It’s quite likely the Green Bay Packers will be without both of their starting tackles when they play the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football.
Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga have been listed as doubtful on the Packers’ official injury report. And as Wood tweets, it’s “really, really, really far from ideal” for a team to be without both of its starting tackles entering a rivalry game on short rest.
After missing the first two weeks of the season, Bulaga returned to the starting lineup and played 47 snaps in the team’s Week 3 win against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, he has been nagged by an ankle injury that is threatening to keep him out of action for the third time in four games. Bakhtiari started in the Packers’ season-opening win against the Seattle Seahawks and earned an 83.3 grade from Pro Football Focus for his efforts. Unfortunately for the Packers, Bakhtiari is in danger of missing a third consecutive game with a hamstring injury.
As we noted in today’s Bullets, the Packers are already short-handed at tackle after putting Kyle Murphy on injured reserve. If Bakhtiari and Bulaga are ruled out tomorrow, that would leave the Packers with Ulrick John, Justin McCray, and Adam Pankey as starting options.
With the Bears potentially facing two reserve tackles, there should be ample opportunities to put pressure on the edges and attack the quarterback. And what better time for Leonard Floyd to get his season back on track than against the Packers, a team in which he held his coming-out party against on Thursday Night Football in 2016. Floyd doesn’t have a sack this season despite playing in more than 87 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. Earlier, we looked at how the time Flyod has spent in pass coverage has impacted his pass rushing prowess. Thursday could provide more opportunities for Floyd to get after the passer, which could be beneficial for him and the team.
Chicago’s defense has shown more positive signs than negative ones in the first three weeks, but doesn’t have much to show for it as far as sacks and quarterback hits are concerned. Opposing quarterbacks have dropped back to pass 107 times, but have been sacked on only seven occasions. One of those came in Week 3 from nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan. They’ll need more from others if the Bears want to pull off a second straight upset.