Yes, Chad Clifton should be back from a right ankle sprain, but Mark Tauscher, the team's starting right tackle from 2000-'08, also could be available. Tauscher, 10 months removed from surgery on his left knee, worked out for the Packers on Tuesday and appears close to signing a contract.
Maybe now they can keep DE Jared Allen off QB Aaron Rodgers's back. Mike McCarthy confirmed the signing at his press conference:
(Are you going to bring Tauscher back?)
That's something that we're looking at. We actually had Mark in here today for a workout, and I know he's going through the medical aspect of it. It's something that Ted has been in contact with Mark, and October 1st is the date that Dr. McKenzie has always felt that his rehab would be completed. That's definitely something that we are visting...
(Do you look at that as something imminent?)
I would think so, if it works out. You know how those things go. It would be great to have Mark back here. I have spoken to Allen Barbre about it. He knows he is coming in. This is something that has been planned...
(Would he come in and be your right tackle?)
He needs to come in and go through practice and so forth. At some point he'll have an opportunity to compete at right tackle, but Allen Barbre is still the starting right tackle.
Wow. I'm a big fan of Tauscher, he's been a great player for the last decade, and provides a real improvement to the offensive line. He'll probably take the place of CB Will Blackmon, who should end up on I.R.because of his season ending ACL tear. How will this signing effect the line moving forward?
Despite what McCarthy says, it's possible Tauscher could be starting as soon as the Lions game on October 18th. It's not likely, but no one has seen him in pads yet either. He probably won't be back that soon, but at some point in the next few weeks, he'll be returning to the starting lineup.
How will the offensive line be shuffled once Tauscher returns? RT Allen Barbre has played better since his awful 1st half against the Bears in week 1, but he'll probably move to the bench. He's played left guard in the past, so it's possible he ends up there. However, OL Jason Spitz has played well at left guard, since moving over from center due to Clifton's injury. With Clifton expected back for the Lions game, they could move Spitz back to center, and C Scott Wells back to the bench. But LG/LT Daryn Colledge has been awful this season, and he should be moved to the bench. Rookie OL T.J. Lang finished the Monday night game at left tackle, but he should be the first one headed to the bench due to his inexperience. I don't expect the coaches will even consider benching RG Josh Sitton, although he hasn't been perfect this season either.
It seems like the interior trio of Spitz, Wells, and Sitton held up well against the Vikings. It's not set in stone, but I expect they'll remain the starters at LG, C, and RG, respectively. Clifton will return from his ankle injury to play left tackle, and the familiar cornerstones will be reunited when Tauscher lines up right tackle. Despite my prediction, this still has to be worked out in practice, and some of it depends on how much faith the coaches still have in Colledge.