Packers facing uncertainty at right tackle after Billy Turner's injury
GREEN BAY - Just because the Green Bay Packers don’t have a defined starting right tackle for the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings doesn’t mean the world stopped spinning Thursday.
Coach Matt LaFleur still had a practice to conduct even if presumptive starter Billy Turner was on the sideline with an injured right knee and veteran Rick Wagner was working with a large brace on his left elbow.
The Packers haven’t given up on Turner being in the lineup in his hometown of Minneapolis on Sept. 13 even though his injury could keep him out of practice a week or two, according to a source.
Turner didn’t tell the public at the time, but he played two playoff games with a high ankle sprain suffered in the 2019 regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions. It took a lot for him to gut it out and so there’s some hope he might be able to work his way back in time to play against the Vikings.
Regardless, the Packers have to protect themselves and that means considering all kinds of options if both Turner and Wagner can’t play.
They could go with Alex Light, but right tackle is not ideal for him because of his lack of size. They could bump one of their starting guards, Lane Taylor or Elgton Jenkins, out to right tackle. Taylor has filled in at tackle before and would not be in over his head. Jenkins is the most athletic linemen they have and could probably play anywhere.
“We've got to figure this out,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said this week. “It might be just trial by fire come Week 1, but we're going to need to be seven or eight or nine deep on the offensive line.
“I feel really good about the way that Lane (has played). Lucas Patrick has done a really nice job. Alex Light, I think, has improved. The young guys that have been in the mix, I think, have shown some strides with (Jon) Runyan and (Jake) Hansen and (John) Leglue. I think there's some possibility for some really good depth up there, but we definitely need to shore up what it's going to look like on the right side.”
The Packers practice one more time before the cutdown to 53 and then will probably sneak in an extra day next week as they prepare for the Vikings. Even if Turner weren’t able to practice all week, there’s little doubt that he could still step in and be able to carry out the game plan.
The determining factors will be whether he can move adequately, handle the pain and avoid further damage. Turner hurt the knee in the team’s Sunday scrimmage, came out, and then returned to finish, so they know he’ll play if he can.
Ring him up
This week, John Lovett received a package from Kansas City that – for some – is priceless: a Super Bowl ring.
The Packers’ fullback will find out Saturday if he makes the team’s 53-man roster but he spent all of last year on injured reserve for the world-champion Chiefs. An undrafted free-agent quarterback out of Princeton, Lovett was converted by the Chiefs into a tight end. He was injured, however, in the preseason and missed the rest of the year.
“Even stretching back to my fifth year at Princeton, I went through two wrist surgeries and thought I was having a good camp in Kansas City and coming down with a shoulder injury to spend a year on IR, it was definitely mentally challenging and had to face adversity from that standpoint,” Lovett said. “But obviously always have to overcome that and keep putting your best foot forward. Just keep your mind down and keep grinding.”
The Chiefs released him right before the start of training camp in late July, but they didn’t forget about him. He received a Super Bowl LIV champion ring, which were presented to the Chiefs on Tuesday. Lovett’s was sent out Wednesday – and naturally he was required to sign for it. The rings contain 255 diamonds and 36 genuine rubies.
Amos took chance leaving Canada
As an undrafted cornerback out of East Carolina in 2017, DaShaun Amos had a cup of coffee in the NFL with the New York Giants in that training camp and preseason before he was cut. With no immediate path to the league in 2018, he signed with the Calgary Stampeders and spent the last two years in the Canadian Football League.
Following a five-interception season for Calgary, the 6-foot, 190-pound corner had to make a decision: Re-sign in Canada or try to find a home in the NFL? Amos elected to test the waters, and Green Bay called. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst acknowledged him as a ready-made professional and Amos has had a solid camp, getting work as a boundary corner and at slot.
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“It was a little difficult in my shoes because it wasn’t like I went up there and just hated it,” he said. “I loved it when I was there. I played great football. Obviously, I made plays and was on a very successful team. It wasn’t like I was looking for the first ticket out of there.
"Growing up in America and growing up watching the NFL, obviously it’s my dream. I took a shot at it coming out of college. Things didn’t go my way so I’ve been itching to get back in this position before. At the end of last season, I just had to sit down and weigh my options. The way it weighed out, I got multiple workouts and Green Bay called. It’s such a prestigious organization. It was eye-opening. I came in and the workout went well.”