Mike McCarthy said this week that Bryan Bulaga will not move to left tackle and replace Chad Clifton. The coach said that Bulaga is “on the verge of becoming a pro bowler at right tackle” and will stay right where he is.
I’m fine with keeping Bulaga on the right side. Until recently, I’ve been in the “move Bulaga to left tackle” camp, but I folded up my tent and left that camp a couple months ago. To the faithful readers who argued with me in the comments section to keep Bulaga at right tackle: Congratulations. You helped convince me.
But mostly my change of heart can be attributed to Aaron Rodgers. I always contended that the Packers should have someone proven to protect the All-World QB’s blind side. Bulaga fit that description much more than Marshall Newhouse or Derek Sherrod. After all, those in the know have been telling us for years that left tackle is arguably the second most important position on offense. They even made a movie about it.
The game changes, though. Now, the best person to protect Aaron Rodgers’ blind side might be, well, Aaron Rodgers.
An MVP quarterback who knows the offense and reads a defense better than most coaches does a lot to protect himself. Rodgers’ ability to read where pressure is coming from — whether it’s from his blind side or somewhere else — and quickly progress through his options to identify mismatches and/or hot reads goes a long way in mitigating any shortcomings in pass protection.
The prevalence of three-step drops and passing out of the shotgun also reduces the importance of the left tackle position. Ditto for having a mobile QB that can run away from pressure or wriggle out of a jam if needed.
I’m not arguing that the left tackle position has become irrelevant. It’s still very important. Obviously, it’d be nice to have a shutdown left tackle, but if that’s not the case, the quarterback can make up for it. It’s not worth disrupting the the development of your right tackle when he might be on a path to the pro bowl.
Yes, the game is changing. McCarthy and the Packers realize that. I’m glad they realized it before me and didn’t move Bulaga to left tackle.
(For a compelling argument on moving Bulaga to left tackle, check out Brian Carriveau’s post on the subject at CheeseheadTV.)——————