Packers-Giants Injury Report: Right Tackle Decision Could Have Lasting Ramifications
Who will start at right tackle for the Green Bay Packers against the New York Giants?
Veteran starter Bryan Bulaga missed most of Sunday’s loss against the San Francisco 49ers with a knee injury. While coach Matt LaFleur “wouldn’t rule out Bryan” on Wednesday, there’s a decent chance the Packers will have a change in the lineup after starting the same quintet the past nine games.
Video: Best players on the New York offense
One option is to go with Alex Light, who replaced Bulaga on Sunday and required extensive help to handle the 49ers’ superb defensive ends. Another option is to move right guard Billy Turner out to right tackle and insert Lucas Patrick at right guard. The upside is that would give Green Bay its most experienced offensive line, with Turner having started four games at right tackle for Denver last year and Patrick having made six career starts. However, it would mean new players at two spots instead of just one.
“We’ll look at everything,” LaFleur said before practice. “Our goal is just to put our best five out there and we’ll go from there. And we’ll take the week to figure that out.”
There’s another potential bonus in starting Turner at right tackle against the Giants and perhaps against Washington at Lambeau Field next week. Bulaga will be a free agent at the end of the season. Turner has the athleticism to play on the edge. If he plays well, he could be viewed as a potential successor. If Turner doesn’t play well, then general manager Brian Gutekunst will know whether he needs to pay Bulaga, a premier player with a considerable injury history at a pivotal position, or use a premium draft pick to find Bulaga’s successor.
"There’s a little more space," Turner said of the difference between guard and tackle. "You’ve got to control the width of the pocket if not the depth. At the same time, it’s really the same thing. You’ve got to time your punches up and time your footwork up. It’s just one of those things where mentally you’ll have to be a little more locked in going into a game just because you’re not used to being at that position. At the same time, it’s not like we’re running different plays or anything like that. You’ve just got to tweak a few things."
For the Giants, tight end Evan Engram didn’t practice after missing the last two games with a foot injury. The Packers no doubt would be thrilled if Engram were to be sidelined again. The past five weeks, Green Bay has allowed 500 yards to the opponents’ No. 1 tight ends alone. Defensively against tight ends, Green Bay is No. 27 with 63 receptions, No. 30 with 756 yards and tied for No. 27 with six touchdowns.
“We’ll just have to see,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said in a conference call.
Safety Jabrill Peppers (back) receiver Golden Tate (concussion) and tight end Rhett Ellison did not practice, either.
PACKERS INJURY REPORT
Did not participate: RT Bryan Bulaga (knee), TE Jimmy Graham calf).
Limited: WR Davante Adams (toe), TE Marcedes Lewis (veteran rest), CB Tramon Williams (veteran rest).
Full: ILB Blake Martinez (hand), TE Robert Tonyan (hip), FB Danny Vitale (knee).
GIANTS INJURY REPORT
Did not participate: TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), TE Evan Engram (foot), S Jabrill Peppers (back), WR Golden Tate (concussion).