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Bulaga's Mid-September Hell Week Nearing Its End

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Bulaga's Mid-September Hell Week Nearing Its End

For Bryan Bulaga, he just can't wait for the week to end and the weekend to begin.

A sprained ankle probably couldn't keep the Packers' starting right tackle out for Sunday's primetime tilt with the Atlanta Falcons, but his immune system may very well have something to say about that. 

Between constant trips to the bathroom to fight off the illness that plagued him for a majority of the week coupled with his sprained ankle, Bulaga has been doing all he can to prepare himself to play in whatever fashion he can. Whether it be light work with the trainers or keeping up with the gameplan via his iPad while stuck in bed.

He seemed like he would be able to suit up and play against the Seattle Seahawks for the Packers' season opener last week, however, second-year tackle Kyle Murphy got the start in place of Bulaga.

It was up to Murphy to anchor down the right end of the offensive line, and for the most part, he didn't disappoint. Even after Rodgers was sacked four times in the first half -- the Seahawks' defensive front didn't muster a single sack in the second.

"I thought he did well. We watched the tape and that's not an easy defense to go against, especially in your first start," Bulaga said with a chuckle after the week's final practice leading into the weekend. Murphy had undergone enough preparation thanks to the supporting cast around him, a subtle testament to his ability to understand his role and fit into that role in the event of emergency.

If anything, Murphy showed the Packers that their depth at tackle is capable of taking over a starting position.

"He's watched Dave [Bakhtiari] and me, he understands the offense. You've seen him progress over training camp and do what he's been able to do. I don't think anybody was shocked by how he played against Seattle."

Somewhat of a surprise scratch against the Seahawks, the trainers decided against him playing. Given how close he was to being an active participant on game day and with a whole week to further rehabilitate his ankle, the signs are positive for Bulaga and his chances of playing on Sunday night.

Bulaga was one of three Packers tackles to be listed on Friday's injury report. Both he and David Bakhtiari were estimated to be limited participants due to the Packers not having a Friday practice. 

Jason Spriggs, Bakhtiari's backup at left tackle, is the only player on the seven-deep injury report to have already been ruled out against the Falcons. There's a likely chance that Bakhtiari's hamstring won't keep him out of the lineup, otherwise, an already-thin group of offensive tackles could cause some major problems for the Packers.

Adam Pankey and Murphy are the only depth at tackle for the Packers at the moment. However, Bulaga's lengthy recovery window provides somewhat of a reason to be optimistic. It's just a matter of how long either of the starting tackles could hold up during the game.

"This week, we're going to take it all the way to Sunday," Bulaga continued, noting that he planned on doing more field work on Saturday. "Obviously, I wasn't here the last two days and it's kind of tough to gauge how it's doing if you're laying in bed. 

"I'll go out [Saturday], probably do some more work Sunday and go from there. I feel like it's getting stronger, it's getting better. We'll take it from there."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Since '61's picture

Go Bulaga Go! Thanks, Since '61

Snake Plissken's picture

I was pleasantly surprised by Murphy's performance last week.... at least ONE of the starting tackles has to be able to play..... Murphy has shown he can be the Swing... I'll actually be surprised if both starters don't make the field.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Murphy at Left Tackle?

Mmmmmm...no.

Dzehren's picture

I've been advocating MURPHY can play all positions other than center. Patrick can play center and both guard spots. Bulaga can play LT & RT. MURPHY should only play LT if Bak & Bulaga are down. And if both bak and Bulaga are down this conversation is most likely over....

dblbogey's picture

Murphy looks to be a solid back up right tackle. I doubt he can step in and handle left tackle. Bahkiari and Linsley staying healthy this year should be at the top of the wishlist.

flackcatcher's picture

If you watch the third and last preseason games, both Murphy and Spriggs took a huge step up in their games. The question for both is could they adjust to NFL game speed on the outside. Murphy answered that question last week. Most OL fail at the NFL level cause the game is too fast for them, not the physical part, the mental part. You could actually see Murphy making the mental adjustment in the 10 minute mark of the third quarter vs Seattle last week. The game slowed down for him. Spriggs is out, so we will have to wait and see on him. I agree, Murphy is a solid backup right tackle for the packers. And right now, that's all they need.

Johnblood27's picture

OH God, where is Donnie Barclay?

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