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

  • Mike Brand

    i hope dbak gets the lt he was practicing as bulagas back up anyway so why not just let him do it and gain experience

    • Dan

      Completely agree with Mike. If Bulaga is out, Bakhtiari at LT and let Newhouse and Barclay compete at RT. If Sherrod returns let him be a reserve at tackle.

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  • Bubba

    Don Barclay??

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  • Alan Tindell

    Don Barclay played well last year. He’s earned a shot at the starting position

  • Pack Fan

    Considering Newhouse to move back to the left could be a crucial blow to the survival of Aaron Rodgers. Newhouse was responsible for the majority of sacks that A-rod received in 2012. His inability to quickly turn a corner and defend has proven that he should stay on the right, at least this gives the Packers the best chance of pass protection. I would like to see Bakhtiari get a chance, let’s give him the reps in preseason games and evaluate.

  • Mark Kreutzfeld

    He’s been injured three years in a row now. Not even out of camp and already two OL are out with injuries. What will it take for a change in the S&C staff, they’re obviously not getting it done.

    • David Hofstedt

      Exactly, been saying it since 2010. Worst conditioned team in NFL. That starts and ends with the S & C Staff. Not only that, their team doctors are the worst! How many times have we heard he’ll be out a week or two and is still out 5 weeks later.

  • Mark Kreutzfeld

    Move Newhouse back to LT and look at Barclay, Young, or perhaps Andrew Datko who is something of a wild card. Datko showed ability at Florida State. It would be nice to Sherrod in the mix, but who knows if his career, barely started, is over. Regardless, they need to sign bodies at OL with their uncommon injury rates.

  • Dan

    Go with Bakhiari at LT. He’s looked good so far and has a chip on his shoulder. Barclay and Newhouse battle it out at RT with Sherrod a wild card for RT if he can come back from his injury.

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  • Tom

    Time for Teddy Boy to get familiar with the free agent market.

  • RayRivard

    Love the discussion, folks. It will be surely interesting to see in which direction the Packers move. I see Bakhtiari getting a shot, but you know how MM likes the safe picks. I see him look at Newhouse back on the left side, but I hope he has a quick hook for him.

  • Rob

    They should probably just send a bunch of 2014 draft picks to the Vikings for any one of their backups, since they’re all better than the Packers’ starters.

  • David Hofstedt

    Sign a fricken Free Agent Thompson. It’s absurd that Ted T refuse’s to even consider it. Every team goes out and finds pieces via Free Agency. Don’t build the team, add a piece here and there. Either that or protect your 112 million dollar man with Newhouse . That’s worked well in the past. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Goldwater Republican

    Sherrod has the same injury that cost Scott Wells two and a half years out. Sherrod is probably not an option now. Watch Bakhtiari’s footwork. He is going to be a force. I hope it begins this year. Do not believe the hype about a weak offensive line. There is depth. TJ Lang handled Jarred Allen when he was forced in at left tackle two years ago. Put the best five out there and use the run game to slow the pass rush. The best defense against sacks are screens and draws. Remember last year that Bulaga was injured. The offense didn’t lose the playoff game. I take issue with the poster who lames the strength and conditioning coaches. Tretter broke his ankle. Bulaga has ACL problem. Strength and conditioning? There is no need to panic.