But he admitted it was best for him not to push it on his sore ankle, and he was back at practice on Wednesday feeling pretty good about his chances to play on Sunday in Chicago.
“That was probably the best-case scenario to give me an extra gameday to heal up and not bang it up any more and be close to fully recovered this week,” Lang said. “Those guys who played in the game last week all played well, so it was probably the smartest decision to sit out.”
Mike McCarthy said after practice that Lang took most of his reps on Wednesday at his old spot, left guard, which could indicate the Packers are going to stick with undrafted rookie Don Barclay at right tackle, who made his first start last week. Then again, McCarthy reiterated that Evan Dietrich-Smith, who had been playing Lang’s LG spot while Lang was playing RT in place of Bryan Bulaga, earned an offensive game ball for his performance last week.
McCarthy said he wants to see how Lang looks in practice throughout the week before making a final decision, so the offensive line will be prepared for various scenarios.
“We want to make sure Don Barclay gets as many reps as he can outside (at tackle),” McCarthy said. “We’ll make sure we’re ready to go.”
Lang said he had no trouble moving back to LG after his roughly month-long stint at RT. The best guess for now is if Lang is healthy enough to play, he’ll be back at his old spot.
“Like riding a bike, man,” Lang said. “It’s something I’ve done a lot of and it’s where my comfort level is.”
In other injury news, McCarthy said WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) would be a longshot to play this week. The same goes for DE C.J. Wilson, whose knee injury is more serious than initially thought, though McCarthy still sounded hopeful Wilson could be back by season’s end. He has missed the last two games.
Also on the defensive line, DE Mike Neal (shoulder) practiced on Wednesday somewhat unexpectedly. The Packers signed another D-lineman, Jordan Miller, to the active roster from the practice squad on Tuesday due to the injuries to Wilson and Neal, but Neal is “making progress.”
CB Davon House missed practice due to an illness.
Tags: don barclay, evan dietrich-smith, jordy nelson, mike mccarthy, offensive line, t.j. lang
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RT Bryan Bulaga, who has been one of the Packers’ best pass blockers over the last couple of seasons, attributed his rough first half on Monday night in Seattle to a lapse in fundamentals that took him out of his game.
Bulaga surrendered two early sacks to Seahawks rookie rusher Bruce Irvin, a first-round draft pick, and allowed other pressures of QB Aaron Rodgers throughout the first half. Rodgers was sacked eight times in all and the Packers were shut out at intermission.
“I didn’t use any fundamentals for most of the first half,” said Bulaga, who was beaten both by Irvin’s power and speed initially. “I was just out there … I don’t know what I was out there doing. I just wasn’t playing my game, and that’s what happens, and I know that’s not going to happen again.”
Bulaga is listed on the injury report this week with a knee injury and has been a limited participant in practice, but he said that had no bearing on his performance. Mike McCarthy said he expects Bulaga to “play through” the injury this week.
Bulaga added that he didn’t get a fire-and-brimstone speech from position coach James Campen at halftime. The score was only 7-0, and a tirade probably would have caused everyone to lose focus on a winnable game. Plus, the performance was so out-of-character for Bulaga and his linemates that the problems were as much mental as anything.
“It was more settle down and play your game,” Bulaga said. “I think that was the message he was trying to get out there. That’s what I had going on in my mind, just chill out here and do what I do. There was no screaming or yelling. I don’t think anyone in college or high school or even this level had that kind of first half as a group. It was a matter of we had to settle down and get it together here.”
The Packers did that, putting together three straight scoring drives in the second half, helped by a commitment to running the ball, which they did successfully.
“The first half was certainly not the way we want to play,” LG T.J. Lang said. “We got beat up pretty good there in the first half, but watching film of the second half, it’s inspiring to watch the way we responded out of that. It could have been very easy to put our heads down and go in the tank a little bit. But we responded in a positive way and had a pretty solid second half.”
The quick rebound has the linemen eagerly awaiting a return to the field Sunday against the Saints, both to continue that recovery and further erase the abysmal first half.
“There’s no excuse for your quarterback getting hit that many times,” Lang said. “It’s obviously embarrassing as a group, when your quarterback is getting hit like that, sacked eight times in one half. It’s something we take a lot of pride in, and we certainly need to have a better game this week keeping Aaron upright.”
Added Bulaga: “Yeah, it will get a little bit of bad taste out of our mouths I think.”
Tags: bryan bulaga, offensive line, sacks
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 36 Comments »
Coming off of their first loss of the season last week, the GREEN BAY PACKERS were able to get back on track by beating a long time rival in the Chicago Bears and clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Packers offensive line allowed AARON RODGERS (California) enough time to have a personal best five touchdown passes while allowing only one sack. This impressive performance by the injury plagued offensive line establishes the Green Bay Packers as a contender for the third annual Madden Protectors Award. The award honors the NFL’s best offensive line and will be presented during the week of Super Bowl XLVI, which will be played on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis. Past Madden Protectors Award recipients include the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2010) and the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2009).
The Madden Protectors Award recognizes the fundamental role offensive linemen play in their teams’ success by providing consistent and powerful protection day in and day out.
The Packers continued their dominance throughout this season as they notched their 14th win of the year and can now rest easy until the second round of the playoffs. The offensive line was missing three of their four top tackles and still managed to only allow one sack and only two hits on Rodgers. The offensive line starts in the middle with center SCOTT WELLS (Tennessee), who is flanked by guards EVAN DIETRICH-SMITH (Idaho State) and JOSH SITTON (Central Florida). Providing powerful protection on the outside are tackles MARSHALL NEWHOUSE (Texas Christian) and T.J. LANG (Eastern Michigan). Offensive line coach JAMES CAMPEN is in his fifth season with the Packers and in each of his first four years, the Packers have finished in the top 10 in the NFL in total offense. The offensive line allowed for Rodgers to throw for 283 yards and 5 touchdowns. With the combination of RYAN GRANT (Notre Dame) and JAMES STARKS (Buffalo), the Packers were able to rush for 81 yards on the day.
“The Packers offensive line played a great game against Chicago on Sunday night,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach JOHN MADDEN.
Other offensive lines from around the league delivering powerful protection during Week 16 were the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (463 total yards, 307 passing yards, 164 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed) the BUFFALO BILLS (351 total yards, 191 passing yards, 160 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed), the BALTIMORE RAVENS (284 total yards, 122 passing yards, 162 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed), the CAROLINA PANTHERS (433 total yards, 163 passing yards, 270 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 1 QB hit allowed), and the PITTSBURGH STEELERS 377 (total yards, 208 passing yards, 169 rushing yards, 0 sacks allowed, 1 QB hit allowed).
Tags: evan dietrich-smith, james campen, john madden, josh sitton, madden protectors award, marshall newhouse, offensive line, scott wells, t.j. lang
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