Tauscher moved to left tackle

Injuries to Clifton, Flanagan prompt shuffle in offensive line

The Green Bay Packers are set to make a noticeable change in their offensive line Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Mark Tauscher, who has been a fixture at right tackle since his rookie season in 2000, lined up at left tackle in practices Thursday and Friday. Tauscher presumably will get the start there in place of an injured Chad Clifton and be entrusted with protecting Brett Favre's back side when the winless Packers host New Orleans on Sunday.

Kevin Barry is expected to take Tauscher's spot at right tackle if Clifton is unable to go against the Saints.

Clifton didn't practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a sprained left ankle, sustained in Monday's 32-29 loss at Carolina. He remains listed on the injury report as questionable for the upcoming game. Clifton practiced some on Friday but was limited.

"He's made a lot of progress considering the fact that he could barely walk after the game, and now he's walking," Packers coach Mike Sherman said on Friday. "He practiced some today, so he's made some progress."

Tauscher also is less than 100 percent physically, having returned to practice Thursday and Friday after aggravating a sprained left arch in the game Monday.

Sherman said after practice Thursday that he has no reservations making such a drastic move with Tauscher, in the event Clifton can't play Sunday.

"Tauscher can do anything," Sherman said. "Tauscher can play tight end. He can play left tackle. He can play right tackle. He probably could play quarterback if we asked him. He's very adaptable."

The switch came a day after left guard Adrian Klemm took the reps at left tackle, where he also moved for the final three-plus quarters Monday after Clifton was injured. Klemm acknowledged he's more comfortable staying at the position he's held down since signing as a free agent with the Packers in March to be the successor to the departed Mike Wahle.

The only other option the Packers had at left tackle is rookie Junius Coston, but he's considered a project.

As it stands, Klemm and rookie right guard Will Whitticker will be the only starting linemen Sunday at unchanged spots.

Center Mike Flanagan was lost indefinitely after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a hernia. Flanagan aggravated the injury early in Monday's game.

Scott Wells, who filled in for the duration of the game and started two games last year at center, will start Sunday.

Barry is in line to make his fourth career start at right tackle - and first since his rookie season in 2002. Barry has been the centerpiece of the frequently employed U-71 package as an extra tight end. With Barry possibly starting, it's not clear what place the run-oriented formation would have in Sunday's game.

Seventh-year veteran Grey Ruegamer stepped in at left guard Monday when Klemm was shifted outside and worked as the starter in practice Wednesday. As it stands, he is not in line to start on Sunday.

Ruegamer hasn't been thrilled with first-year general manager Ted Thompson.

"Let's be honest, the general manager's not trying to keep the older guys around. He wants his young guys," Ruegamer said. "Win or lose, he's going to get the young guys in there because that's who he thinks the franchise is going to be with down the road.

"So the older guys - me, (fullback) Will (Henderson), Brett - we're not in the plans of the future. So he's not really that concerned about how much playing time we get or whatever. Or if we win or lose. I just think that's the honest answer."


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