Two new developments on the injury front for the Green Bay Packers on Friday. Starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga did not practice. Backup tackle Jason Springs was carted off with what appears to be a serious ankle injury during the same practice.
Bulaga is said to have a new knee injury. Obviously, Spriggs’ injury is new.
Bulaga has dealt with knee injuries throughout his career. He has twice torn his ACL.
If Bulaga couldn’t play this week, Spriggs would be the likely starter. Except, that doesn’t appear likely based on Friday’s events. You don’t get carted off unless you have a serious injury.
So where does that leave the Packers?
Byron Bell was the primary backup at right tackle to open the season. However, he has been filling in at right guard for Justin McCray, who has also been injured.
McCray seemed to be ready to go this week, but coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers still planned to roll with Bell as the starter at right guard.
That suggests that either McCray isn’t fully ready or that Bell has supplanted him. McCray was supposedly a full participant at practice on Friday. So probably the latter, at least in McCarthy’s eyes.
At least coming into the day.
If neither Bulaga or Spriggs can go, there are seemingly two options.
One, you slide Bell out to tackle and start McCray at guard. Bell has been a starting tackle in the league for Carolina, Tennessee and Dallas, albeit for the latter as an injury replacement. McCray has also started tackle. His stint there came last year as an emergency replacement, more or less.
The Packers offensive line was decimated by injuries in 2017. While not great, McCray filled in admirably for Bulaga and Spriggs, both of whom were on injured reserve in 2017. That performance made him the starting right guard coming into camp, a role he didn’t relinquish until getting injured.
The Packers decided not to bring back 2017 starting right guard Jahri Evans after his lone season with the club. While not at his former All-Pro self, Evans played well enough last year. But it was McCray’s performance as a fill-in that made the Packers think he was a starter at that position.
Now McCarthy likes Bell.
He’s a guy with 95 career starts.
McCarthy might have to like both guys going into the game with the 49ers on Monday night. There doesn’t really seem to be another viable plan.