GREEN BAY, Wis. — Here’s how bad the Packers‘ offensive line situation looks on the eve of Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bears: They might have to start someone who’s been with them for three days or play one or more of their guards at the all-important tackle spots.
Preferred starting tackles David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and Bryan Bulaga (ankle) both were listed as doubtful on the final injury report Wednesday. The Packers’ top three backup tackles all are on injured reserve. Kyle Murphy, who started the season opener at right tackle in place of Bulaga and the last two games at left tackle for Bakhtiari, this week joined Jason Spriggs and Don Barclay on IR.
Coach Mike McCarthy will have to decide whether to try tackle Ulrick John, who was signed Tuesday after Murphy sustained a foot injury, or shuffle two of his guards — either starters Lane Taylor and Jahri Evans or backups Lucas Patrick, Justin McCray or Adam Pankey — to the outside.
Taylor might be the best option at left tackle because at least he plays on the left side of the line as the starting left guard. Patrick could then jump in at Taylor’s spot.
McCray then likely would be the best option at right tackle. He played exclusively at guard and center all preseason but made his first NFL start in Week 2 against Atlanta at right tackle. He also filled in Sunday after Bulaga reinjured his right ankle. Patrick is a guard/center by trade, while Pankey played tackle in college at West Virginia but transitioned to guard this summer after he was signed as an undrafted free agent.
“It’s definitely not a position you want to be in,” Bakhtiari said. “Technically, you have your five tackles all banged up right now. That’s not something you want to see. We’re a team at the end of the day. We believe in the philosophy of next man up. Regardless if a guy’s out there and he’s banged up, he’s got to perform.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a beating last week, getting sacked six times by the Bengals. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it’s the first time he’s ever won a game while getting sacked six or more times.
At least Rodgers should have all of his receivers if he has any time to throw. Randall Cobb (chest) was removed from the injury report after missing the game Sunday.