Tag:Bryan Bulaga
Posted on: February 2, 2011 2:17 pm
 

Bulaga getting the hang of his new role

B. Bulaga has steadily gotten better this season. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

IRVING, Texas – Though he was a 2010 first-round draft pick, Packers fans probably didn’t expect to see T Bryan Bulaga have to play such an immediate role in the Green Bay offense.

But when RT Mark Tauscher’s shoulder forced him to the sidelines in October (and eventually to the Injured Reserve list), Bulaga was pressed into action – and a new role.

A left tackle for his career, Bulaga suddenly had to shift into the starting role on the other side of the offensive line. Without much preparation, he was thrown into his new assignment, and after a rough start, he’s finally gotten more comfortable in his new position.

“Just going to the right side was tough, because I had never played there,” Bulaga said. “That made it a little hard. But as the games went on, I got more comfortable over there, and I feel like I was playing pretty good football toward the end.”

He’s right, and he’s played a supporting role in Aaron Rodgers’ ascent to the top of the NFL quarterback universe while helping him win his first postseason games. But it wasn’t easy for Bulaga either.

“It was a little bit of a transition for him,” Packers OL coach James Campen said. “It was his stance going from left to right and that type of thing. Every game he’s seen a different look, a different pressure and a different situation, but he very rarely makes the same mistake twice. That’s a tribute to him, especially for a young guy. He’s a 21-year-old player that’s certainly dropped that rookie tag at this point. He’s gotten better and better.”

For that, Bulaga partially can thank LT Chad Clifton, the 11-year veteran whose eventual replacement likely will be Bulaga.

“He’s been tremendous,” Bulaga said. “You can look to him for anything. He’s been an absolute big help so far.”

But Campen really saw the improvement in Bulaga during the NFC championship game. Already, the Packers had faced the Bears twice, and that third time, Campen saw how much better Bulaga was playing.

“It’s because of his attention to detail,” Campen said. “Bryan Bulaga just doesn’t want to be good, he wants to touch greatness at some point in his career. He’s certainly on the right track with that.”

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 1:59 am
Edited on: February 3, 2011 8:45 am
 

Green Bay Packers offensive roster breakdown

Posted by Will Brinson & Andy Benoit

Perhaps the most fascinating thing if you look (at a glance anyway) at Pittsburgh and Green Bay is that they've built their teams "properly." (AKA "the opposite of Dan Snyder.) They draft smart, and they sign smarter. At least that's what we're lead to believe, right?

Andy and I set out to check the roster breakdown for both teams. En route, we* managed to figure out not only where they're coming from, but what they'll do for their respective teams in the Super Bowl.

Name POS Acquired Scouting Report
Aaron Rodgers
QB
Drafted 24th overall, 1st Round 2005
He lacks is a weakness. One of the smartest, savviest and most athletic quarterbacks in the NFL. A Super Bowl ring might even legitimize the inevitable Is he better than Favre? discussion.
James Starks
RB
Drafted 193rd overall, 6th Round 2010
ixth-round rookie arrived on the scene just in time for Green Bay’s playoff push. Not a star, but the upright runner gives the backfield some of the burst it’s been missing.
Brandon Jackson
RB2
Drafted 63r overall, 2nd Round 2007
Doesn’t have the initial quickness or agility to be a quality NFL runner, though has at least found a niche as a pass-blocker and screen pass receiver on third downs.
John Kuhn
FB
UDFA 2005, PIT; FA 2007
Now synonymous with the term “folk hero” around Wisconsin. Has a knack for moving the chains.
Chad Clifton
LT
Drafted 44th overall, 2nd Round 2000
Superb technique and consistent pass protection earned him Pro Bowl honors for the second time in his 11-year career.
Daryn Colledge
LG
Drafted 47th overall, 2nd Round
Was finally kept at one position for 16 games, and responded with a career year. Not the strongest ox in the field, but dexterous at the second level. Packers would be wise to give him the long-term contract he wants.
Scott Wells
C
Drafted 251st overall, 7th Round
Reliable as they come. Will get jolted by bull-rushing nose tackles, but very rarely let’s that disrupt the entire play. Good mobility out in front.
Josh Sitton
RG
Drafted 135th overall, 4th Round
Arguably the best right guard in football this season. Outstanding brute force on contact, has little to no trouble reaching linebackers in the run game. What’s more, he’s at his best in pass protection.
Bryan Bulaga
RT
Drafted 23rd overall, 1st Round 2010
First-round rookie was drafted to eventually become the left tackle, but he might not have the quickness for that. Sound mechanics have made for a fairly smooth debut season.
T.J. Lang
OL
Drafted 109th overall, 4th Round 2009
Versatile player but limited athlete.
Greg Jennings
WR
Drafted 52rd overall, 2nd Round 2006
Known for his catch-and-run prowess, though his best asset is his innate feel for working back to the ball late in a play.
Donald Driver
WR
Drafted 213th overall, 7th Round 1999
The elder statesman saw his production dip in 2010 (thanks in part to a quad injury). But there’s still plenty of speed and quickness left in him.
James Jones
WR
Drafted 78th overall, 3rd Round 2007
When he’s not dropping balls he’s burning teams for long plays. Was actually Green Bay’s second most productive receiver this season.
Jordy Nelson
WR
Drafted 36th overall, 2nd Round 2007
The fact that he’s white and not constantly compared to Wes Welker or Brandon Stokley tells you what a viable field-stretching target he can be.
Andrew Quarless
TE
Drafted 154th overall, 5th Round 2010
Not Jermichael Finley, but then again, Antonio Gates isn’t even Jermichael Finley. The fifth-round rookie improved as the season wore on. Can catch what you throw him within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Donald Lee
TE
Drafted 156th overall, 5th Round 2003
Scaled-back role because he’s not the blocker that Tom Crabtree is. Still athletic, though. Packers try to get him one or two touches a game, usually on a screen.

*Scouting smarts credited to Benoit. HTML and research credited to Brinson.
Posted on: November 12, 2010 9:02 pm
 

Is Tauscher finished in Green Bay?

M. Tauscher was placed on IR today. His career in Green Bay is in question at this point (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With today's news that Packers placed RT Mark Tauscher on the IR list, ending his season, there is one big question moving forward for the 11-year veteran (all in Green Bay):

Is his career finished?

Certainly, Tauscher has been injury prone the past half-decade. He’s played in 16 games only once in the past five seasons (in 2007), and this year, bothered by a bad shoulder, he only managed to participate in four contests.

Since he was injured Oct. 3, the Packers have inserted rookie first-round pick Bryan Bulaga into the starting lineup. The results have been mixed. Early on, he struggled, particularly against Miami’s Cameron Wake, but Bulaga has continued to improve the more he’s been on the field.

Lately, he’s showed he’s more than capable of replacing Tauscher. Not bad for a guy who was slated to play LT originally.

Going back to the original question, it’s hard to say if Tauscher is done playing in the NFL. I'd lean toward probably not. But despite the fact he signed a two-year contract in the offseason, it looks like his time in Green Bay might be over, especially with the way Bulaga has progressed.

“Despite long odds, Mark has been battling this shoulder injury in an effort to get back on the field,” Packers GM Ted Thompson said in a statement released by the team today. “His work ethic and motivation have been tremendous but the injury has been too severe to overcome. He is a team leader and will be an important part of our team as we go through the stretch run of our season.”

Nothing, of course, was said about next season.

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Posted on: November 6, 2010 11:50 pm
 

Week 9 injury report analysis Part IV

Posted by Andy Benoit

Colts @ Eagles
D. Jackson (US Presswire)
These days, it’s almost easier to list which Colts players are NOT injured. Actually, there’s only one that needs to be mentioned: Peyton Manning. He’s fine, so the Colts are fine.

Though if you MUST know more details, Anthony Gonzalez went on IR with a knee, but Austin Collie (finger) could be back this week, so it’s all a wash. Joseph Addai (shoulder) is doubtful; Mike Hart is unavaila nble after not practicing on a bad ankle all week. Cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Justin Tryon did not practice either, due to foot injuries (or would it be feet injury?). LB Clint Session, who deserves serious Pro Bowl consideration, was hoping he could fight through a dislocated elbow and fractured forearm, but he’s out Sunday.

The Eagles have Michael Vick 100 percent healthy now that his rib injury has healed. The hope is that Vick’s favorite target, DeSean Jackson, will be able to return from his Week 6 concussion. Jackson practiced and is probable. LT King Dunlap is out with a knee, but fortunately, the man Dunlap was filling in for, Jason Peters, is back from his own knee injury. No Ellis Hobbs (hip) for Philly, which is crucial because he has always killed the Colts as a return man.

Chiefs @ Raiders

Dexter McCluster was limited in practice for the Chiefs with a high ankle sprain. The rookie did not play last week and it would probably behoove the team to be safe and sit him one more game.

Speaking of ankle sprains, Raiders superstar Nnamdi Asomugha has one. He sat out practice all week and is doubtful. It’s actually amazing Asomugha’s status is even that hopeful; on Monday, speculation was he’d miss about a month. Tight end Zach Miller was on crutches during the week and is doubtful (i.e. 99 percent certain to be out) with a foot injury.

Wideouts Louis Murphy (chest) and Chaz Schilens (knee) remain sidelined. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski’s shoulder is still not 100 percent, which is why Jason Campbell gets the nod. Most people believe the hot-handed Campbell should keep the job anyway. This gives us a chance to pass along this tidbit from Mike Tanier, arguably the funniest football expert in the biz:

“Of course, leave it to Oakland to get stage fright after a two-game winning streak: the team was considering benching Jason Campbell in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, generating a quarterback controversy for its own sake. The Raiders ultimately decided to go with Campbell, but have said Gradkowski will return as the starter when healthy. With decisions like these, they’ll be back to punchline status by Thanksgiving.”


Cowboys @ Packers

Does anyone care who plays and doesn’t play for the Cowboys at this point? (Included in that “anyone” are the 53 Cowboys themselves.) Out of principle, we’re going to skip right ahead to the Packers.

For only the second time in a little over six years, the Packers will take the field without wide receiver Donald Driver. The veteran was ineffective the past two games trying to fight through a quad injury. Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett will once again test his injured ankle. RT Mark Tauscher remains questionable with a shoulder injury (first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga has started in place of him the past four weeks). Both starting linemen on the left side, T Chad Clifton (hamstring) and G Daryn Colledge (back), are probable. Despite constantly battling for his job, Colledge actually has a 72-game consecutive starts streak that he’s continuing to build on.

Steelers @ Bengals

DE Aaron Smith (out, triceps) is the only Steeler listed on the injury report. The Bengals’ injury report reads like the first string of the defensive depth chart. S Roy Williams, CB Johnathan Joseph, DT Tank Johnson, LB Keith Rivers, S Chinedum Ndukwe, DE Jonathan Fanene and DE Frostee Rucker are all banged up. Their status for Monday night has not yet been declared.

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Posted on: October 31, 2010 11:47 am
Edited on: October 31, 2010 11:58 am
 

NFC Inactives, Week 8

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Here’s who IS active in the NFC: Packers DL Cullen Jenkins, Bears TE Chris Cooley, LB Brian Orakpo, 49ers TE Vernon Davis, Rams RB Steven Jackson

And here’s who is out:

Alex Smith, QB, 49ers: We, of course, knew this already since Smith suffered a separated shoulder last week. It’s officially official. Troy Smith will start for San Francisco.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers:
Jonathan Stewart will get a chance to improve upon what has been a surprisingly weak season for him.

Mark Tauscher, OT, Packers: Once again, rookie Bryan Bulaga will get the start in Tauscher's place.

Danario Alexander, WR, Cardinals: We know this already - Alexander will miss two to four weeks with a knee injury, but his loss further underscores how thin St. Louis' WR corps is.

Jason Smith, RT, Cardinals:
He suffered a concussion this week during practice when he banged heads with Chris Long. Renardo Fisher will start in place of him, and that's not a good thing for QB Sam Bradford.

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Posted on: October 29, 2010 9:55 am
 

Week 8 Key Matchup: Jets D vs. Packers O

Posted by Andy Benoit

The New York Jets might be the only team in the NFL where the scheme is more important than the players executing it. At least, this is true for the front seven. (Of course, it’s only true for the front seven because the back four, and specifically cornerback Darrelle Revis, is so dominant. So maybe, at the end of the day, the players are still more important than the scheme. It’s a chicken or egg thing.)

Anyway…about that scheme…R. Ryan

One of the greatest misconceptions in football is that Rex Ryan’s Jets are strictly a blitzing defense. When the Jets bring pressure, it’s not always in the form of a blitz. Often times, the Jets rush only four. But unlike a 4-3 scheme, where the four rushers are downlinemen, a 3-4 scheme allows for a linebacker to rush. The Jets have mastered the art of what scouts call a “zone exchange”, which is to say, the Jets are great at disguising which linebacker will rush. This often creates the illusion of a blitz, as opposing offensive lines struggle to identify assignments and wind up scrambling from out of position.

So why is New York better than other teams in this department? For one, Ryan is fantastic at creating congestion on one side of a line of scrimmage and bringing clean pressure from the other. The Jets will overload on say, the right side of a line. They’ll force an offensive line to slide its protection to the right, but once the ball is snapped, they’ll drop a handful of those would-be rushers back into zone, leaving the offense with four linemen blocking two pass-rushers. Over on the left side, a defensive back or linebacker will rush through what is now an open alley.

This concept demands speed from the pass-rusher, which is why that pass-Green Bay (US Presswire)rusher is often a safety or nickelback. Fans automatically assume this is a blitz. But watch closely and you’ll see, often times, the Jets are still only rushing four players. In order for this to work, you need agile, versatile linebackers (like, say, a Jason Taylor or a Bryan Thomas).

This leads us to the next topic: the results. We think of pressuring a quarterback as generating sacks. The Jets think of it as generating incompletions. The Jets recorded a modest 32 sacks in 2009. But they forced opponents into an incomplete pass a league-best 48.3 percent of the time. Their zone exchanges aim to not just reach a quarterback, but make him believe he’s under siege. That way, he’ll hurry his throw.

The Packers have had their fair share of pass protection woes, though their offensive line is far more cohesive than it was at this point a year ago. Left tackle Chad Clifton is playing perhaps the best football of his career. Left guard Daryn Colledge has been more consistent. Center Scott Wells is as steady as a calendar. Right guard Josh Sitton is one of the bright young run-blockers in the game (and he’s been adequate on passing downs). Right tackle Bryan Bulaga has struggled early on, but unlike last year’s struggling right tackle, Allen Barbre, Bulaga at least has first-round talent to fall back on. (That said, the Packers will probably go back to Mark Tauscher once the veteran is healthy.)

Despite these decent offensive line improvements, expect the Packers to spread the field with four-receiver sets against New York, with two of the receivers split outside the hash marks. Doing this will discourage the Jets from overloading in the box and being ultra aggressive with blitzing defensive backs. And, when the Jets decide to overload and bring defensive backs anyway, Rodgers, with four wide targets at his disposal, should have a quickly-defined read. This plays into Green Bay’s offense, as the Packers love the quick-striking passing game.

The onus will be on the Packer receivers to make plays after the catch. Either James Jones or Jordy Nelson will have to be in the 80-90-yard range receiving. And with the Jets putting Revis on Greg Jennings, it’s critical Donald Driver (quad) be effective.

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Posted on: October 10, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2010 12:14 pm
 

NFC inactives, Week 5

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: It's not going to be easy for Jimmy Clausen when he has to throw to players like Brandon LaFell and David Clowney and David Gettis.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears - No surprise here. But it simply confirms to Chicago fans that they're starting quarterback is, indeed, Todd Collins.

Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Giants - New York was fine without one of its best defenders last week, sacking the Bears nine times. But still, at some point, the Giants would enjoy having Kiwanuka back in the starting lineup.

Mark Tauscher, OT, Packers - This opens the door for Bryan Bulaga to get his first NFL start.

Albert Haynesworth, DL, Redskins - His half-brother died this week in a motorcycle accident, so this is not at all surprising.

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Posted on: September 20, 2010 9:41 am
 

Packers could be making a change at LT

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Packers are paying left tackle Chad Clifton $7.5 million this season. However, that may not deter them from bringing the veteran off the bench.

Clifton was replaced by first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga during the second quarter against the Bills Sunday. The plan all along has been for the young Iowa product to learn the ropes as Clifton’s backup. But Clifton allowed 1.5 sacks against Philadelphia in Week 1 and struggled mightily against Buffalo.

"He has an issue with his knee," Mike McCarthy said, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I felt that he just didn't look like he was fully recovered, so I thought it was important to get Bryan in there.

"He didn't look good today. He didn't look healthy. We'll assess it in the morning and set our plan for next week."

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin believe Bulaga is capable of starting if need be. The Packers travel to Chicago next week in a battle of 2-0 NFC North foes.


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