Aaron Nagler talks Green Bay Packers roster moves and takes questions from fans on Facebook Live. (Sept. 13, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY – The concern surrounding the Green Bay Packers’ offensive tackle situation could turn into desperation if a few things go against them this week.
It all starts with right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who missed the season opener with a sprained right ankle. Bulaga was not at the team facility Wednesday, but it was because of an illness, coach Mike McCarthy said.
Bulaga was listed on the injury report as missing practice because of the ankle and the illness, but what isn’t known, and what McCarthy wasn’t revealing, was whether he could have practiced had he not been ill.
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That likely will become clearer Thursday, but it doesn’t mean it will be clear whether Bulaga plays Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons.
To add even more uncertainty to the situation, McCarthy said the hamstring injury backup left tackle Jason Spriggs suffered Sunday against Seattle would sideline him several weeks.
So, that means the Packers still are figuring out who their right tackle and backup left tackle will be this week.
The latter became a little more important when starter David Bakhtiari was listed as a limited participant in practice with a hamstring injury. He made it through the entire game Sunday and took part in the portion of practice open to reporters.
Second-year pro Kyle Murphy, who started for Bulaga in Week 1, might have to be the starter at right tackle and backup at left tackle. The Packers signed undrafted rookie Adam Pankey from the practice squad and were forced to cut cornerback LaDarius Gunter to make room for him.
“I think clearly our roster reflects we have some guys on the offensive line who are injured, banged up,” McCarthy said.
Pankey has experience in the offense from training camp but he has played more guard than tackle and probably isn’t being considered for backup left tackle. He might be able to help out at right tackle if needed, but having to play against the speedy Falcons in their home debut at a new stadium would be an immense challenge.
Murphy had to hold down the right tackle spot in practice Wednesday, but he got some snaps in practice at left tackle last week and might be their best option. If Bulaga is healthy, he could move to left tackle and Murphy could stay on the right side.
“I took reps at left last week,” Murphy said. “Obviously, the preseason is a little more tough (for getting reps at left tackle) because there are a lot more moving parts and they’re trying to find guys spots.
“But we’ll see as far as reps. Today is normally our run-through day and kind of preview for everything, so we’ll see going forward how they want to do things.”
If Bulaga isn’t able to play, then McCarthy would have to choose from either Murphy or Pankey to replace Bakhtiari if he were to be injured. The one who doesn’t go to left tackle would play right tackle.
“Regardless of how people are feeling, everyone has got to be ready to go at every point in the season,” Murphy said. “Active roster, guys who might not normally suit up on game day, you never know what's going to happen over the course of the week. Practice squad guys, too.
“Everyone has always got to be ready for guys to go down, guys to be sick, guys to not feel great.”