The Packers are moving right tackle Bryan Bulaga is moving to the left side to be quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ blind-side protector, replacing last year’s starter Marshall Newhouse, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
Last year, McCarthy tried to make it work at left tackle without moving Bulaga, but Sherrod suffered a leg fracture from which he still hasn’t returned and Newhouse was a big disappointment after showing some promise in ’11.
Bulaga, a first-round pick in 2010, played left tackle at Iowa, but he eventually settled in at right tackle, where he was needed when it was clear longtime starter Mark Tauscher was finished. McCarthy could have moved Bulaga to the left side last year, but he decided to roll the dice with Newhouse.
Even with Bulaga, 24, starting 33 regular-season games on the right and none on the left, McCarthy said he wasn’t worried about the transition. Newhouse needed to be replaced after allowing a team-high 11 sacks last year and had Bulaga not landed on injured reserve due to a small fracture in his hip socket suffered in Week 9, he might have been moved there at some point.
Scouts questioned whether Bulaga’s 33¼-inch arms were too short to play left tackle in the NFL, but he has insisted those measurements mean nothing and with the exception of a bad spell early last year and a few blips at other times, he has done well against some very good pass rushers on the right side.
McCarthy had no hesitation in making the move.
“I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have full confidence in Bryan,” McCarthy said. “He’s been here everyday (in the off-season) and so I’ve seen him develop physically in all areas of his game. He’s a very mature player.”