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Mucky Tundra  
#1 Posted : Friday, July 11, 2014 5:20:08 AM(UTC)
Jason Wilde said:
GREEN BAY — Bryan Bulaga was back where he belonged during offseason spring practices — back on the field. The one place he wasn't? In the locker room when reporters were.

The Green Bay Packers veteran offensive tackle was focused more on his comeback from back-to-back season-ending injuries than he was on talking about it with the media, but he did let two of his closest friends on the team, left guard Josh Sitton and backup right tackle Don Barclay, in on how he was feeling.

"The first week (of organized team activity practices), I know he told me he was a little bit shaky here and there, just [because] he hadn't done anything in a year," Sitton said. "But it seems like he's back to normal.

"He's the type of guy that's going to work his ass off to get healthy — and he's done that. I think he probably could have played at the end of last season at some point, from what he told me. But he'll be just fine."

Barclay, who filled in at right tackle after Builaga's 2012 season ended with a November hip injury, and who worked at right tackle last year after Bulaga's offseason move to left tackle, saw Bulaga struggling with his disappointment after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the annual Family Night Scrimmage last August. But as the season went on, Barclay watched Bulaga become a de facto coach and help both him and rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari.

"I think he was just so focused — it was tough for him. Two years in a row ... mentally, it kind of gets you upstairs," Barclay said. "He might have been down in the dumps for a little bit, but after, he started to come out of his shell and coming around and talking to everyone. After being mad about the situation, he definitely helped out us, helped out me, helped out Dave. He was good about it."

Now, though, Bulaga is in a good place — according to those who know him — as he enters a contract year and is back in the starting lineup at right tackle, where he started as a rookie first-round pick in 2010, when he became the youngest player ever to start a Super Bowl. While the experiment of moving him to left tackle was over before it started, the coaches liked what they saw from him in shorts and helmets, despite wearing a bulky brace on his knee.

"(Bulaga) looks pretty good. He's moving around and getting back into football," offensive line coach James Campen said. "With anyone coming off of not playing for a while, just getting their timing and punch down and hands coordinated and those types of things, those things will come. It's great to have him out there.

"He progressed every day. He's coming around fine."

Added head coach Mike McCarthy: "I think all of our players that are coming off injuries, and specifically Bryan Bulaga, you want to get back out there. [But] it's a progression again because he hasn't been on the field obviously since last training camp. Bryan's done a lot of good things and he's stronger, so I think this has been a very good work for him.

"Bryan's so consistent. He's a very good worker, very diligent, very anal in his approach. And, he's the ultimate pro. I thought he had a very good offseason."

If Bulaga returns to his pre-injury form — McCarthy insists he was on the verge of being a Pro Bowl right tackle at the time of his 2012 hip injury — Sitton believes the line has the makings of an outstanding group. While Barclay was a respectable replacement in his 21 starts (including playoffs), Bulaga is simply a better player — when he's healthy.

"Absolutely. He's a hell of a player," Sitton said. "He was a first-round draft pick for a reason. He's a stud. If we can stay healthy as an offensive line, I think this can be the best offensive line we've had in a while, probably ever since I've been here. So I think we've just got to stay healthy."


People say it's make or break for Sherrod. I say it's make or break time for Bulaga to stay healthy and contribute as well. If he can't and Sherrod/whoever can't fill in, we'll have to divert more resources into the T spot yet again.
nerdmann  
#2 Posted : Friday, July 11, 2014 5:28:36 AM(UTC)
Mucky Tundra said: Go to Quoted Post
People say it's make or break for Sherrod. I say it's make or break time for Bulaga to stay healthy and contribute as well. If he can't and Sherrod/whoever can't fill in, we'll have to divert more resources into the T spot yet again.


I have no questions about Bulaga, except for the injury situation on the team generally. And I'm putting that on Mike.

Bulaga finished out Family Night with the blown-out ACL, and wanted to play the season with it like that, in a brace.
Mucky Tundra  
#3 Posted : Friday, July 11, 2014 5:42:44 AM(UTC)
nerdmann said: Go to Quoted Post
I have no questions about Bulaga, except for the injury situation on the team generally. And I'm putting that on Mike.

Bulaga finished out Family Night with the blown-out ACL, and wanted to play the season with it like that, in a brace.


With his contract up at the end of the season, there absolutely has to be a question concerning his health and availibility to this team. With Sherrod, we've essentially written him off from starting and anything he contributes is gravy. With Bulaga we're counting on him being a starter. We've down the same the past two years and lost him to injury. If he misses anytime this upcoming season, they're gonna have to make some tough choices on a guy whose availibility has been suspect.
DarkaneRules  
#4 Posted : Saturday, July 12, 2014 12:40:14 PM(UTC)
Him and Sherrod are real tough calls. There is just no way for any of us to know what to expect from them at this point. Until the third pre-season game, I reserve my judgements on either of them. Until further notice, I have more faith in Bakhtiari and Barclay because they have shown they can be reliable. Bulaga's performance against the Seahawks a few years back still gives me nightmares. It was Newhouseian to say the least.
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