Bulaga at left guard now?

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Reader Katie asked what we thought of this move: moving first round pick Brian Bulaga from left tackle to left guard. Mike McCarthy is apparently trying this and has indicated that the competition for the LG spot is open. Interesting. As Bob McGinn speculates, this means that McCarthy is either not satisfied with Colledge’s play over the last few years or that he just thinks Bulaga has THAT much upside. (Or, of course most likely, both.)

I have written before about my concerns with McCarthy shuffling the O-Line and how this has can be disruptive to team chemistry and disruptive to the overall development of our O-Linemen. I generally believe that players are drafted to play certain positions because they played those positions well in college. Messing with that too much is usually not a good idea.

However, there are exceptions. When one guy just isn’t that good, it is the job of the coach (and the GM) to figure out how to get a better player in there. And when a guy is talented enough to make a position change at the NFL level, it might be worth at least investigating because if it works out, fundamentally, the coach is doing his job of putting the best players on the field. So in this particular case with Colledge and Bulaga, I’m all for trying Bulaga out at LG mostly because Daryn Colledge is not that good. Colledge isn’t terrible and he’s had some good games. But overall, he’s just not that good and replacing him might yield better overall productivity from our LG position. I’ve said this before about Colledge: he strikes me as one of those guys who doesn’t have that nasty streak you want your O-Linemen to have. (The tattoos are a farce, my guess is that they are of the stick-on variety…) Colledge just seems too comfortable with his station in life as an NFL player – earning a nice paycheck, having a nice life – he appears to me to lack that edge.  So again, because Bulaga by most accounts appears to be extra talented and the coach believes that he would be talented enough to be able to make a position switch at the NFL level, I’m all for trying it out at least. One very important part of any experiment like this, however, is that the coaches monitor the situation carefully and that they not be afraid to abandon the whole thing if it’s not working. It’s not good to have starting positions up for grabs right up to Week One. Try this for a few weeks to see how it works out and go from there.

What do you all think about this proposed move?

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4 Responses to “Bulaga at left guard now?”

  1. Travis Says:

    Bulaga is a very talented guy who was projected to be taken in the top top 10 or so. Obviously the guy is talented, and it’s not impossible for him to be able to do well at a slightly different position. I say it makes total sense to give this a kid a shot to see what he can do. Maybe he’s not ready or capable of making this transition, but with a guy like Bulaga, it’s worth a shot because of the potential.

    And I wish this kid luck. This could be the start of a fantastic career for this kid should he make the transition. It’s how franchises get their starting O linemen for years and I hope this is one of those cases. Finally gives us someone more dependable than Colledge who, should continue to excel, where as I agree with Andy, Colledge doesn’t look to have much more to bring.

  2. DaveK Says:

    He’s ready to roll at LT so they are letting him compete for the LG spot. Nice! I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The guy started almost every game for three years at Iowa and was coached by Ferentz who was a former NFL line coach.

  3. RayMidge Says:

    Colledge seems like just “a guy” to me. Maybe he has been hurt by all of the shuffling around, but if Bulaga gives us an upgrade, this is potentially a really good line. I think we all agree that Sitton is on his way to Pro Bowl consideration (tough to actually crack that club when the same OL seem to go every year- I don’t think either Tauscher and Clifton ever made it in their primes despite being pretty universally respected in the league) and LG was the only true weak spot.

    the biggest thing I take away from this is that the coaches are confident in the rest of the OL depth. I just hope they are right- after all they were confident after the pre-season last year too and they turned out to be very wrong.

  4. Nick Says:

    I agree with all three comments. I love the competition. I love the fact that MM has enough confidence in our rookie to push him to LG. I love the analysis that Colledge is just “a guy”. I totally agree. Demoting a guy in the NFL is totally fine if he cant play that position. If Bulaga has that potential to move a veteran with his skill and be the future to being the number one guy for protecting our QB – then I could not be more thrilled.

    Ill be at the next preseason game (first) and Ill try to get some inside shick, but I’m pumped at the prospect of Bulaga and his upside!

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