Remember a few months ago, when one of the main priorities on offense was building a solidified line?
That’s probably not going to happen on Sunday at Tampa Bay, with coach Mike McCarthy saying the “combination” of Chad Clifton and T.J. Lang at left tackle and Mark Tauscher and Allen Barbre at right tackle was a possibility.
“It’s all part of the conversation,” McCarthy said when asked about rotating or alternating tackles. “We go through this every week where we go up top and have our game-management meeting, and we’ll go through the board and outline the 53 to the 45 and we’ll talk in more specifics, watch the film in the morning with the staff. That’s the same process we go through every week. I’m not sitting here trying to hide anything. It’s just getting all the information and making a sound decision.”
In the surest sign that Tauscher will start for Barbre at right tackle, when the Packers needed a left tackle to take reps with Clifton getting most of the day off and with Lang out with an oblique strain, Barbre moved to left tackle.
While Tauscher figures to start, there’s no guarantee he’ll play the entire game — especially in the 80-degree heat of Tampa with just four weeks of practice under his belt.
“I think it’s realistic to watch Mark, Nick Barnett or whoever the individual is coming off of a knee surgery, that you haven’t participated in live action in a year,” McCarthy said. “There’s a protocol that obviously varies with the individual, the position, and we’re going to trust the medical staff, and frankly the input of the athlete to make a sound decision.”
As for Clifton, his limited participation at practice was by design. He had good practices on Wednesday and Thursday and felt good on Friday. But, as is the case for Tauscher, Clifton might not play the entire game.
“Just to throw them in there and think they’re going to play 80 plays, or 70 plays, I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do this week,” McCarthy said.
Packers injury report
Out — LB Brandon Chillar (hand); TE Jermichael Finley (knee); WR Jordy Nelson (knee); C/G Jason Spitz (back). Questionable — WR Jake Allen (quad); FB Korey Hall (calf); T T.J. Lang (oblique); S Derrick Martin (concussion). Probable — T Chad Clifton (ankle); WR Donald Driver (neck); QB Aaron Rodgers (feet); CB Charles Woodson (hip).
Driver and Rodgers had their first practice of the week and both came through it with no troubles. Rodgers, with one sprained foot and a sprained big toe on the other foot, took part in everything at practice and his movement was fine.
Allen and Lang were added to the lengthy report. With Finley and Nelson out, having Allen as a fourth receiver would be helpful.
Buccaneers injury report
Questionable — WR Antonio Bryant (knee); WR Michael Clayton (wrist); CB Elbert Mack (ankle). Probable — CB Aqib Talib (ankle); G Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder).
Bryant, the Bucs’ Pro Bowl receiver, did not participate at Friday’s practice, and he blamed it on the team’s overseas trip back from London for the game two weeks ago against New England.
“That plane ride didn’t help me,” Bryant told reporters in Tampa on Friday. “I was good for like two weeks before that. Then I got on that plane ride coming back, and I got up to go to the bathroom and I was like, ‘Oh!’”
Bryant went on to say that he’s reluctant to play on Sunday and be injured further because he’s playing under a one-year franchise tender.
“It don’t do me no good to play for a game or two and then be right back and have to sit down again,” he said.
Field goal woes
Mason Crosby is 1-of-4 from 50-plus yards on field goals, including a 51-yard miss that would have cut the margin to two points in the fourth quarter last week against Minnesota.
Despite Crosby’s long-distance troubles, McCarthy said he has no regrets about calling for the kick — and would do so again.
“Based on the pregame work that specific day, we felt anything from the 38 in was the range,” McCarthy said. “We were 6 yards in the range from that standpoint. The way the game was going, the importance of momentum, I felt to get that to a (two)-point game was the goal that we were trying to achieve. So I don’t have an issue with attempting a 51. He has plenty of leg. He just didn’t get a good kick on it.”
— Rodgers ranks third in the league this season with a miniscule interception percentage of 0.89 percent. He has thrown 15 interceptions in 23 career starts, including three at Tampa Bay last year.
— Bucs running back Carnell Williams ranks 33rd in the NFL in rushing with 310 yards. The best game of his career came as a rookie in 2005, when he rushed for 158 yards in the Bucs’ 17-16 win at Green Bay.
— The Packers have five players with a reception of at least 45 yards: Driver, Greg Jennings, Finley, James Jones and Spencer Havner. The team record of six was set in 1983.
— The Packers’ Woodson and the Bucs’ Aqib Talib are tied for fourth in the NFL with four interceptions. Bills rookie Jairus Byrd leads with seven.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.