The second week of the season brings us to our second weekly question from NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. This week, the theme is pressure as we look ahead to Sunday's matchup between the Packers and the New York Jets:
Wow. Many surprises in Wk 1. @SBNation: on your team, who is now facing the pressure to perform? ... http://t.co/fez0V7D33a— Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) September 10, 2014
With all the playmakers on the New York Jets' defensive line, the Packers' offensive front will be tested early and often. Left end Muhammad Wilkerson has developed into a top 3-4 defensive end, while right defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson took the NFL by storm a year ago on his way to Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Though the two players occasionally flip sides, the eyes of Packers fans will be squarely on the right tackle position. Though Bryan Bulaga practiced on Wednesday, he was said to be "gingerly" moving about on his sprained left knee. It seems unlikely at this point that he'll be playing so soon after suffering his injury against the Seahawks on opening night.
The pressure then falls to backup Derek Sherrod, who struggled in the second half against Seattle and gave up two huge sacks. On the turf field against faster rushers, Sherrod couldn't get out of his stance quick enough; perhaps he'll be more effective against bigger and stronger, but less athletic linemen. Then again, the Jets have a talented group of pass-rushing outside linebackers to contend with, including Quinton Coples, Jason Babin, and Calvin Pace.
Regardless of which players he's blocking, Sherrod will be under the microscope on Sunday in the likely event that he is called upon to start at Lambeau Field. If he can help ensure that Aaron Rodgers has time to throw against a suspect Jets secondary, that will go a long way to ensuring a Packers victory.
(Editor's note: this article was written and published before reports that Bryan Bulaga was practicing on Thursday.)
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