Packers Limp Into Thursday Night With Shuffling Offensive Line

The never-ending carousel of plagued offensive tackles will continue into Thursday night when the Green Bay Packers host the rival Chicago Bears. 

In the 195th meeting between the two franchises, the Packers come into the game with the clear advantage -- or, disadvantage -- on the injury report with both starting tackles listed as doubtful. 

Left tackle David Bakhtiari is still fighting off a hamstring injury and has been a limited participant in practice all week, whereas right tackle Bryan Bulaga is dealing with a re-aggravated ankle injury. It's the same ankle injury that kept him out of the Packers' first two games of the season, finally making his 2017 debut in week three against the Cincinnati Bengals. Now, he'll have to remain sidelined.

There is light in all of this doom-and-gloom, and it's that the Packers have a 10-day gap between Thursday night and next Sunday when they venture into Dallas for the second time in a year to face the Cowboys. If they can get through the Bears, a plethora of injured players could be cleared by then.

Amongst them would be both of the aforementioned tackles as well as cornerback Davon House, who is the only player officially ruled out for tomorrow night. Outside linebacker Nick Perry and defensive tackle Mike Daniels are also longshots to play, however, they're the only two questionable players on Wednesday's injury report.

The attention, at least right now, remains on the offensive line; a group responsible for protecting the cornerstone of the franchise in quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

There's a multitude of combinations that are possibilities for the Packers to open the game with. One of which is moving undrafted rookie guard Adam Pankey to right tackle and potentially loading up with an extra tight end on his side for protection. Or, as ESPN's Rob Demovsky noted, the Packers could shift left guard Lane Taylor to left tackle and move guard Lucas Patrick in his place.

The best scenario would be anything that keeps Pankey off the field due to his inexperience, which would open the door to playing guard Justin McCray at right tackle instead.

On Monday, the Packers also signed Ulrick John off of the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad. He's the only true tackle currently on the Packers' roster with Kyle Murphy and Jason Spriggs both landing on injured reserve in a span of two days. Spriggs' spot on IR was the corresponding move to John's signing.

It's a less than ideal situation for the Packers to be in, but it's one that, as coach Mike McCarthy stated earlier in the week, they're just going to have to work through. 

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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 (42)

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TommyG's picture

September 27, 2017 at 08:29 pm

When this season started, one of the things that concerned me the most was depth at offensive line. Obviously, protecting QB1 is the biggest reason we need that line to be solid, but the other reason is in regards to TE. Without a solid line, MM will be using his TE in blocking more than is desired. Our team through our some big money for these TE and these losses are hurting their use. I like that TT brought in UJ to help fill the gaps.

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Turophile's picture

September 28, 2017 at 02:21 am

Depth didn't look bad to me before the season started. Spriggs and Murphy to back up at tackle and maybe guard in a pinch. Barclay and Patrick to manage guard and center.

You cannot adequately plan for injuries to Bulaga and Bakhtiari, plus Barclay on IR, Murphy on IR, Spriggs on IR. That's just decimation.

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dobber's picture

September 28, 2017 at 09:13 am

The depth he's talking about isn't the depth we're talking about now.

He's talking about whether or not Spriggs/Murphy/etc. could play adequately if called upon. That's not the issue, now.

This is a whole different can o' beans.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 27, 2017 at 08:55 pm

Not. Good.

With both starters AND both backups out of the game, not to mention both Daniels and Perry questionable, I would not be surprised in the least if we lost this one.

My guess:

GB 20
CHI 17

Please Aaron, don't get killed.

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Packer_Pete's picture

September 27, 2017 at 08:58 pm

The problem really is that OT is the position that is hit so hard. If at least one of the starting OTs was healthy and one of the starting OGs was injured instead then I think this would be a totally different picture. But it's not just the starting OTs but their backups too! Nobody could have foreseen that. But, unfortunately it is the case that Bulaga hardly stays healthy. But at least Bakh was for most of his career so far. That also Spriggs and Murphy are out now is just real bad luck. Not blaming anybody for that, not TT, MM, or the trainers...

Having said all that, this is the Bears who is the next opponent. Mike Glennon at QB... No real WR to speak of. Stop their RBs and you stop that team period.

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Siwi87's picture

September 27, 2017 at 09:03 pm

Well I say we give the backups a chance.....our coach and QB have to help them out at times.....Arod has to take what the D gives him and cannot consistently look for the big play....Marty B has to show off his blocking skills tomorrow....I would rather him block his ass off than catch ten balls....I believe we need to see the Ripper tomorrow in order to help the QB stay clean too....Let's go D and get a couple turnovers to help out our field position....they are due! Just WIN!

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

September 27, 2017 at 09:07 pm

It makes no sense to move Taylor to tackle. I don't think he would be any better than any of the other options and it's just going to weaken an already terrible o line. I wasn't happy with the oline depth at all but I don't think any team would be any better right now looking at starting their 6th and 7th string tackles 4 weeks into the season

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Since'61's picture

September 27, 2017 at 09:17 pm

I prefer to keep as many of the starting OLs in their usual positions as possible. I would leave Linsley, Evans and Taylor in their usual spots so that the interior line remains intact. I would use McRay at one of the tackle spots since he has already played well at tackle this season. Use John at the other spot. I don't trust Pankey at this point, at least not to start. We'll need our TEs and maybe Rip in the backfield to chip as well. Quick passing game will be the required approach versus the Bears. Moving pocket should be utilized as well. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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The TKstinator's picture

September 27, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Ulrick John? After like 2 days of practice?
Yikes!!

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Since'61's picture

September 28, 2017 at 06:48 am

TK - it's Yikes either way between John and Pankey. I'm not sure who else is left. Thanks, Since '61

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dobber's picture

September 28, 2017 at 09:15 am

Pankey played some LT in camp, I thought. He was better at G, though. That's my recollection...

He played LT in college and at least has months (plural) in the Packers system.

I don't understand why anyone thinks Lane Taylor would be a suitable LT.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 28, 2017 at 06:38 pm

Rock and a hard place; yikes and yikes. No argument there, amigo.

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LeotisHarris's picture

September 27, 2017 at 10:15 pm

"...a plethora of injured players could be cleared by then."

"There's a multitude of combinations that are possibilities for the Packers to open the game with. "

Language can be a beautiful thing or a cringe-worthy collection of words. Ouch!

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The TKstinator's picture

September 27, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Great to hear from good old #69!
What was it like to block for the great Eric Torkelson and Barty Smith?

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

September 28, 2017 at 12:47 am

I literally don't get this comment at all, but thanks for reading.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 28, 2017 at 08:31 am

Seriously, and you wrote the quotes.
Just match them up....his reply to each.

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Arthur Jackson's picture

September 28, 2017 at 11:13 am

They didn't make me cringe. Plus as Forrest Gump said "I'm not a smart man, but I do know 'a plethora' is better than 'a dearth.'"

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The TKstinator's picture

September 28, 2017 at 06:39 pm

Yes!
Plethora>dearth.
Every time.

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Samson's picture

September 27, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Short week and a real mess at OT.
AR will probably make up for the OT problem with his maneuverability expertise but missing players on the "D" may be the key in this game..------ The Bears can actually run the ball pretty well.- (better than the Pack)

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Point-Packer's picture

September 27, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Letting Tretter go sure looks smart now.

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ZacharyJacobson's picture

September 28, 2017 at 01:47 am

Don't think anybody saw three reserve offensive linemen landing on injured reserve within a month.

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al bundy's picture

September 28, 2017 at 07:44 am

And why would any of us be surprised. They have apiss poor conditioning program.

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Finwiz's picture

September 28, 2017 at 08:29 am

Rodger that.....PISS POOR!
And nothing ever changes - total incompetence.

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Turophile's picture

September 28, 2017 at 02:26 am

Ah, 20/20 rearview mirror wisdom.

Packers would not pay starter money to a backup center, while Tretter himself would want to be a starter, and is - elsewhere.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 28, 2017 at 03:26 am

Did you actually watch any Browns game this season with Tretter as starting center? Obviously not. My conclusion is that he cashed a lot of money on nothing else except GB coaching praised him so often. He is constantly overmatched and pushed back to his QB. It may be that Browns system is guilty for poor play, but it is how it is...

I'm glad we do not need to count on him as back up center...

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Point-Packer's picture

September 28, 2017 at 02:39 pm

#masochist

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fthisJack's picture

September 28, 2017 at 07:55 am

everyone complaining about the OL depth but then complain about having to pay a decent backup like Tretter. i was hoping the Pack would sign him. he could play any position well. was , i believe, a better center than Linsley and way better than anyone we currently have for depth on the OL. and the label "injury prone" gets used way too much for certain players.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 28, 2017 at 02:39 pm

Tretter was truly "versatile". Unlike ol' Donnie Barclay, who the Pack plugged in a multiple positions only to see him fail miserably (post ACL injury).

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JJtheTraveler's picture

September 27, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Just an FYI: I spent 17 months in Nam, 9 of those in or around combat. If what I just heard about what rogers is going to say is true then the pack is dead to me. This entire "HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT" crap is a complete LIE. I've followed the pack since the late 50's. Again if what I've read/heard the pack is dead to me forever. NOTHING will bring it back to me.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 28, 2017 at 01:12 am

NASCAR could use some fans.

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daveinTX's picture

September 27, 2017 at 11:42 pm

My thinking is that Bakhtiari will start and Bulaga sits. Taylor seems to have adapted very well to helping Murphy. And, I expect he can do the same with Bak if he is limited. So, my concern would be helping McCray.

AR seems to be able to predict how McCray blocks his man. He is obviously limited with his reach and gives AR less room to the outside unless McCray has a outside chipper. My plan would be to have a TE stacked behind McCray. Much like the way M3 used his TE set in the backfield a few seasons ago for max/pro and run blocking. That TE often released inside the RT for a shallow pass on a play action. I'd use that formation a lot and keep the Bears guessing, while helping McCray.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 28, 2017 at 06:10 am

There was an interesting read on another Packers site where the writers commented on what bothered them most about the 2017 season through 3 games. One writer mentioned the use of the 2 new TE, the other mentioned McCarthy not helping Rodgers at the line with protections / helping the 2 new tackles.

So far we've seen McCarthy at his STUBBORN best in both of these areas. The TE's aren't being used as much as they should to help the tackles and McCarthy seems to be back to calling routes that are taking time to develop downfield when Rodgers doesn't have the time.

THIS is exactly what bugs the hell out of me about our "Highly Successful HC". He refuses to acknowledge certain facts like his tackles would have a hard time starting for say Alabama right now, and Rodgers DOESN'T have the time to wait for a route to develop.
McCarthy is supposed to be an offensive guru. I'm sure he has some routes designed to open quickly, get the ball out of Rodgers hands.

McCarthy could do more to protect his QB. If he doesn't start it might not matter when the starters are back because Rodgers is getting the crap knocked out of him.

One other thing bugs me about MM. WHY in the hell does he wear that long sleeve shirt with another shirt over it when the temps are 90 degrees. The man had sweat poring off him like he was in a sauna last Sunday. I find it highly unlikely this was at all comfortable. That's just weird to me.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 28, 2017 at 06:25 am

"Sweat pouring off him like he was in a sauna"...
Maybe he's got an incentive laden weigh-in coming up?

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porupack's picture

September 28, 2017 at 07:31 am

Well said, Zachary.....the packers are limping into the game with serious impairments.

I like how you sum it up:
It's a less than ideal situation for the Packers to be in, but it's one that, as coach Mike McCarthy stated earlier in the week, they're just going to have to work through. 

I like MM attitude; roll up the sleeves, and work through the adversity. A little adversity in the beginning of the seasons isn't all that bad, and maybe produces a lot of resolve and creativity.

To keep in perspective, while the packers will play a rival with 5th and 6th string oline, this is still a temporary adversity...as the packers have very capable starters due back.

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al bundy's picture

September 28, 2017 at 07:41 am

Hey Tedl let bulaga and batiri walk and replace them with some genius fifth rounders. Wow the money you will save. Sitting, lang, others, all bye bye. Why not. You got Rogers.

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fthisJack's picture

September 28, 2017 at 08:11 am

funny stuff. Sitton and Lang....both 4th round picks,dude! have one on me!

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pacman's picture

September 28, 2017 at 08:41 am

Put Josh Jones on the OL. It seems like they are expecting him to do it all now.

I wonder if they have contated Raji?

Things are certainly a mess. I would imagine the game plan is to get the ball out of AR's hand very quickly. I just hope AR doesn't try to be the tough guy here. This is a game that would be perfect for Taysom Hill.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2017 at 09:13 am

I'm praying that Bahk is back and the rest just hold their own for one game. I think the reports on Bahk are the usual cautionary ones, because if it is the severe type like Clay's we are in deep trouble and not just this game.

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dobber's picture

September 28, 2017 at 09:23 am

The Packers tend to be so cautious in reporting injuries and in how they deal with the players. I wouldn't be surprised either way on Bakhtiari: that he could sit and they'll try to limp through against an inferior opponent to get rest for Dallas, or that he'll play because he's further along than we think and that he'll get 10 days to recoup afterward.

I think both Bulaga and Bakhtiari were listed as doubtful, though, right? At this point, it looks like only those two and House are unlikely to play tonight. Getting Daniels back would be a real boost.

http://www.packers.com/team/injury-report.html

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Tundraboy's picture

September 28, 2017 at 09:45 am

Daniels back would be something to see!

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A Pickled Packer's picture

September 28, 2017 at 04:41 pm

Rodgers is going to have to trade in his cleats for a pair of PF Flyers. He'll be doing a lot of scrambling tonight, hopefully they will pound the rock and not our quarterback. Go Pack

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The TKstinator's picture

September 28, 2017 at 06:42 pm

Um, I'm an imposing 5-11 and 175, played some OT in intramural flag football at UW La Crosse (championship team, no less)
Should I expect my phone to ring?
Btw, what's the league minimum $?

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