Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy liked the way right tackle Bryan Bulaga looked in his return to the starting lineup.
Just maybe not the way he smelled.
“I thought he looked good in the locker room, that’s all I’m really concerned about,” McCarthy said following the Packers’ 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. “He was happy, jumping around. There’s nothing like a big old sweaty hug from a 320-pound offensive tackle. I think he looks good.”
Less than three-and-a-half weeks after injuring his left knee at practice — an injury that required surgery — Bulaga was back at right tackle. It was like he hadn’t left. On a day when the Rams’ defense took away the quick-passing game and was able to get some pressure on Aaron Rodgers, Bulaga generally kept his man at bay. He didn’t allow either of the two sacks and Pro Football Focus charged Bulaga with just one of the seven hurries.
“No matter how many years I’m in the league or how many games I play, I’m always nervous before games,” Bulaga said. “Nervous, excited. This wasn’t any different and it wasn’t because of coming back from a knee deal. I knew there was going to be some rust, simply because it’s different live action from practice. Overall, I normally don’t talk about … I let the coaches evaluate how I played but from a health standpoint it felt fine, it felt good. I was just happy to be back out there, trying to do my best to help win the game.”
While the Packers got back one valuable piece to their prized offensive line, they lost another when right guard T.J. Lang went down with a knee injury in the second quarter. On Twitter Sunday night, Lang said, “I’m alright.”
The Packers also lost outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) and nose tackle B.J. Raji (groin). After the game, McCarthy said he hadn’t talked to the training staff so couldn’t provide an update. Perry had offseason shoulder surgery though it’s uncertain if he injured the same shoulder. He’s got four sacks this season, all coming in the last three games.
Josh Walker got the first chance to replace Lang. After a rough first series, he was replaced by Don Barclay for a series. Walker then returned and played the rest of the game.
“I thought he played real well, especially considering the situation,” center Corey Linsley said. “He came in and we didn’t really miss a beat. One of the things you have to make sure if all good is the communication because stuff kind of flies around there and there’s different calls just on the fly and I thought he was cool there.”
Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.