Packers Throw Bulaga In Mix At Left Guard

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Bulaga may be starting sooner than we thought.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is nothing if not consistent.

Every year, he speaks of the importance of continuity along the offensive line and then shuffles guys all over the place once training camp starts in order to assure there will be no continuity.

True to form, the Packers moved first-round draft choice Bryan Bulaga from left tackle to left guard for the first time today. Previously, McCarthy said Bulaga would only play left tackle, the position he played at Iowa.

Left guard was supposed to be an open competition between Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz coming into camp, but — hold for the surprise — Spitz has been playing multiple positions along the line and doesn’t seem to be getting a legitimate shot to unseat Colledge. The competition was presumably down to Colledge and Allen Barbre, who was a failure at right tackle last season.

Now, Bulaga is in the mix. After starting with the No. 2 unit, Bulaga rotated with Colledge on the No. 1 unit at left guard during today’s practice.

After practice, Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Bulaga had earned the right to compete for the starting LG position.

This is interesting for a number of reasons.

First, it doesn’t say much about the Packers confidence in Colledge, who had a terrible season last year as the starter, but seems to be handling himself fine thus far during camp. If the coaching staff does lack confidence in Colledge, you have to wonder why they didn’t give Spitz — who started at right guard two seasons ago and played well — a legitimate shot at unseating Colledge.

Second, if Bulaga has earned the right to compete for a starting job, why isn’t he competing for it at his natural left tackle position? Chad Clifton is 34 years old and missed four games last season. Even when he can stay on the field, he isn’t exactly the solid-as-a-rock left tackle he used to be.

On the second point, I can understand if the Packers just want to get their five best linemen on the field. Then Bulaga should get a shot at winning a starting job somewhere if it’s been determined he is one of the top five.

At the same time, Bulaga was drafted to play left tackle. Spending time and reps at left guard only hinders his growth and understanding at tackle.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and what the ramifications are.

Hell, it’s still early in training camp, but you would think by now, McCarthy would have learned to take his own advice.

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About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

11 Comments on "Packers Throw Bulaga In Mix At Left Guard"

  1. Al Borland's Beard

    It would be pretty early to give up on his chances as an LT, I’m guessing it’s more with them trying to get their best five on the field. But I’m hoping they don’t stick with this, if he’s going to be the future LT then stick him at that and let him learn for a year.

  2. Bogmon

    Let’s not get too excited about all of this…
    It is still early in camp. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the Packers move on from Colledge altogether. I’m not sure he has the ability to play consistently enough to be a starter on this caliber of a team and his penchant for timely penalties drives me absolutely nuts.
    Why not see what Baluga {sic} can do in some real situtations. He seems game ready to me…give the young man a shot!

  3. AJ

    I think 90% of Packer Fans saw this coming. When Cliffy breaks down Bulaga can step in. Every game Cliffy starts is a bonus. Colledge just hasn’t shown anything up to this point.

  4. jeremy

    Bulaga started out at LG in College before moving to LT. It didn’t hurt him there so it’s doubtful it will hurt him now. Let’s not confuse him with Colledge, who doesn’t have the same skills.

    • Al Borland's Beard

      You’re probably right, but I think there is a pretty significant increase in skill between college defenders and NFL defenders. I would prefer we let him sit and learn the position for as long as possible then when the time is right, throw him in.

      • Brett Favre

        There’s definitely and argument for that.

        However, I can also see why McCarthy wants to get Colledge off of the field. It sure would be nice to be able to run on the left side this year. Packers DVOA rank running in the Middle, Right Tackle, and Right End was 1, 12, and 4. At the Left Tackle and Left End it was 30 and 24. Huge difference.

      • Brett Favre

        Also, what if Clifton plays two more seasons? It could happen. And then Bulaga would be wasted on the bench for the sake of Colledge. Yuck!

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