Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Building The 53 - Bulaga Out, Young In

Heading into training camp I posted that 27 guys were locks* and 18 guys will most likely* make The 53, which means there are 45 guys fighting for 8 roster spots.

During the off-season the Packers shifted Bryan Bulaga from right tackle to left tackle because Marshall Newhouse struggled last season at left tackle.  Unfortunately Bulaga, one of the 27 locks*, suffered a season ending injury before he could even play a meaningful snap in 2013 for the Packers.  Sadly this is the second consecutive season cut short by injury for Bulaga.

Now the Packers have to decide whether to give Newhouse another chance at left tackle or go in another direction.  If the Packers go in another direction they will have to either rely on a rookie in David Bakhtiari or a pair of former draft picks that have been perpetually injured for their entire tenure in Green Bay in Derek Sherrod (1st Rounder in 2011) or Andrew Datko (7th Rounder in 2012).

The only other viable tackle on the roster is Don Barclay but his body type makes him better suited to play right tackle.  If I were in charge I would have Bakhtiari, Sherrod, and Datko take reps at left tackle while having Barclay and Newhouse take reps at right tackle.  My guess is that the Packers keep Bakhtiari, Barclay, and Newhouse along with the healthier of Sherrod and Datko.

Bulaga is currently getting a second opinion on his knee but I would be shocked if Bulaga was able to play in 2013 so although Bulaga has not been placed on injured reserve yet, the delay looks merely procedural.  The Packers made a few other roster moves though.  The Packers placed wide receiver Sederrik Cunningham on injured reserve and signed wide receiver Justin Wilson.  The bigger roster move was the Packers signing dual-threat quarterback Vince Young.

Going into training camp it looked like B.J. Coleman and Graham Harrell were going to battle for the backup quarterback job much like they did last year.  Harrell won last year but I thought Coleman would win this year.  With Young in the fold, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The terms of Young's contract are undisclosed right now.  If there is any guaranteed money in the deal then Coleman and Harrell better start looking for new employment.  If Young's contract does not have any guaranteed money then it will be a true competition.  Worst case scenario, having a dual-threat quarterback in camp will help the Packers prepare for their first two regular seasons opponents since both teams employ dual-threat quarterbacks: Colin Kapernick for the San Francisco 49ers and Robert Griffin III for the Washington Redskins.

I am sure all of Packer Nation wishes Bulaga a speedy recover and will watch the backup quarterback competition very closely because as Bulaga's injury shows, we are one injury to starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers away from putting the franchise in the hands of Coleman, Harrell, or Young.

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