Nose tackle B.J. Raji suffered a torn biceps injury against the Oakland Raiders Friday night, and -- after multiple reports of confirmation -- will miss the entire 2014 season. Waiting in the wing on the defensive line for the Green Bay Packers to take over at Raji's spot is second-year player Josh Boyd and undrafted rookie free agent Mike Pennel.
Boyd will presumably get the first crack at the job over the rookie Pennel, and mentioned Sunday afternoon that he's prepared and ‘ready for it'.
"It's always a disappointment to see a guy go down," Boyd said of Raji via Packers.com, "especially someone as good as him who did so much for this team. To go down like that is always a heartbreaker.
"This off-season I was just preparing to give this team more, trying to help them more, and with this I have to step up. I've been preparing for it, and I'm ready for it."
The 310-pounder Boyd had played at the defensive end spot on the line for the majority of his brief NFL career. Even though that has been primarily his alignment, the Mississippi State product has always worked to be available at other positions. Friday he took 21 snaps against the Raiders, and took some reps at nose in relief of Raji.
"I've always been a guy who could play pretty much all of the positions so it really doesn't matter," Boyd said. "The best place they need me is where I play, so I'm pretty comfortable with everything."
In 2013 Boyd was inactive as a healthy scratch in 7 of the first 9 games of the Packers' season. He played in just 9 games total as a rookie and struggled to make his impact on the team. A year later, he looks back on his rookie season as a ‘blur' as he prepares for his biggest role yet in the NFL.
"Last year was a blur," he said. "Basically trying to learn the play of the game, learn the plays. Now that I know the plays and know how everything goes, it's a little bit easier for me.
"Every time I step on the field I try to go as hard as possible so, with this now it's just a little more of a different learning curve but, I feel like I'll still be able to step in and be productive."
Boyd will likely start opposite of Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Alex Smith this Friday, but that hasn't changed the verbal approach his coaches took with him Sunday as he prepares for increase action.
"They just tell me to keep doing what I'm doing and keep going hard, and everything will work out." Boyd said.
Hopefully what Boyd is doing will be able to produce penetration and pressure in the backfield against a Chiefs offensive line that hasn't performed well thus far in the preseason.