Packers backup offensive lineman need to step up play

August 22, 2018


GREEN BAY — Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst acknowledged Tuesday that the Green Bay Packers are going to have to hope their current crop of offensive linemen is good enough to get them through the season. Because it’s unlikely they’ll find much help after cuts.

Third-year tackles Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy have had their ups and downs throughout camp, as has veteran utility man Byron Bell. Beyond the starting five of David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Justin McCray and Bryan Bulaga, the line play has been uneven throughout the summer.

“I think the hardest thing at whatever level of football — high school, college, pro — the hardest guys to find are the big guys that can move. So, I’ve always thought it’s really difficult, quite frankly, after you get out of the springtime to find the bigger guys,” Gutekunst said.

“I feel you can find some guys who can run, but finding big people that can play the game is always one of the most difficult challenges. At the same time, if you do your work and you’re prepared, there’s always guys out there that can help you.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who is not expected to play in Friday night’s game at Oakland — publicly backed his scuffling backup linemen, having seen them get the job done last season when injuries struck.

“You don’t expect that (sixth) guy to be David Bakhtiari because, like I’ve said in this setting before, David allows you to just say, ‘Hey, you got that guy, we’re fine over there. We can slide away and give help inside and help other places,’ ” Rodgers said. “I thought (last year) the guys who stepped in played well. But we just have to get back that mindset.

“We have to get back those guys playing with the same kind of confidence they had in the games when they get those opportunities. I’m not worried about it. But we have to take a step up front, I think, with some of the guys that are going to play this week, so we start to sort out who those nine or 10 guys will be.”

Extra points

While not every player practiced in full, the Packers had only three players who didn’t participate in any way during Tuesday’s practice — unheard of at this point in camp: wide receiver Jake Kumerow (shoulder), wide receiver/returner Trevor Davis (hamstring) and running back Devante Mays (hamstring). … Cornerback Davon House (hamstring) was back practicing after dropping out a day earlier. Gutekunst’s father, John, the ex-University of Minnesota coach, took in a second day of practice with his son, although the Packers GM joked, “Quite frankly, he’s more interested in seeing my children and his grandchildren.”

Update hourly