The Green Bay Packers got back to work Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s road contest with the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They did so, apparently, with a new starter at right tackle: Mark Tauscher.
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, Tauscher took most of the reps with the starting unit. That likely means Tauscher will take over for Allen Barbre at the position.
If that’s the case, it’s an interesting decision to make at this juncture of the season, one that I have to admit I’m not completely on board with.
Yes, Tauscher is a much more experienced and (likely still) better player than Barbre. But Barbre seemed to be at least getting his feet beneath him a little bit since his disastrous first game against Chicago. He hasn’t been great, but we seem to be talking about his struggles less and less as the season goes on. That’s what we call progress, kids.
Plus, this is only his first season as a starter (third in the league) so he clearly has more upside than Tauscher, 32, at this point. It’s great if Tauscher steps in right away and plays well, but what are the odds he’s brought back for next season even if that happens? Not very likely, in my mind. That means the Packers will probably once again turn to either Barbre or Breno Giacomini and the position will remain unsettled.
The No. 1 goal the rest of the way has to be making sure Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get killed. I understand that. Maybe Tauscher can help that cause more than Barbre, maybe not.
But in a season where a Super Bowl run is unlikely, a big part of me thinks the Packers should be working on growing a cohesive unit for the future. Barbre would be a part of that future; Tauscher would not.
Why did we cut Meredith again?
Speaking of Green Bay’s right tackle situation, there’s been another interesting development in recent weeks. And the setting is Buffalo, N.Y.
That’s where Jamon Meredith has been seeing starting time at right tackle for the Bills. Well, he had been, anyways – he suffered a knee sprain against Houston last week that will likely keep him out a few games.
You remember Meredith, right? He was one of the Packers’ fifth round selections in this year’s draft. For some strange reason, though, the team decided to cut Meredith at the end of camp and sign him to the practice squad despite the fact that it knew he was a project who would take some time to groom.
Buffalo snatched him off the practice squad in late September and, by the time the team played the New York Jets a few weeks back, there was Meredith starting at right tackle.
And to hear some Bills’ coaches tell it, he played pretty well (a big shout-out to my bro-in-law, Brian Gingras, for the link).
Perhaps the Packers wouldn’t have had to go out and pull Tauscher off the scrap heap (we love you at OBOD, Mark, but come on – you know it’s true) if they had just kept Meredith on the roster.
Either way, it’s just another gross mishandling of the offensive line by head coach Mike McCarthy.
There’s a lot going on with the Packers, injury-wise, and McCarthy provided an update Wednesday (a link can be found by clicking on the same GBPG link above):
The biggest news, in my mind, is that Jason Spitz’ ailing back isn’t getting any better. Spitz has missed the past three games and likely won’t go Sunday. It sounds like all parties involved are getting pretty worried. Compounding the bad news for Spitz is the fact that Scott Wells has played pretty well since being inserted back into the starting lineup. Even if Spitz recovers quickly, he might not get his spot back. Not good for a guy headed for free agency.
Rodgers (injuries on both feet) was kept out of practice as Matt Flynn took all the snaps. He’ll return to practice at some point and will play against the Bucs. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a huge lead early so they can get Rodgers out of the game to avoid further injury?
Jermichael Finley (knee) did not practice again and won’t go until Friday at the earliest. Again, I would not play him this week. The Pack should be able to get by without him. They will need him against Dallas, though.
Chad Clifton (ankle) was back at practice and apparently looked healthy. Healthy or not, T.J. Lang needs to keep his job. Like I said with Barbre, the focus needs to be on building a group for the future. Lang, like Barbre, is a part of that group.
Korey Hall (calf) returned in a limited capacity. He’s going to need to get in gear pretty quickly. John Kuhn has played solidly and the team is obviously high on Quinn Johnson. Hall might be on the outside looking in here.
Donald Driver (neck) and Charles Woodson (hip) were both held out of practice, but it’s likely that’s just to give them some rest as they deal with minor injuries. Nothing serious there – luckily. Can you imagine where this team would be without these two?