Ruegamer to start at guard

Veteran replacing rookie Will Whitticker in lineup

In an effort to get more production out of the offensive line, coach Mike Sherman has inserted Grey Ruegamer as the starter at right guard ahead of rookie Will Whitticker as the Packers prepare to face the Chicago Bears' top-ranked defense Sunday at Soldier Field.

Ruegamer, a seventh-year pro, replaced Whitticker for a series late in the first half and two series in the second half last Sunday against Philadelphia. All total, Ruegamer was in for 20 plays at both guard positions, but mainly at right guard.

Whitticker, selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the Packers last April, has started every game this season at right guard. Sherman said that he is not giving up on Whitticker as much as giving him a break.

"We still have high hopes for Whitticker," Sherman said. "He's a seventh-round draft pick that started as a rookie. He's still going to play in the game. He's still going to play this season. We're giving him a little bit of a break here as a starter. Ruegamer has worked hard. We'll just see how the game goes, how Ruegamer is handling himself and we'll switch it up."

The Bears' defensive line of tackles Tommie Harris and Ian Scott, and ends Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown, has had 24 of the team's 35 sacks this season. Ogunleye leads the Bears with nine sacks and Brown has five.

The Packers enter the game with the second-to-worst rushing offense in the National Football League. Green Bay's offense is ranked 20th overall.

"We need to start doing things smarter and better," said Packers offensive tackle Mark Tauscher. "When we're executing well we're doing good things, but unfortunately for us, not only during games but during series, we've had mental lapses and breakdowns and that's what's causing us to struggle as much as we have offensively."

The versatile Ruegamer has played and practiced at both guard positions and center this season. He started 11 games last season at center for the injured Mike Flanagan. Ruegamer declined to comment today on his first start at right guard.

This isn't an indictment against Whitticker," Sherman said. "It's just that Ruegamer has been in there, has been bouncing around. It's not an indictment against Whitticker. He's struggled at times, and didn't (struggle) at times. He's not the only one. It's more to change things up. He is making improvement. He's been making more improvement lately … this is not casting him aside. He's still going to play."

Packer Report Top Stories