LeRoy Butler explains to Tom Silverstein on if the Packers made the right decision on the guys who filled in for David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. (Sept. 19, 2017)
GREEN BAY – Earlier this week, Green Bay Packers guard Justin McCray said he could play left tackle if needed Thursday night against the Chicago Bears.
It looks like the Packers might need just that.
The Packers have only two tackles with experience in their offense, and both are listed as doubtful this week. Left tackle David Bakhtiari hasn’t played since the Packers' opener because of a strained hamstring. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga aggravated his ankle injury Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Without Bakhtiari and Bulaga, the Packers are lean on options. Kyle Murphy (foot) and Jason Spriggs (hamstring) are on injured reserve.
McCray, an interior lineman, got snaps at right tackle each of the past two weeks. Stepping over to the left side would be a different world, something McCray said he has done “not much” in his career. But McCray said he’s had practice reps at left tackle the past couple weeks, and wouldn’t hesitate to slide over.
“Just a little different,” McCray said. “The footwork is a little different. End of the day, it’s still a similar sort of thing. Different matchups, though.
“I go in the same way every week, preparing I may play one (offensive line position) or all five. So it’s the same mental makeup I go in every week.”
Bakhtiari and Bulaga were limited in practice the past two days, giving them a chance to play Thursday. That chance likely evaporated when the team released Wednesday’s injury report.
Bakhtiari said the Packers' depleted tackle depth chart has no impact on whether he’ll play against the Bears.
“With the injury I have,” Bakhtiari said, “we definitely have to be cautious with it and make sure that when I come back, I can stay back out there. And when I’m out there, I can be safe and contribute to the team the way I can, and that I should.”
Behind McCray, the Packers' depth chart is almost nonexistent.
Undrafted rookie Adam Pankey started the season on the practice squad and hasn’t played a snap. Newcomer Ulrick John was signed off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad Tuesday, and though he started three games in Arizona last season, he has had two days to learn the Packers' offense.
So the Packers enter Thursday with no good options at left tackle.