Bombarded by season-ending injuries for the second time in three years, the consensus among team sources is that the Packers suffered their most serious blow so far this season with the loss of ascending ORT Bryan Bulaga, who has been placed on injured reserve with a dislocated hip suffered in Week Nine.
That’s saying a lot, considering the loss before the season of ILB Desmond Bishop (hamstring), who was considered the defense’s emotional centerpiece with his fierce physical presence and excellent playmaking ability. But Bulaga appeared to have a lot going for him, having developed into one of the league’s best young right tackles with his outstanding feet, natural nasty streak and rock-solid technical skills.
While both T.J. Lang, who moved over from left guard to replace Bulaga, and Evan Dietrich-Smith, who now replaces Lang at left guard, did an excellent job after Bulaga was injured against the Cardinals and are considered very capable replacements, there’s no denying the line’s cohesiveness has been hindered with new starters now at two positions.
But a bigger worry is the potentially monumental problem that would arise if there were any more crippling injuries on the offensive line at this stage of the season. As it stands, the Packers are down to first-year players OG Greg Van Roten and OT Don Barclay in the depth department, and neither of them has taken an offensive snap this season.
A boost could be provided with the possible return within the next two weeks from the physically-unable-to-perform list by former first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod, who suffered a severe season-ending knee injury last year. But the way we hear it, Sherrod’s condition remains iffy and he is just as likely to join Bulaga on I.R. before too long.