Monday, August 05, 2013

Packers face challenges coming out of Family Night scrimmage

The annual Family Night scrimmage, held by the Green Bay Packers last Saturday night, comes roughly two weeks into summer training camp. It is an event that Packers fans near and far have come to look forward to and enjoy. Tickets are sold -- benefitting a local charity -- and it's usually a sell-out. This year, more than 67,000 fans attended what for all intents and purposes is just a glorified practice. Oh, and it's an event which also is typically covered live on television, as well, within the state of Wisconsin. Yes, we Packer fans are a different breed.

While there were highlights from the scrimmage, especially rookie RB Eddie Lacy rushing for roughly 65 yards on 8 carries and rookie DE Datone Jones showing the speed and power for which he was drafted, of more interest at the moment are the following issues:
  • Kicker Mason Crosby continuing his struggles from last season, missing 5 of 8 field goals during the kicking portion of the scrimmage.
  • LT Bryan Bulaga reportedly suffering a torn ligament in his knee during Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage.
Which is worse: having a kicker that has become, apparently, a bit of a head case when it comes to making field goal attempts of more than 30 yards...OR...arguably your best offensive lineman, who was the lynchpin in a revamped offensive line scheme, possibly lost for the season? You be the judge.

Crosby had his worst season as a professional last year, not even hitting 70 percent of his field goal attempts. He's being pushed in camp by Giorgio Tavecchio, who made 6 of his 7 attempts Saturday evening. You can read more about the kicking situation here.

Given the problems the Packers had last season in pass protection -- with QB Aaron Rodgers being sacked a league-high 51 times -- the loss of Bulaga for any amount of time, let alone the entire season, would be huge. And from the early reports, this seems as if it is the most likely scenario.

What then? Well, the Packers would have to move last season's starting left tackle, Marshall Newhouse, back to that position, move last season's surprise lineman, Don Barclay, to that spot, or perhaps even entrust rookie lineman David Bakhtiari with protecting Rodgers' blind side. Recall that the Packers determined the best way to protect Rodgers this season was to flip-flop the O-line and get the best lineman -- Bulaga -- on the left side. So much for that idea. And while Packers coaches have been very impressed early in camp with Bakhtiari, would they really entrust the franchise's MVP QB to a rookie? Time will tell.

In the meantime, you can read more about Bulaga's injury and the Packers' options here.