The unmentionable has officially occurred for the Green Bay Packers.
The offensive line, which has been intact for much of the season, received a blow when it was officially announced today that Bryan Bulaga, the Packers starting right tackle, would be placed on injured reserve, ending his season.
So, with the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers licking their chops to get after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the likelihood is that their chances may have increased with the loss of Bulaga.
However, there are those who may think that Bulaga hadn’t been playing his best ball over the first eight games anyway and the line continued to perform fairly well in the third and fourth quarters when Bulaga went out with a hip injury against the Arizona Cardinals.
When Evan Dietrich-Smith replaced left guard T.J. Lang when he slid over to replace Bulaga, the line continued to play without too much of a drop-off – something they will have to continue to do when they come back out of the bye and play their first game against the Detroit Lions.
No doubt, that group of defensive linemen will be ready to test the Packers.
The good thing is that the Packers have the entire week to get the new players entrenched into their new positions before they head into the final stretch of the season. Just like all the other injuries that have taken starters away from the field, this one is no different. The continuing mantra of “next man up” continues with the offensive line.
Our hope is that any other injuries along the line can be avoided in this crucial stage of the season just when the NFC North Division standings have tightened with the loss by the Bears to the Houston Texans. And the rash of concussions to big-time players – Chicago QB Jay Cutler included – only underscores how injuries are affecting all teams.
This is the time of the season when team depth is a big player with which teams make the playoffs and which advance deep into the tournament and end up in the Super Bowl.
It’s time to buckle down, play hard and win games.