A huge blow to the Green Bay Packers during their annual Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field on Saturday night, the team reportedly has lost offensive tackle Briyan Bulaga to a torn ACL during the intra-squad event. Already a thing offensive line, losing a man expected to be a key contributor is certainly not what the doctor ordered this early in the season.
The team’s first round draft pick in 2010, Bulaga was expected to take over the left tackle position this season after previously playing on the right side. Last season Bryan Bulaga suffered a hip injury mid-season and forced the offensive line to adapt quickly. The silver lining this year for the Packers is that Bulaga is injured for the season right away, giving them nearly all of training camp to find a suitable replacement.
If the Green Bay Packers want to return to the Super Bowl this season, they will need to find a way to increase the quality of its offensive line play despite the loss of Bulaga. Last season the Packers allowed Aaron Rodgers to be sacked 51 times. Behind a patchwork offensive line last season, the Cheeseheads were ousted in the divisional round of the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers. A non-existent running game for much of the season was largely to blame for the team’s occasional offensive struggles a year ago, with line play being a major factor in the lack of performance.
After drafting two running backs in the draft, the team is expecting to add a second dimension to the offense and take pressure off of Rodgers. Eddie Lacy and Jonathon Franklin are talented young rushers, however they will need the remaining offensive line to open up lanes for them if they want to make an impact during their rookie seasons. Aaron Rodgers is hoping his offensive line can improve enough to keep him upright despite the loss of Bulaga.
Improving an offensive line that was ranked number 21 according to Pro Football Focus a season ago just got a little harder for the Green Bay Packers after losing tackle Bryan Bulaga for the season to an ACL tear. In his wake a thin group of tackles is left to fight for his starting position. Fourth round pick David Bakhtiari has looked impressive so far in camp and stands a good chance of being the team’s week one starter.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express