Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Bulaga out, Vince Young in for Packers

Yesterday had more downs than ups for fans of the Green Bay Packers. Primarily, receiving the news that starting LT Bryan Bulaga is done for the season with a torn ACL sustained in the Family Night scrimmage on Saturday.

What was going to be a challenging experiment -- essentially flipping the offensive lineman from one side to the other -- became even more so with the loss of Bulaga, who was considered the lynchpin of the scheme. While coming off his late-season hip injury from last year, Bulaga would be the man charged with protecting QB Aaron Rodger's blind side. Now...who? The Packers could go back to last season's starter, Marshall Newhouse, who had been switched to the right side in the new alignment. Derek Sherrod, who was supposed to be the long-term answer when selected by the Pack in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, hasn't played since 2011 after sustaining a terrible leg injury; sounds as if he's nowhere close to even being in the conversation and is still on the PUP list.

Reports are, though, that the Packers may give rookie fourth-round draft pick, David Bakhtiari, a chance to win that spot. He has apparently impressed so far in training camp but game action against an opposing team is something altogether different...especially for a rookie. But let's remember that Bulaga himself became a starter his rookie year and performed admirably. It's not out of the realm of possibility. We'll have to see how it shakes out during the preseason. Just remember that no NFL quarterback has been sacked more since 2008 than Rodgers. It's about time the Pack did something about that. The planned-for scheme to do so blew up before it even got started. Now, the team must search for another answer. If you want to read more about Bulaga and Bakhtiari, check out this article from nfl.com.

Vince Young as backup QB?
The counterpoint to the bad news about Bulaga was the rather surprising news that the Packers had signed veteran QB Vince Young to a one-year contract. For all practical purposes, it's a one-month tryout. If the Packers cut him before the start of the season they won't owe him a dime.

But much of the conversation around this signing has to do with why...why would the Packers sign a player who hasn't played since 2011? Young is 30 years old, basically when many quarterbacks are in their prime. His career record as a starter is 30-17. He had a few really good seasons in Tennessee and then the wheels kind of fell off. It was never a question of physical talent with Young, but rather what was going on between the ears. To say that he probably did not have the best relationship with coaches along the way, especially in Tennessee, is probably an understatement. But if there's anyone who can work with quarterbacks, it's Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy. He may be just what the doctor ordered to help turn Young's career around.

There were any number of pundits yesterday after the news broke about the signing who felt that this might actually be a good fit for both the Packers and Young. The Pack's two current backup QBs, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman are apparently underwhelming so far in camp. While the Packers' offensive scheme is not simple and would be a challenge to pick up in a mere month's time, some reporters are speculating that the Packers might keep Young as a number three QB as a security blanket, and to give him time to learn the offense. In the event that Rodgers were to go down for any extended period of time, which quarterback would you rather have running the show: Harrell or Young? Many Packer fans are having that conversation right now.

What do you have to say? Take our poll now in the right sidebar and let us know if you'd rather have Vince Young, B.J. Coleman or Graham Harrell as the number two quarterback if something happens to Aaron Rodgers. We sure hope it doesn't come to that. But with Bryan Bulaga out of the picture, that possibility becomes a bit more real. Hence, the need for someone who has demonstrated the ability to succeed and win at the pro level...if that person still has anything left to give, that is.