Mark Tauscher Could Miss “Significant Time”
On paper and on the field, the first quarter of the Green Bay Packers season has been a success. The team has a 3-1 record as they travel to our nation’s capital to face the Redskins on Sunday. Unfortunately for the team, their early success has not translated into good health. In what has almost become a daily routine, the Packers received more bad news on the injury front yesterday. Brad Biggs of the National Football Post cites an NFL source as saying starting right tackle Mark Tauscher could be “sidelined for a significant period of time” due to a shoulder injury.
Head coach Mike McCarthy is taking a week-by-week approach with his 11-year veteran, saying Tauscher would be “hard pressed” to play this Sunday. If Tauscher is unable to go on Sunday, Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee writes that we can expect to see rookie first-round draft choice Bryan Bulaga get his first start at right tackle. However, Bulaga could be moved over to left tackle should Chad Clifton‘s bothersome knee flare up again. In that case, 2nd-year player T.J. Lang would step in at right tackle.
Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opines that Tauscher’s injury is most likely a “2-4 week thing.” If that’s the case, the Green and Gold may get an extended look at this year’s first-round draft choice.
In other injury news, linebacker Nick Barnett is traveling to Indianapolis on Friday to seek a second opinion on his wrist. Barnett was first told his wrist requires surgery, but the middle linebacker chose to have it looked at one more time before he undergoes a season-ending procedure.
The Packers could be in line to welcome a few injured players back in two weeks. After the Redskins this Sunday, and the Dolphins next week, 3 players on the PUP list will be eligible to return to the team: Cornerback Al Harris, safety Atari Bigby, and running back James Starks. The trio will be eligible to face the Vikings in week 7, but that does not mean they will play. NFL rules allow teams 3 weeks to determine whether or not players coming off the PUP list are healthy enough to contribute to the team. After three weeks, the team is forced to activate the player to the active roster or place him on season-ending injured-reserve.
With the injuries piling up, the Packers best hope is for a late season surge following their week 10 bye. Perhaps by then the 3 PUP players will be closer to full strength and the week off will allow the battered team the time to heal.
The Green Bay Packers also tweaked their roster yesterday. The team signed Johnny Williams to their practice squad and elevated former Arena League Footballer Maurice Simpkins to the active roster. Safety Morgan Burnett (ACL) was officially moved to injured reserve to make room for Simpkins. With inside linebacker Brandon Chillar still dealing with a shoulder injury, and Nick Barnett’s season in jeopardy, the Packers needed to make a move at the linebacker position. Linebacker Maurice Simpkins will wear No. 53.