Bulaga: Everything Feels Pretty Good

The Packers' starting right tackle, Bryan Bulaga is pushing to start against on Sunday against the Rams. Plus, more news and notes from Thursday.

Bryan Bulaga appears ready to return to the starting lineup when the Green Bay Packers host the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Whether he'll be allowed to by the training staff, however, is a different story.

"Bryan Bulaga felt good this morning was the report from the medical staff today," coach Mike McCarthy said after Thursday's practice. "Had a padded practice today and had a chance to observe him going in the one-on-one run block vs. the D-line and also the pass rush, so he looks to be moving well. Really, the examination Friday is the true test because today being in pads he had a chance to lean on the defense and really test himself. He looked fine. We'll see what the film shows and we'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Bulaga — "Dr. Bulaga," as McCarthy jokingly referred to him at this time last week — lobbied the coaching and medical staff to play last week after exiting the Week 3 game at Chicago with a knee sprain. He hopes his play at practice does the talking this time, though it's possible the Packers' always-cautious training staff will want to give him another week.

"I'm practicing, I'm out there working and trying to get back," he said. "I'm out there practicing and trying to get as many reps as I can. So, if lobbying is the word you want to use, yeah.

"I feel a lot better. From a moving-around standpoint, a pain standpoint, everything feels pretty good. We'll see what happens about playing Sunday. I'm just going out there practicing and jumping back into things."

Bulaga, last year's first-round pick, was hurt when a player he wasn't blocking, nose tackle Matt Toeania, fell into the side of his left leg. Bulaga remained on the ground for a couple minutes before he was helped off the field by two trainers. Fortunately for the Packers, the injury looked worse than it wound up being.

"You know, I didn't fear that it was anything too bad," he said. "I just know that it was painful and I hadn't had a pain like that in my knee. I've never really had any knee issues. It was a new pain; I've had shoulder injuries and foot injuries, but when it happens to a part of your body that you're not accustomed to nicking up, it's a little bit of a shock. That's more what it was than anything. I think it was more me being a little upset about not being able to play the rest of the game. It was a big game. I didn't fear that it could have been something really, really bad."

Underwood reinstated

The NFL has lifted the suspension for former Green Bay Packers defensive back Brandon Underwood, a league source told Scout.com NFL insider Aaron Wilson.

After Nick Collins' season-ending injury, the Packers displayed interest in bringing back Underwood but were deterred by a looming suspension. The Packers decided to stick with veteran cornerback/safety Jarrett Bush and undrafted rookie M.D. Jennings as their backups at safety. Shortly thereafter, the NFL suspended Underwood for two games.

On the night of the Packers' ring ceremony, Underwood was accused of domestic violence by his wife. Underwood pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and paid a $767.50 fine. That was the second off-the-field transgression for Underwood. In summer 2010, Underwood was tangled up in a case involving two prostitutes at a resort near Wisconsin Dells. He pleaded no-contest in that case and was fined $379.

Packers injury report

Out — LT Chad Clifton (knee/hamstring); DE Mike Neal (knee). Did not participate — LB Clay Matthews (quad); CB Charles Woodson (foot/knee). Limited — RT Bryan Bulaga (knee); C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith (ankle); WR Greg Jennings (groin); CB Pat Lee (back); TE Andrew Quarless (knee); G Josh Sitton (ankle). Full — OLB Frank Zombo (shoulder).

Jennings and Dietrich-Smith were added to the list. Jennings "irritated" his groin about halfway through practice, McCarthy said, and was sent back to the stadium for treatment.

Rams injury report

Limited — G Jacob Bell (hamstring); TE Michael Hoomanawanui (head). Full — DE James Hall (back); LS Jake McQuaide (illness); DT Darell Scott (thumb).

Four-point stance

— There are 39 National Football Foundation national scholar-athletes playing in the NFL. The only one who suits up for the Packers is Derek Sherrod. Cleveland has five of them. Click here for the list.

— McCarthy said the offense was guilty of too many presnap penalties during Wednesday's and Thursday's practices, though he wouldn't say if it was a case of his team maybe looking ahead with the winless Rams coming to town. "Just need to do a better a job," McCarthy said. "We've done a number of things, I don't want to get into specifics, we need to do a better job. Too many."

— Without Neal, Jarius Wynn is tied with Desmond Bishop with a team-leading three sacks. "He's getting better. That's what you look for in young players," McCarthy said. "He's done a good job. I think we're using him proper as far as the amount of snaps. We're trying to do a better job of balancing out the snaps throughout that defensive line group and we definitely accomplished that against Atlanta. In fact, that entire group graded out very well. If we can just keep get the balance going and he's a big part of that."

— The Packers are wearing their 1929 throwback uniforms on Sunday. They wore them during one practice last year to get the quarterbacks used to the blue jerseys. They haven't done so this week. Will they on Friday? "That's a good question, I haven't gotten that far," McCarthy said. "If we did it last year, I'll probably do it this year. That's a good point. I'll take that of my list. Thanks for reminding me."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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