GREEN BAY, Wis. — At the conclusion of last weekend’s NFL Draft, Packers coach Mike McCarthy was feeling confident about his left tackle position heading into next season. It was uncertain, however, with which player McCarthy had the most confidence in playing that important role of protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ blind side.
It’s uncertain no longer.
In a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, McCarthy confirmed that 2010 first-round pick Bryan Bulaga – who missed the final seven games of last season with a hip injury — will be switching from right tackle to left tackle for the 2013 season. But that wasn’t all. McCarthy will also be sliding starting right guard — and the team’s best overall offensive lineman — Josh Sitton over to left guard, swapping him with T.J. Lang.
“I sat down with Bryan and Josh on Monday, and I told them I wanted to make the move to where they’re on the left side,” McCarthy told the Journal Sentinel. “Those two are our most accomplished and experienced players. I told them about the responsibilities and my expectations about playing the left side.
“Some of the things we’ll want to get into schematically as we move forward. They were excited about it.”
Marshall Newhouse had started the past 31 games for Green Bay at left tackle since taking over for an injured (and now retired) Chad Clifton in 2011. Though Newhouse has improved steadily, he gave up the most sacks (10) and quarterback hurries (37) last season of the Packers’ starting offensive linemen, according to Pro Football Focus.
Newhouse will have a chance to compete for the starting right tackle job with 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod and 2012 undrafted free agent Don Barclay. Sherrod has yet to play in a game since breaking his leg late in the 2011 season.
“I’m really counting on Derek Sherrod to be a factor,” McCarthy said after the draft. “He’s a different man since the second surgery after the season. He’s making progress.”
Rodgers was the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL last season. Though Rodgers’ health has been the biggest key to the Packers’ success for a few years now, his ability to stay on the field became even more critical when Green Bay signed him last week to the richest contract in NFL history.