Larrivee: Packers' 'patchwork line' faces 'still outstanding' Bears defense
Bryan Bulaga. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - Perhaps the biggest cause of the Packers' 19-14 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs was the injury-depleted and re-shuffled Green Bay offensive line.
On Christmas Night, that same line faces a Chicago Bears defense that Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, believes is the squad's continual strongsuit.
"Even with your starting offensive line intact, I'd be worried about going up against the Bears defense. Their defense is still outstanding, in my opinion," said Larrivee on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
That line is far from intact, with injuries to Bryan Bulaga and a season-ender suffered by Derek Sherrod.
Larrivee also explained the issue Packers Coach Mike McCarthy faces: try and get your injured linemen back in the final two regular season games so they have some game action before the playoffs, or keep them rested.
"I think that what the Packers will do with their personnel is, if a guy is questionable, maybe they hold him back an extra week, give him an extra week to recover. By the same token, the Packers want to win this football game. You don't want to go into the playoffs losing two of the last three, or their last three games, that type of thing. It's going to be very important that the Packers win this football game."
One guy McCarthy has to consider in that category is Bulaga.
"The patchwork line, you want to be careful with Bryan Bulaga. You don't want to bring him back too fast; however, you still have a quarterback to protect out there," said Larrivee.
Also, long-time but often-injured Chad Clifton.
"To throw Chad Clifton out there, not conditioned, not ready to go, I don't think Mike McCarthy would do that," explained Larrivee.
"I would be surprised if he's back, period. Again, I know he's trying to come back. I don't have any inside information, but he's been out a long time. He's an older player. It would be very tough for him to come back and be effective."
Larrivee said, however, that McCarthy and his coaches make sure the Packers are prepared for eventualities like what they faced with the shuffle of offensive linemen.
"They cross-train all of their players at every position. If you're a tackle, you'll be cross-trained on both the left and right sides. You'll also be cross-trained at guard. It's not like these guys have never been there, but obviously, they're a guard for a reason and they're a tackle for a reason."