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.——————
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.