A month ago the news was big but the timing was right. The Green Bay Packers staff told the offensive line that everyone except center Evan Dietrich-Smith would begin the offseason playing a new position. After four weeks of work behind the scenes, that change was unveiled to the media and fans Tuesday during organized team activities. "Yeah it's going to be tough," said guard Josh Sitton. "But they gave us enough time that I think we're going to be able to adjust to it. These first few weeks have been really tough just trying to figure out new stance and new footwork and all that. It's really not easy but I think eventually we'll be fine. "At the end of the day it's football." The new lineup looks like this: Bryan Bulaga at left tackle (was right), Sitton at left guard (was right), T.J. Lang at right guard (was left) and competition at the right tackle spot, with Marshall Newhouse starting out there for now (was left). Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that protection concerns — quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked 51 times last year — wasn't the only reason for the big changes. "Josh Sitton has really come in to his own the last couple of years," said McCarthy. "I feel Bryan is our best tackle. It's going back to basic fundamentals, putting our offensive line together with a right-handed quarterback to protect his back side." McCarthy added that scheme evaluation and game-planning for the upcoming season were also factors in the change. Lang is thankful for the handful of times he has played on the right in an emergency. "It's definitely a challenge to get your feet right and your stance right, but I have a little bit of experience playing on the right side so I feel like I might be a small step in front of the other guys," said Lang. "I mean Josh played on the right for five years;" it is probably a little difficult for him." Sitton's limited experienced is that he played a few games at left guard his senior year at Central Florida. What may make the transition easier is bringing Bulaga over with him. The two have worked together on the right side for three years and their communication is so good they've developed code words to help cover themselves in protection. "I love playing next to him, he's a hell of a player," said Sitton. "He had to come in really young and play." Bulaga has recovered from a hip injury that landed him on injured reserve Nov. 12. He suffered a small fracture in the hip capsule where the femur rests. He was on crutches for five weeks and then began walking in December. He spent the entire offseason in Green Bay, making it clear to coaches that he was not only capable but healthy enough to make such an important switch. "Bryan is very smart, he's very fundamentally sound," said offensive line coach James Campen. "He was the youngest rookie to start in the Super Bowl and win. Bryan's just a mature kid. Heck, he'll go play guard for you, he doesn't care. He''s just a football player. I know he's excited about it."
Packers' o-linemen shift into new positions
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | May 22