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Bulaga Passes Big Test

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Bulaga Passes Big Test

Last week I wrote the following:

Sunday night will be quite a different animal when Allen faces off against Chad Clifton. Clifton has more than held his own against Allen throughout his career, especially in games played on grass. The last time the two went head-to-head in the Metrodome in 2008, Allen gave Clifton all sorts of trouble. The deafening noise and the Packers continually finding themselves in 2nd and 3rd and long gave Allen all the advantage he needed to make life miserable for the Packers' left tackle. While Clifton definitely struggled the first few weeks of this season, he has certainly righted the ship the past three weeks. Add in the fact that Allen has put up a whopping one sack so far this season and I think Clifton will more than hold up his end of the bargain on Sunday night.

Where the concern lies is down on the other end of the line at right tackle. Mark Tauscher was very limited in practice yesterday, going through only the lightest of drills. This would seem to suggest that the Packers first round pick Bryan Bulaga would be in line to get his third start in a row. While the rookie out of Iowa has more than held his own at a position he had never played until three weeks ago, going up against Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards will be, by far, the toughest challenge he's faced up to this point.

Well, Bulaga met that challenge head on and basically kicked its ass.

In fact, the entire offensive line did an outstanding job in pass protection and even got some push in the run game. The biggest shock to me was the amount of damage Brandon Jackson was able to do off the left side of the line. A few times Daryn Colledge got off his double team block and got to a linebacker on the next level, enabling Jackson to pick up some great gains. Clifton would simply let Allen fly up the field and pretty much take himself out of the play. They ran that three or four times with great success.

But as stated above, the big worry heading into Sunday night was Bulaga and he more than held up - he completely stuffed Edwards from the first snap to the final gun. And the most encouraging thing is that the rookie really seems to be improving from week to week.

All in all this was, by far, the best the offensive line has looked in 2010.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (36) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

ZeroTolerance's picture

Does Baluga stay at RT when Tauscher returns?

Rich's picture

lets hope so if its not hurting anyone give the kid some experience. Until bulaga and if bulaga starts to mess things up then u throw in tausch

holly's picture

Encouraging, going into Sunday's game. Even without Kris Jenkins at nose, that's an ugly and vicious defensive line.

Zub-a-Dub's picture

Bulaga starts at RT tackle unless he is needed at LT, no question.

First round pick needs game experience, Tauscher is a nice insurance policy on Clifton in a round about way.

Amazing our Offensive line and Secondary look to be the strongest parts of the Packers as far as depth and starters.

Running back thin, defensive line Oh-my-god, OLB/ILB (no depth)

Capers still deserves some award this week, would have loved to have been there when he got the news Cullen Jenkins went down during warm ups.

Anybody guess what the first words out of his mouth were??

Charlie's picture

"Jesus fucking Christ"

glorious80s's picture

That's insulting. No need for it.

PresidentRaygun's picture

Insulting? I think it's actually a pretty good guess to what Capers said

JerseyCheese's picture

Negative Nagler,

I said this before and will say it again -- Eat some crow, man! After ripping Clifton a new one writing an article on how he MUST be replaced NOW, he has looked very good.

I dunno, maybe he read your article and got a little motivated, but instead of saying "the entire offensive line did an outstanding job..." I think you should say "I made the mistake of singling out Clifton and begged for him to be replace, that was a mistake, I'm an idiot. I own and operate an awesome Web site, but I'm an idiot!"

PackersRS's picture

Was Clifton playing like crap before? If so, he deserved to be ripped.

BTW, Aaron did mention the possible injuries when ripping, so it wasn't shortsighted.

Zub-a-Dub's picture

Clifton played well, doesn't mean that Bulaga at LT and Lang RT may have performed better, we will never know.

I think Aarons point was that if Clifton is injured (playing at less than 100%) he needs to sit the bench.

nerdmann's picture

I'd still like to see Bulaga and Lang out there. Bulaga held up on the right side, if you'll notice.

Evan's picture

Why would you want to start a defensive tackle at right tackle?

Zub-a-Dub's picture

good question, poor Lang, so much for MM and the coaching staff keeping these players in one position.

Colledge has nothing to complain about compared to Lang's situation.

If Colledge's excuse is valid, Lang is in a world of **it.

IMO Lang is good football player, won't hurt him a bit

Evan's picture

I agree. But it's ridiculous he's been asking to do this. Cut Montgomery and sign a freakin' big-bodied DT already.

Cole's picture

I agree, but I'm sure Lang would rather play somewhere than be inactive every week.

JerseyCheese's picture

Negative Nagler did mention Clifton needs time to get his knees right, but he also said he felt McCarthy is just protecting a long-time veteran and “the right play for the Packers is for Bulaga to get the start on Monday night and, hopefully, never look back.” Meaning – even when Clifton gets healthy, keep Bulaga in.

I remember a certain someone, that would be me, sticking up for Clifton and saying don’t judge him just because of two games. I got eaten alive for my comments. Someone even told me to remove my head from my ass.

All I’m saying is give the guy some credit. Bulaga deserves a lot of credit, but Clifton should be up there if not just as praised. Hell, Chris Collinsworth even said Clifton has been playing GREAT the past couple of games, if that means anything. Haha.

davyjones's picture

J.C.--

Why is it so important to see someone "eat crow"? Why so important to "be right" and want someone else to say, "I'm an idiot"?

Perhaps this is why someone told you to get your head out of you ass, not your sticking up for Clifton.

Zub-a-Dub's picture

Aaron statement still could be valid, a young first round draft pick, who just showed he can pass block may still be better all around than Clifton, due to Bulaga's run blocking.

keeley2's picture

Of course, it's also more than possible (even likely?) that the Vikings D-line just isn't that good anymore.
:)

SpiderPack's picture

They have looked damn good in a few games this year, overwhelmed a few teams on several series.

davyjones's picture

Bulaga was an absolute stud on offense. Perhaps as impressive was Raji on the other side of the ball. 65 out of 68 snaps??? A man of that size??? That is simply stunning.

JerseyCheese's picture

Haha davyjones, just having fun, relax! I'm just happy Clifton is doing well and making people second guess their comments from before.

And if my head was in my ass I wouldn't be able to see Clifton's monster game against Jared Allen, duh!!!

packeraaron's picture

Guess what - I STILL think Bulaga should have been in for Clifton - if Tauscher hadn't gone down. That said, did you miss the original post I quoted above? I EXPECTED Clifton to play well. But that doesn't mesh with your "Negative Nagler" theme, does it?

JerseyCheese's picture

hahaha no it doesn't. But you still haven't admitted to overreacting to Cliftons play only two week in the season. I think Clifton is our best offensive lineman, at the most important position on the line, behind only Josh Sitton. Would you agree?

packeraaron's picture

Most important position? Yes. Best after Sitton? Sure. But that doesn't mean it was a terrible idea to call for Bulaga to start.

Oppy's picture

Actually, I was probably the earliest adopter and most vocal proponent of the "Bench Clifton, Play Bulaga" train.

Clifton played a great game. Let's see how long it is before his knees have him playing lousy again. Clifton has played one great game, 3 decent games and 3 sub par games, IMO.

If a player is only turning in great performances 15% of the time, and lousy performances 43% of the time, I think there's reason to be skeptical of his starting at a critical position.

I hope Clifton proves me wrong, but I believe age has gotten the best of him

Tarynfor 12's picture

Bulaga in for Clifton in time,and if Tauscher played,Bulaga can spell both as needed.Jared Allen,although a good DE,but never very good to great against a more veteran LT.He shined against us last year because...and this year Rodgers gave him a "Highlight"spot otherwise...Clifton made him disappear.

Matthew's picture

Lawdy Lawdy. How is saying someone should sit beacuse of poor performance/injury suddenly a bad thin for a blogger to say. Clifton was struggling earlier in the year. If Allen Babre was the back-up or even Breno, Nagler probally wouldnt have mentioned it. But we had a first round pick who by all accounts showed lots of promise. He also brought a skill set (run blocking) that Clifton in the advanced stages of his career, doesnt. Does that mean he was a "Negative Nagler"? How about when he has been preaching patience with Brandon Jackson while many others were ready to tar and feather. Also, while many others were lambasting Tramon Williams (many beacuse of only the Raven game last year), he has almost always been on record as saying the Pckers will be fine with Tramon.

Nagler obviously doesnt need me to defed him, but I believe your shots bring nothing to the table, nor are they very fair to the record.

JerseyCheese's picture

Alright, GEEEEEZ!!! I am not taking shots here. I didn't attack him, I'm just saying Clifton is playing very well when many of you guys wanted his head.

I will no longer call him Negative Nagler because it offends too many fans. How about Nice Guy Nagler or Nifty Nagler? Can anyone else think of a good nickname?

Tarynfor 12's picture

Why a nickname,I disagree with him at times, but he desevres the respect for what he brings here to us.
Nickname him only if you can REPLACE him.Geez,I hope I'm NOT getting brownie points,being from Jersey I'll get a bad rep.

Bad Knees's picture

Why was Driver playing on one leg? Nelson could have done a better job (That Night). And, Montgomery could have been activated while Donald healed. Put the best on the field please.

Chris's picture

Jenkins was a late scratch and noone else could be activated after he was ruled out. Do you activate Montgomery if you can use Driver as a decoy? I wouldn't if I had 4 health D linemen (especially playing only two most of the time).

Chris's picture

I really liked the game for both offensive tackles. But you got to put it into perspective. Neither Jared Allen nor Ray Edwards have a good year thus far (together 2.5 sacks, 32 tackles), so the main pressure comes from the interior DL or blitzing players this year.
Next week will show us if Bulage and Clifton are up for a real task, protecting against that Jets pass rush. If they manage this, they are set for the season barring injuries. I really hope they do well.

jeremy's picture

"A few times Daryn Colledge got off his double team block and got to a linebacker on the next level, enabling Jackson to pick up some great gains."

We need to make sure it is Scott Wells who gets the credit for this. If he does not block the tackle well Colledge never gets a chance to release.

Jake G's picture

I still don't get why, on a night with such great protection, our QB still struggled. Maybe he was just nervous, but I like to think he has enough experience now in his 6th year in the league that that shouldn't be an issue.

Prior to this game, I thought that maybe it was because after a smoking hot preseason when he didn't get sacked once, then coming into week 1 and seeing all kinds of pressure, it frazzled him a bit. I thought maybe he just hasn't been trusting his O-Line and it has caused him to go too fast and force throws and what not, leading to all the picks this year. I mean last year he threw 7 picks all year, and he's already thrown what, 9 now? I know he talked of wanting to take more calculated risks, but at what cost? The only game all season he hasn't thrown a pick in was the Bills game I think? Can't remember if he threw one in the Bears game.

Speaking of the Bears game, that was one of the few games he played well just about all game. The penalties really killed us in the game. Its not like he was mistake free though, the intentional grounding call comes to mind. And I can remember at least one or two throws in that game that SHOULD have been picked but the bears dropped them. Regardless, it was a really good game for the most part for him. But then he goes to being inconsistent again. This really gets to me because we know just how great this kid can be if he plays to his potential.

So I'm just wondering what we should attest this regression to? (maybe I should have posted this in the Rodgers has regressed article). Maybe on sunday, despite the protection, he was just extremely nervous because of what that game meant to the fans. I will defend Rodgers to the death. I still say he did enough to win sunday night, so that's still a solid win for him. Maybe after seeing how well his line played against the Vikes, and getting the W, it will get a monkey off his back. I'd like to think he will be more confident against the Jets because of this, and play to his abilities. But it still leaves me curious as to what exactly has been going on with him.

Sorry for the rant. I just hate seeing the kid struggle.

LAMBEAU the LAB's picture

..didnt have time to read all the posts, this may have been said above...

Bulaga is NASTY in the run game. its about time we had a guy like that on the offensive line, ( I think the giants have 4 or 5 of these guys)some one who will finnnish a block. I was very engouraged by his run blocking. Did any one notice him grab the runner a few time right before they went down and move the pile(runner) forward an extra yard or 2?

sure hope Cliffy plays like that the rest of the year.. and stays healthy!

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