Bryan Bulaga and Packers' RT situation both questionable for Monday night

-- The Green Bay Packers may need to figure out an alternative course of action with their right tackle position heading into Monday night.

Both Bryan Bulaga and his backup, Jason Spriggs, popped up on Friday's injury report. Bulaga with a knee injury and Spriggs after dropping out of practice with an ankle injury, which led to him being carted back to Lambeau Field.

Bulaga is coming off of an ACL injury suffered last November and, miraculously, was ready for the Packers' season opener this year. He wasn't seen during the early portion of Friday's practice and wasn't present in the locker room afterward.

On Saturday, coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Bulaga is questionable for Monday night's meeting with the San Francisco 49ers, but there isn't any long-term concern with his knee.

Spriggs, a second-round pick by the Packers in 2016, is still undergoing further testing on his ankle, according to McCarthy. There's still the likelihood -- albeit small -- that Spriggs could play this week. It would offer even the slightest bit of insurance before they resort to an emergency plan.

That plan could include swapping guard Justin McCray to right tackle where he played briefly last season and keeping Byron Bell as the starter at right guard. The only qualm with that is that McCray has been battling a shoulder injury for the past three weeks.

At this point, it's more so a question of whether or not McCray is healthy enough to play or if the Packers just feel more comfortable starting Bell in his place.

Either way, both McCray and Bell are qualified to play both positions on the right side of the Packers' offensive line. If McCray can't play and Bell is forced to move out to right tackle, expect Lucas Patrick to fill his shoes at interior guard.

The tackle situation doesn't bode well for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who may revert back to the larger, more bulkier knee brace he wore in recent weeks as he continues to advance in his prolonged recovery from a knee injury suffered in the season opener.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (47)

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PatrickGB's picture

October 13, 2018 at 10:28 am

If it’s McCrays right shoulder that’s injured then having him fill in at right tackle does not seem like a good idea. But I think that the great white whale will play anyway. I just don’t know for how long.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 13, 2018 at 12:55 pm

McCray was active last week. Still, not sure that really means he could play this Monday. Just a thought though.

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GBPDAN1's picture

October 13, 2018 at 02:05 pm

Bulaga hurt? Shocking!

McCray and Bell are horrible at RT and are at least somewhat OK at guard . Lane Taylor played good at Tackle when we were in a pinch in the past. I know moving to many pieces on the line is not ideal, but I think the best grouping if Bulaga and Spriggs can't go is from LT to Rt; Bak, Bell, Lindsey, McCray, Taylor.

I'm not quite sure who would preform better at LG/RG. Maybe Bell and McCray switch sides at guard. I believe this is the best lineup - considering the circumstances - to keep Rodgers as safe as possible

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Tundraboy's picture

October 13, 2018 at 10:34 pm

I agree.

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Coldworld's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:13 am

If we do have to roll out backups to backups at RT then Lewis should be on the field a lot as part of the game plan. We can’t assume that the full ins will hold up until proved otherwise. Typically, we seem to opt for blind faith in such situations though.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 13, 2018 at 10:29 am

Bulaga is no longer a very good OT. He's a decent but not great one who can be counted on to miss 1/4 of his games and be hurt/ineffective for another 1/4 of his games.

Spriggs... is not good.

The RT situation is hideous and absolutely needs to be rectified in the offseason. This solution will not include Bulaga.

As far as MNF goes? You have to just get the ball out fast and run the ball. That's the only way around a turnstyle at either OT spot.

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Starr1531's picture

October 13, 2018 at 11:47 am

Bulaga should have been traded years ago, injury prone, can protect Rogers anymore, Still shocked why they let Josh Sitton go and TJ Lang. The problems start and end with McCarthy..

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 13, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Your whole post is about the GM (TT at the time) until the final sentence, which contradicts the first two sentences.

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The TKstinator's picture

October 14, 2018 at 05:51 am

Shades of Billy Madison.

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Coldworld's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:19 am

Sitton and Lang have been oft injured since they left.

Since neither were really tackles, I am also not sure that they would be a great help on the current situation even were they still here and fit.

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:21 pm

Bulga is and has been a solid tackle.

You do know Sitton is out for the year, right? And TJ is in the concussion protocol? It's a game of attrition, my friend, and no one has a crystal ball.

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CheeseHeadz's picture

October 13, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Im tired of the lack of depth at tackle. This organization got 20 freain recievers and did not get ANY quality offensive lineman.. GM needs to do a better job.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

October 14, 2018 at 02:00 am

Name 1 NFL team with quality backup tackles.

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Coldworld's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:21 am

Which receivers were on the field last week?

Half the teams in the league dont have two starting tackles that they are comfortable with.

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Michael Hughes's picture

October 13, 2018 at 01:16 pm

Its what happens when you draft exclusively defense for years. Sorting the line is priority 1 next off season above everything. We have given a QB who can no longer absorb hits a 130m contract and asked him to play behind a line that is held together by what is left of bulagas knees and back.

If we dont have a line that can protect aaron to an extremely high level then pretty much everything else is irrelevent so it really doesnt matter who we put out at OLB and Safety.

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The TKstinator's picture

October 13, 2018 at 01:30 pm

The TKstination much prefers interior guards to exterior guards.

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Lare's picture

October 13, 2018 at 02:10 pm

Have to dump this problem right in the lap of Gutekunst. While bringing in Bell was a decent stopgap move, doing nothing else to replace or back up Bulaga and Spriggs (who were both coming off of injuries) is somewhat inexcusable, especially considering they were going to invest over $100 million on their QB.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 13, 2018 at 02:15 pm

If I remember right, Gute DID draft a lineman. But that lineman decided not to show up.

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Lare's picture

October 13, 2018 at 05:14 pm

How many other teams drafted players that didn't show up? They're getting paid a lot of money to find out if a player has emotional issues before they spend draft capital on them.

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Coldworld's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:24 am

How many rookie OTs are starting and performing well?

How many teams had 2 let alone 3 competent tackles to start the season?

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Guam's picture

October 14, 2018 at 08:35 am

How many draft choices and free agent opportunities do you think Gute had? The Packers had problems at OLB, ILB, CB, S, TE, WR and OL. He addressed CB, ILB, TE and WR in year one. Not perfect, but not too bad either. I think he has earned a shot at year two before we condemn him.

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Lphill's picture

October 13, 2018 at 02:42 pm

Yes Patrick I forget his name but he was a good O lineman , didn't report I believe he was connected to a suicide by gun in college I'm not sure but I think he owned the gun a former teammate used in a suicide , why you would need a gun in college is a mystery to me.

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stockholder's picture

October 13, 2018 at 03:35 pm

Cole Madison. - Drafted to play Guard. The scout that liked him was Sullivan . I question if he wanted to be a packer. Time to get away from the West coast. I believe the packers need to stay in the big ten with their OL. Bulaga was nearly cut. Now he's are best Tackle again. The packers never used a rd. 1 pick to take a RT. Bulaga should have been a LT but failed. He still can't handle the speed rush, as his knees will need transplants soon. His back is used up. His wheels are slow. His s form is without the bold printing. TT made mistake with Spriggs. I didn't like the Pick. But it seems TT swallowed the bait that a KID could be great even on paper. (And Burn the Bears.) Seattle passed. So what didn't they like? Madison was 5th round. Somebody knew more! Gute put all his marbles in the first two rounds. If Burks, Moore, MVS and st Brown don't work out, it's a failed draft. Gute knew the problem on the right side. After the DB was taken. The OL should have been the priority.

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Lare's picture

October 13, 2018 at 05:13 pm

Yes, the rumor is that his QB, Tyler Hilinski, committed suicide last January with a gun he stole from Madison, who was a close friend.

I feel for the kid, I'm sure he's dealing with all kinds of guilt & depression over the situation. But the question remains, why did the Packers draft him 3 months later if he was having problems dealing with his issues? With the questions they had on the OL at the time they couldn't afford to not cover their bases during the draft.

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Coldworld's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:28 am

And is projected as a guard in the NFL to be fair.

Even if he were here, no guarantee they would be going with him at tackle in this situation so early in his career.

I thought Gute did a lot this off season. It seems some now think he is Superman, or at least ought to be expected to be.

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Chuck Farley's picture

October 13, 2018 at 03:25 pm

Going to be a long season me thinks. Last season the Vikes canned the entire o line due to lack of a lotta things. They quickly solved their problem via the draft and free agency. They get rid of dead wood. They have a list of available replacements - see kicker replaced in one day, they trade guys for picks not cut them for nothing in return.
Ya we have Rodgers, they got instant qb play via acquisition. Their guy is cheaper and producing.

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The TKstinator's picture

October 13, 2018 at 05:17 pm

Being a great GM is so easy.

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Coldworld's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:32 am

And their O line is a source of strength? Have you watched any of their game highlights?

The kicker they picked up was luck/desperation. Dallas moved on from him. Before that the Vikings were really excited by their upgrade for the future. Hardly an example of good planing ahead.

Get real folks.

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DD's picture

October 14, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Patriots really move them when needed!

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PatrickGB's picture

October 13, 2018 at 04:25 pm

Yes, Bulaga was a first rounder. The only first in quite some time. We drafted a LT in the first under the other Mike when he was coach and GM. Not many teams draft a lineman in the first unless he is a LT. Madison had played RT with good foot skills but was projected as a guard. There is a chance he may be back next year.

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The TKstinator's picture

October 13, 2018 at 05:29 pm

Sherrod was taken in the first, but Bakhtiari (taken in the 4th) has turned out better than what we could have hoped for from Derek.

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Spud Rapids's picture

October 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

The probability of tackles being a sure lock starter is great reduced beyond the top 20 picks... where the Packers never pick sans last year

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cheesehead1's picture

October 13, 2018 at 05:03 pm

Always liked Bulaga, but injured far too often. Hopefully Rodgers gets the protection he needs. Still waiting for our D to step up against a very good offense (Rams come to mind)

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

October 13, 2018 at 05:17 pm

Jim Taylor. .83. just died. :(

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dblbogey's picture

October 13, 2018 at 05:24 pm

Bulaga deserves more credit. He's played a lot of good football, and played hurt several times to help out the team.

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wildbill's picture

October 13, 2018 at 06:39 pm

Jim Taylor was probably the toughest man to ever play in the NFL. See the 1962 championship game as solid proof. A great player and a great man. RIP

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prenasharma's picture

October 13, 2018 at 11:46 pm

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DD's picture

October 14, 2018 at 12:13 pm

I said well before the regular season that Beluga, Cobb, Perry, and Mathews would NOTmake a full season. So far only miss is Matthews. Kept these guys a year or two too long with little to no trade value now. I know some have contracts, but the Packer administration has totally blown it. Sorry loyal fans. Kinda like MM, kept too long!

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:28 pm

How do you make your prognostications? Do you go with data, and past injury history, or is this a gift of clairvoyance? Because, dude, if you can see the future and you haven't told Gute you have betrayed us all! Did you have a premonition on Alexander? I know it can be both a burden and a curse to see the future.

Just curious. What percentage of NFL players do not miss time due to injury?

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sheppercheeser's picture

October 15, 2018 at 09:45 am

Kinda reminds me of the motto that Bill B lives by- better to cut a player one year too soon than one year too late.

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Spud Rapids's picture

October 15, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Yet everyone is complaining about Jordy being cut

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 14, 2018 at 07:32 pm

"The tackle situation doesn't bode well for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who may revert back to the larger, more bulkier knee brace he wore in recent weeks as he continues to advance in his prolonged recovery from a knee injury suffered in the season opener."

JFC, "larger, more bulkier"?

I appreciate the effort, but some of this is just too painful to read.

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Booner's picture

October 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

Gute
1.Jimmy Graham- Fail
2.Wilkerson- Fail
3.Madison- Fail
4.No plan for O interior line for any injury?- Fail

TT
1.Bennett-Fail
2.Spriggs- Fail
3.Not resigning Tretter-Fail
4.Rollins,Randall - Double Fail

Our GM's have not made the best decisions the last few years!

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Booner's picture

October 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

Gute
1.Jimmy Graham- Fail
2.Wilkerson- Fail
3.Madison- Fail
4.No plan for O interior line for any injury?- Fail

TT
1.Bennett-Fail
2.Spriggs- Fail
3.Not resigning Tretter-Fail
4.Rollins,Randall - Double Fail

Our GM's have not made the best decisions the last few years!

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Spud Rapids's picture

October 15, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Cherry picking decisions that fit your narrative doesn't make you clever

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Skip greenBayless's picture

October 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Boner, i would say Gute had a great first year draft but Ted did as well picking Aaron Rodgers as his very first pick. Ted never dealt much in free agency but when he did he had some nice impact players like CWood, Pickett, Peppers, Shields etc. Gute has appeared to go much more into free agency which the majority of the fans wanted and the results have been a disaster so far. The key is finding the right blend. But at least for now it appears the Packers lost in free agency this season.

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leaerin4's picture

October 19, 2018 at 10:33 am

The Packers need to use a first round draft pick on Amari Cooper. The Raiders are cleaning house and are asking for a first round pick for Cooper. He's definitely worth it and would replace Nelson and bring youth and excitement to our passing game.

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