The Green Bay Packers have already had to deal with a handful of injuries on the offensive line and although most of the team’s starters have largely been available throughout 2018, there is suddenly a huge question facing the team’s depth at tackle.
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga missed about a half of football this year, leaving the game against the Minnesota Vikings with a back injury but returning to the lineup the following week. Stepping in for Bulaga while he was out was Jason Spriggs, the third-year swing tackle who was a second-round draft pick in 2016.
However, Spriggs suffered what sounds like a serious leg injury in practice on Friday, Matt Hietpas of WBAY-TV broke the news:
Hietpas reported later that Spriggs was carted off the field, a bad sign for a player who is the team’s top backup at both tackle positions. Further complicating the issue is the fact that Bulaga was reportedly not in attendance at practice on Friday either.
This is not Spriggs’ first significant injury as a Packer. Last season, he started the year on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury, then suffered a dislocated kneecap after he returned to the active roster midway through the year.
If this injury is as serious as it appears, it would leave the Packers with few options to back up the tackle positions, particularly with Byron Bell now starting at right guard for Justin McCray. Alex Light is the only other player on the 53-man roster with extensive experience at tackle, though Adam Pankey remains on the practice squad and would be a candidate for a promotion should Spriggs need to go on injured reserve. Spriggs’ fellow 2016 draft pick, Kyle Murphy, is on injured reserve and is ineligible to return this season.
For now, Packers fans must hold out hope that David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga stay healthy. Moving Bell back out to tackle might be an option if necessary, but it’s one the team and fans would very much like to avoid needing to put into practice.