GREEN BAY — If you have experience playing offensive tackle in the NFL — at this point, even if you don’t — you might want to update your resume and highlight tape and send them to:
c/o Green Bay Packers
1265 Lombardi Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54304
Of course, be advised: Playing that position for the Packers right now is decidedly hazardous to your health.
As if playing the Chicago Bears on a short week wouldn’t be challenging enough, coach Mike McCarthy and the team’s medical staff added another offensive tackle’s name to the injury report Monday: second-year man Kyle Murphy, who sustained a foot injury at some point during Sunday’s 27-24 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field.
Murphy, who started the opener against Seattle at right tackle and the past two games at left tackle, was able to finish the game, but had the Packers practiced Monday, he would not have been able to, according to the official injury report.
Murphy joins starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Seahawks and has missed the past two games; and starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who missed the first two games with a right ankle injury suffered on Aug. 23, made his season debut Sunday against the Bengals, then aggravated the injury and wasn’t able to play the whole game.
Bulaga departed after 47 snaps and was replaced by Justin McCray, who started in his place at Atlanta on Sept. 17 — his first start of his NFL career.
Add Jason Spriggs, on injured reserve with a hamstring injury he suffered against the Seahawks while on the field goal protection team, and Don Barclay, on IR with an ankle injury sustained in training camp, and the Packers’ top five tackles from the opening day of camp are hurt.
“I don’t know about ‘frustrated.’ Injuries are part of the game,” McCarthy said Monday afternoon.
“When you have one position that gets hit by it … you just work through it. Frankly, we’re still working through it. There’s still some testing that’s being done. But, yeah, it’s a work in progress.”
With the short week, it’s hard to predict whether Bakhtiari, Bulaga or Murphy has enough time to be ready for the Bears. Because they are playing on Thursday, the NFL required the team to issue an injury report, and had they practiced, only Bakhtiari would have been able to participate even on a limited basis, the Packers estimated.
The only other tackle on the roster besides McCray, who is technically a center/guard, is Adam Pankey, an undrafted rookie free agent from West Virginia who spent much of camp at guard and was promoted from the practice squad when Bakhtiari’s injury came to light.
The Packers also were bringing in offensive lineman Ulrick John, who had been on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad.
John, who started three games for the Cardinals last season and saw action in two games for the Miami Dolphins in 2015, was traveling to Green Bay on Monday and prepared to sign Tuesday, pending a physical. To add him, the Packers will have to make a roster move.
“I’m not even sure what we’re going to be able to do on the field tomorrow,” McCarthy said of today’s practice. “I’m going to have to adjust the practice because of the injuries.”
McCarthy has already spent the past two weeks adjusting the game plan to account for Murphy’s and McCray’s inexperience, favoring short pass routes, extra help in protection and plays on which quarterback Aaron Rodgers gets the ball out of his hand quickly. Even so, Rodgers was sacked six times by the Bengals and under significant pressure all game long.
“You’ve been to the last two games, right? So, we’ll continue down that path,” McCarthy replied when asked if the latest tackle injuries will make him further alter his play-calling. “We’ll continue down the path that we’ve been on the last two games.”
Goode out, Pepper in
Brett Goode, placed on injured reserve Monday with a hamstring injury, was injured while covering an early third-quarter punt. That means the veteran long-snapper snapped for the game-tying extra point late in the fourth quarter and for Mason Crosby’s winning 27-yard field goal long after the injury occurred.
“He toughed it out. Just to play through the game the way he did was a real credit to him,” McCarthy said. “He gutted it out. It was outstanding.”
To replace Goode, the Packers signed rookie Taybor Pepper, who spent part of the offseason with the team but was released before the start of organized team activity practices.
With Barclay on IR, the Packers’ emergency long-snapper was tight end Richard Rodgers if Goode hadn’t been able to finish the game. In 2015, Goode suffered a torn ACL during an early-December game at Oakland and finished the game despite the injury.
By placing Goode on IR now, he’ll be eligible to return in eight weeks if the Packers decide to use one of their two return designations on him at that time. Goode was the snapper for Crosby’s late field goal heroics in last year’s NFC divisional playoff win over Dallas.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Pepper was a four-year long- snapper at Michigan State and spent part of the preseason with the Baltimore Ravens after the Packers released him. He was working the cash register at his mother’s pop-up children’s clothing and toys consignment store in Champaign, Illinois, when the Packers called his agent during Sunday’s game. After the game, director of football operations Eliot Wolf called and told Pepper he was wanted in Green Bay.
“He said, ‘We need you here.’ I kind of had to scramble to pack a bag,” Pepper said. “One thing I learned this summer was, you can only control what you can control. There’s a lot of factors outside that you can’t control. I really took that to heart, and now, I’m back here. So I’d say it worked for me.”