Packers Film Study – Bryan Bulaga Much Improved at Right Tackle

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Green Bay Packer Offensive Tackle Bryan BulagaWe haven’t heard much this year about Packers offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. T.J. Lang and Derek Sherrod have received most of the training camp attention on the offensive line as they battle for the open LG spot. Now that Lang is apparently the clear frontrunner, it’s time to start focusing more on the offensive line as a whole.

The Packers stability on the line has allowed Mike McCarthy to test a no-huddle offense in each of the first two preseason games. Both no-huddle drives have resulted in touchdowns that made the Packers offense look unstoppable. It’s going to be fun if the Packers’ no-huddle keeps rolling into the regular season.

It’s going to be even more fun if that up-tempo style is complemented by a reliable running game anchored on the right side by Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga.

McCarthy has praised Bulaga throughout training camp, saying that he is a “different player this year than he was last year.” If Bulaga continues to progress and Sitton keeps playing at a high level, the Packers could have a formidable run-blocking duo for the first time in a long time.

On the below play late in the first quarter of Friday’s preseason game against Arizona, Bulaga knocks the defender he’s matched against off the line and gives Ryan Grant some room to operate. Sitton also gets to the second level and makes his block.

The efforts from Bulaga and Sitton did not result in a big play this time, but if they consistently make blocks like this, big plays will happen.

Last year I broke down Bulaga’s penalty-filled performance against the Bears in Week 17. One of the things Bulaga struggled with was engaging pass rushers before they penetrated deep into the pocket. By waiting too long to square up his block, Bulaga allowed pass rushers to get too close to Aaron Rodgers and the QB got spooked and broke the pocket before it was necessary.

Bulaga had no problem keeping his man from spooking Rodgers against the Cardinals. On this play, Bulaga engages the pass rusher early and prevents him from even getting close to the Super Bowl MVP.

The Packers offensive line improved from 2009 to 2010, but still needs to reduce the number of sacks allowed. If Bulaga continues to develop, Rodgers will find himself on the ground less often than in the past. And if Sitton and Bulaga grow into a formidable run-blocking duo, Packers running backs will find themselves in the end zone more than they are used to.

It’s still early, but so far it looks like an improved Bulaga will make the right side of the Packers offensive line a force in 2011.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

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  • Anthony

    Clifton will be really good as always. Lang will surprise, I guarantee it. Scott Wells will be better just because he has a good player on the left of him, and a great one on the right. Bulaga will have a great year, I project.

    The Packers have a monster O-line. Top 10 in sacks allowed.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I’m not quite that optimistic, but they will be better than the last two years…

  • BTF

    Would be good to see a dominant Packers O-Line !

    Just wondering who people think will back up if Bulaga goes down given Newhouse struggled at RT in the first pre season game by all accounts and Sherrod has seen no time at RT that I can tell.

    Thanks to all concerned for the site btw as a UK Packer fan who has had to try and learn the game through TV and the internet this and a couple of other sites have been a godsend !

    • Dan “FireMMNow” Blakley

      Newhouse will backup Bulaga at RT most likely. He struggled in his first appearance, but all backups will struggle…that is why they are backups. Give him some practice time at RT and he will be more than adequate as a backup RT.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Welcome aboard, BTF. Glad to be of service. My thinking was always that Sherrod would backup both tackle positions, as they started out doing with Bulaga last season. But you’re right, we haven’t seen any of Sherrod at RT. Maybe that will change now that Lang is set at LG.

      • Adam Czech

        I’m guessing that Sherrod will end up being the 2nd string RT as well.

      • BTF

        Thanks :)
        Realise it’s a trivial worry really and still time for Sherrod (or Newhouse) to get practice time at RT. Must stop thinking of worst case scenarios…

  • Dan “FireMMNow” Blakley

    I really hope that Bulaga can become a Mark Tauscher type player. Not elite, but a top 5 RT in this league. That is my highest hopes for him. I still do not see him as a LT, but he could be a powerful run blocker with sitton.

    • Adam Czech

      If Bulaga ends up being a top 5 RT, I think that would qualify him as elite.

  • homerunsimpson

    I think the big question this year will be, is Lang the answer at LG. I think TT has to start thinking about who will eventually take over for Wells.

  • PackersRS

    Bulaga is one of those guys that are natural football players. He’s a natural olinemen. I have no doubt he could play guard, he could play LT (not saying elite, but he could be successful)…

    He had never played RT in any level before being thrown out to the wolves last year. The progress he showed as the season went on, culminating with a solid performance in the SB against one of the best OLBs in football in Woodley gave me a sense of security about him.

    The game is slowing down for him. He’s more comfortable playing in the right side, he’s not having to concentrate on his assignments, in keeping pad level down and his hands up. He’s just playing.

    I’m saying it right now, this offense is gonna contend for best of all time. Clifton has played his best football the last 5 games last year, I don’t see him declining much. Lang may start the year slow, but he’ll be much more productive in the running game than Colledge ever was. Wells is gonna play well as always. Sitton is an All-Pro, and Bulaga might even garner consideration for the pro-bowl.

    One thing that will make this line more noticeable will be Starks. I think he’s gonna have a monster year. The burst and power I’ve seen from him in the first pre-season game, that’s Peterson-like.

  • Mojo

    Agree with RS in about everything he says above. I don’t think fans realize yet how good this line and offense is going to be.

    Nice diagnosis Adam. The ‘Bulaga solid in pass protection’ clip above shows how Bryan has progressed from last year. Look at his footwork and how he mirrors the defender.

  • Mojo

    The more I think about the Pack offense, the more impressive it appears to me. If their health holds out I can project Grant, Starks and Green at RB, Kuhn at HB, Finley, Quarless, Crabtree, Taylor and Williams at TE, Cliffy, Lang, Wells, Sitton, Bulaga, Sherrod, Newhouse, McDonald, Schlauderaff at O-line, Jennings, DD, Nelson, Jones and Cobb at receiver and Rodgers, Flynn, Harrell at QB. Of course we could add or subtract a few. Point being, I don’t see one weak unit. In fact you could argue the QB and TE’s and receivers are the best in the league. The running backs are good with a lot of potential and the o-line (outside of Cliffy, Wells) as young and upcoming. Lang is a huge question mark right now, but I already like the other four starters (including the new and improved Bryan Bulaga)

    I think last year the defense ranked higher than the O. This year I believe that will flip-flop provided the team enjoys reasonable health.

    • Chris K

      I agree with you mostly Mojo, but lets not jump to high with best TE’s in the league. Finley sure but now yu are including two Rookies as well…..

  • Steve Cheez

    So, since the offense is going to be so dominant, and we’re going to score every time we have the ball, and we have all these great skill guys that we don’t have room for, why don’t we leave the punter off the roster?

    • Adam Czech

      Now that would be awesome.

      • Steve Cheez

        And if it wasn’t for the 14 times a game we’ll be kicking off we wouldn’t need a kicker either. Just go for two every time.

        • Adam Czech

          Getting rid of the kicker means we wouldn’t need a long snapper either.