GREEN BAY — The Packers will be without right guard T.J. Lang and inside linebacker Jake Ryan for Sunday night’s game in Washington, according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
Both Lang (foot) and Ryan (ankle) exited in the first quarter of Sunday’s game in Tennessee and didn’t return. Both players sat out of Wednesday and Thursday’s practices.
Don Barclay, a fifth-year veteran, finished the game at right guard for Lang and likely will get the start Sunday against Washington. It’ll only be the third game Lang has missed since he became a starter in 2011.
“I think it helps anytime a player can focus on one or two position as opposed to all five,” said McCarthy of Barclay’s versatility. “Really, I think you’ve seen him excel at the center position, which is a real credit to him anytime you convert a tackle to a center obviously that’s a huge change.
“He’s just a heck of a football player.”
McCarthy didn’t make any projections on the availability of starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, who left in the third quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return.
Bakhtiari was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Rookie second-round pick Jason Spriggs replaced Bakhtiari in Tennessee and could get his first NFL start if Bakthiari doesn’t play.
Second-year linebacker Joe Thomas, who’s served as the Packers’ dime linebacker all season, stepped in for Ryan at inside linebacker next to rookie Blake Martinez in the base and nickle defenses against the Titans.
Thomas and Martinez are the only other natural inside linebackers on the active roster, though outside linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett know the position, as well.
McCarthy’s biggest concern with Ryan’s absence is the domino effect it could have on the special-team units.
“It’s more about the special teams and how we’re going to play on defense,” McCarthy said. “We have two more days of preparation.”
The rest of the Packers’ injury report and designations for Sunday’s game will be released on Friday afternoon.
McCarthy said newly acquired running back Christine Michael was limited in practice Thursday after arriving in Green Bay only hours before, but he likes what he saw from him.
“You look at a young man’s talents, his running style. He’s obviously productive,” McCarthy said. “He comes from a running football environment. It’s obviously an area we want to get better and have more opportunities.”
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