49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) rushes Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) as tackle Marshall Newhouse (center) blocks during the first quarter of the NFC divisional round playoff game at Candlestick Park. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Replacing Bryan Bulaga: There are several options

Bulaga's season is over

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga is reportedly out for the season. What now? Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Green Bay Packers have been looking to improve the blindside of Aaron Rodgers after Marshall Newhouse didn’t seem to cut it in 2012.

The Packers’ plan was to move Bryan Bulaga over to left tackle because he had proven to be one of the few good players on the offensive line. The Packers seemed to have finally found the answer at left tackle for which Packers’ fans had been waiting.

Of course, the Packers’ left tackle hopes for 2013 are dead with it now seeming like Bulaga’s season is over due to a torn ACL. The loss of Bulaga really affects the Packers’ plans in 2013 and probably will make all Green Bay fans more nervous due to the fact that Aaron Rodgers’ protection will be weaker.

So, what might the Packers do now that Bulaga is gone?

Who plays at left tackle?

First, the Packers are going to have to figure out who to put at left tackle and Marshall Newhouse could very well get a second chance. Newhouse has had some solid games before and as a young player (he turns 25 at the end of September) gives Newhouse time to continue to develop and improve.

Newhouse’s experience at the position makes him the safest bet to go at left tackle, but not the only option.

If the Packers decide to take a risk, they could look at some of the players still available in free agency and go after veteran Jammal Brown.

Brown would bring experience to an offensive line that has no players that are older than 27 entering training camp. Brown has played left tackle for a championship team when he was with the Saints protecting Drew Brees’s blindside on the way to winning Super Bowl XLIV. Brown has aged some and may not be the same player, but he does have the potential to be a quality fill-in for one season.

David Bakhtiari might end up starting at right tackle

David Bakhtiari (left) works out during the Green Bay Packers rookie orientation weekend. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

What happens at right tackle?

If Marshall Newhouse moves back over to left tackle as most people expect, then Green Bay will have a huge battle for the right tackle starting job. Derek Sherrod will be entering his third season in Green Bay and this might be the best chance Sherrod has had in his career to prove he can be a starting offensive tackle.

Many people have wanted the Packers to move Sherrod inside but the Packers would be smart to give the former first round pick a good shot at right tackle.

Rookie David Bakhtiari gained plenty of experience while he was at Colorado and seems like another viable candidate. Bakhtiari had some potential to go higher in the 2013 NFL Draft and is proving in Packers’ camp that he could have. Bakhtiari was already battling for the chance to start at right tackle but the door of opportunity has opened even more with Bulaga’s injury. The big question? Will Bakhtiari be able to take advantage of this opportunity?

Of course, the Packers could bring in some veteran free agents to challenge for the job and Jammal Brown could also challenge to start at right tackle. Jared Gaither has also shown in the past that he can be a dominating force and he might just be able to do that over a full season at right tackle. Of course, Ted Thompson has never been a big fan of signing free agents, so don’t expect Brown or Gaither to end up in Green Bay.

So, Packers fans, here’s your chance to play coach – what do you think the Packers should do to replace Bryan Bulaga?

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Tags: Bryan Bulaga David Bakhtiari Derek Sherrod Green Bay Packers Marshall Newhouse

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