As expected, the Green Bay Packers will be without right tackle Bryan Bulaga (sprained knee cap) Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Head coach Mike McCarthy announced the news at his Wednesday press conference.
Without Bulaga, the Packers are prepared to start left guard T.J. Lang at right tackle, with Evan Dietrich-Smith at Lang’s natural spot. Dietrich-Smith started two games for Josh Sitton at right guard while Sitton dealt with a knee sprain.
McCarthy also said that new addition Herb Taylor would likely be active as an emergency offensive tackle. Taylor was signed to replace first-round pick Derek Sherrod, who broke his tibia and fibula against the Chiefs and later placed on IR.
Receiver Greg Jennings (knee sprain) was also ruled out. He’s expected back for the Packers first playoff game.
The Packers did welcome back to practice Desmond Bishop (calf), James Starks (ankle), Brandon Saine (concussion) and Chad Clifton (hamstring, back). Starks was a full participant but the other three were all limited. Ryan Pickett (concussion) was held out, and Mike Neal was limited with a new shoulder injury that he suffered during the game Sunday.
McCarthy said that Clifton was “making strides” and wouldn’t rule him out for Sunday, but you’d have to think he’s still a long shot to play. He also said that Bishop would “have a chance to play” if he continues to practice like he did today. It sounded like Pickett was held out solely for cautionary reasons.
Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:
- On Josh McCown, who the Bears announced Wednesday would start against the Packers: “He’s an exceptional athlete. Can make plays with his feet and has a good arm.” If you remember, McCown was the same quarterback who connected with Nate Poole to knock the Minnesota Vikings out of the playoffs as a member of the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 of 2003.
- Excited about playing last two games at Lambeau Field, especially with a home playoff game to follow.
- On Bears defense: “Good tackling team and adjust well to how you attack them.”
- “Big challenge” playing against their defensive line. Offensive line will be well-prepared.
- On Aaron Rodgers winning AP Male Athlete of the Year: “Huge award. Speaks for itself what he’s done. Well-deserving. He should be NFL MVP.”
- Said Packers are fond of Mark Tauscher, who many speculated would be signed to replace Sherrod. Wouldn’t comment any further on it.
- On two running backs: “Wasn’t comfortable with it last week. It will be great to pound the football with Ryan Grant and James Starks this week.”
- On Randall Cobb: “Running the ball out of halftime on Sunday (against Chiefs) was a focus. Thought Cobb would get 3-4-5 carries. Didn’t work out that way.”
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2