Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson rolled the dice at the beginning of this season carrying only one backup offensive lineman with NFL experience. This past Sunday against Arizona that roll of the dice came up “snake eyes.”
Bryan Bulaga, whom many regard as the team’s best overall lineman injured his hip in that game, and was eventually placed on injured reserve.
So what does life without Bulaga look like?
We got a small glimpse against Arizona, and there was not much of a drop-off. However that was only a preview, not the full length feature.
T.J Lang will slide over to right tackle for the rest of the season. While he has been solid at guard, his history at tackle is suspect at best. He started three games at tackle in 2009. He played inconsistently, giving up 5.5 sacks, and by week 5 they were calling Mark Tauscher out of retirement.
Evan Dietrich-Smith’s resume at first glimpse, is even less appealing. His lone career highlight is being the recipient of “the stomp.” In reality, he is an adequate backup, who seems to excel in spots, but has not been tested over the long haul.
After EDS, it gets a lot worse. Don Barclay and Greg Van Roten are both untested rookie free agents, who are yet to step on the field for any meaningful snaps. Derrick Sherrod has returned to practice, but has not had any football-related activity since December of last year, and he wasn’t that good then.
Next man up, right?
It’s not that simple anymore. The overall play of the offensive line had slipped before the Bulaga injury. They have dropped from 18th in overall efficiency in 2011 to 28th this year and have given up 29 sacks, which ties the team for 31st in the NFL.
Also the rest of the schedule is chock full of teams that have elite pass rushers, and can really bring the pressure. In fact, only one team remaining on the schedule (Tennessee) is ranked outside the top 10 in rushing the passer.
Hopefully we can escape these games with a few wins…and a quarterback in one piece