Remember those questions about Bryan Bulaga's arm length back in 2010, when the Packers made him their first-round draft pick?
"Yeah, yeah," Bulaga said with a laugh after Thursday's practice.
Bulaga spent most of the past three seasons playing right tackle. Now he's at left tackle, where he'll face a gauntlet of top pass rushers on a weekly basis. Based on how he's handled one of the league's top pass rushers, Clay Matthews, on a daily basis on Ray Nitschke Field, Bulaga should be just fine.
In four days of one-on-one pass-protection drills, Bulaga is 6-0. On Thursday, he manhandled powerful C.J. Wilson. More impressive was his victory over Matthews on Tuesday. Bulaga played with the poise of a 10-time Pro Bowler, slowly retreating and waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting for Matthews to make a move before stopping him in his tracks. In a run-blocking drill, he dumped powerhouse rookie Andy Mulumba on his butt.
"I feel good right now," Bulaga said. "The first couple days, I didn't feel as comfortable as I did during OTAs for some reason. Coach Campen and I, we worked on some things, we watched tape, we talked about it and changed a couple things up with my pass sets, and now I feel a lot more comfortable with it.
The Packers could be in a pickle if something were to happen to starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Shotgun snaps by the No. 2 center candidates have been an issue throughout training camp. At one point during Thursday's practice, after a snap dribbled back to the quarterback, coach Mike McCarthy cussed while demanding a new center get in the huddle.
The Packers might not be in such a bind had fourth-round pick J.C. Tretter not broken his ankle on the first day of OTAs. Tretter was viewed as a strong candidate to be the team's top backup at the interior positions. Instead, Greg Van Roten has been OK but, thus far, hasn't taken a significant step forward after an impressive training camp last summer earned him a spot on the practice squad and, later, a promotion to the roster. Don Barclay has been solid at right tackle but struggled at center. Undrafted rookies Patrick Lewis and Lane Taylor don't look anywhere close to being of use for this season.
Position of the day
No wonder the Packers felt like they'd be OK when they released Desmond Bishop. They are loaded at inside linebacker. We will detail the outstanding depth on Friday.
— First-round pick Datone Jones is 10-7 and Mike Daniels is 7-6 in the one-on-one pass-rushing drill. Jones has impressed at every turn. Said defensive coordinator Dom Capers: "The way the game is now, because people spread you out so much and you've got a lot more receivers on the field, you've got more athletic quarterbacks, you better have athletic guys who can rush and can win one-on-one and can go get the quarterback once they beat a block."
— Echoing what McCarthy said on Wednesday, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said Randall Cobb would be the team's kick returner if the season were to start tomorrow. If Jeremy Ross can assure the coaches that he can safely handle the ball, would the job be his? "Well, we're not going to hypothetically make the decision right now," Slocum said. "We're going to go through the process with Jeremy. He did it for us last year. I think he needs to demonstrate that he's going to do it at a high level. He will very much be a factor in this."
— The Packers are paying Morgan Burnett like a top-shelf safety, and he's been playing like one through camp. During a span of three plays, Burnett broke up a short pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones and broke up a long pass from Rodgers to Jarrett Boykin. "This is the Morgan Burnett that we know and I think it's now just being expressed a little more openly to everybody else," McCarthy said. "He's doing exactly what he needs to do."
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.