (Bulaga) doesn’t practice tomorrow he’s not going to play. That’s where we are with Bryan. He’ll see the doctor tomorrow morning, just like we always do.”

If we are to believe McCarthy at his word, and there’s no reason not to, then Bulaga will be inactive on Sunday night and Newhouse will start.

You would have considered an injury to one of the tackles as a catastrophic break heading into the season, but Newhouse has been better than expected in the two games he’s appeared. The Packers weren’t forced to deviate their offensive gameplan in Chicago after Bulaga left with ankle and knee injuries, and the two sacks that Von Miller created last week didn’t fall directly on Newhouse’s shoulders. Newhouse was beat on one, but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did him no favors by running into the sack. On the other, a blown screen play resulted in an easy take down of Rodgers after the Broncos diagnosed the screen.

Newhouse will get another tall task on Sunday, as the Falcons can throw veteran pass rushers John Abraham and Ray Edwards at him on the right side. When the Packers lineup in three- and four-wide sets, or obvious passing downs, it’s likely that Atlanta will want Abraham against Newhouse.

Needless to say, it’s a matchup worth watching this weekend. Rodgers was Houdini in the pocket in January against the Falcons when he threw for over 360 yards and had four total scores, and he might need to be that clever again Sunday night with Bulaga missing his second straight contest.

UPDATE: McCarthy ruled out Bulaga for Sunday during his Friday press conference.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.