Barry makes the most of unexpected opportunity

A few months ago, Kevin Barry's phone was silent on draft day. A few weeks ago, Barry was a third-stringer on one of the strongest areas on the Packers roster. Suddenly, the rookie tackle is in line to start for Green Bay in Arizona Saturday. That's football.<P>

Barry got the nod in camp Tuesday when Mark Tauscher injured his elbow. Barry was surprised to find himself in the midst of the first unit.

"Well, he may have been surprised but he was the only guy I had left," offensive line coach Larry Beightol said. "We're going to go with what we've got and if 'Tausch' can't go, we'll have to make some adjustment. I think Kevin would get the starting nod at Arizona."

Ten-year veteran Earl Dotson is slated to be Tauscher's primary backup at tackle, but is recovering from an injured knee and has yet to see time in training camp. Add Mike Flangan's broken thumb, it's clear that the injury-riddled offensive line needs a boost.

In steps Barry, who has grabbed the attention of coaches with rapid development during training camp.

"He got a lot of work today and did a very, very good job," Sherman said of Barry. "The kid is well ahead of the learning curve physically and mentally. He's doing a very good job, so if Tausch can't go this weekend -- that may be speculative at this point -- Barry will do a heck of a job."

Barry's performance with the second unit in the Packers' 20-13 loss at Philly last weekend set the stage for this week's promotion, Beightol said.

"I love what Kevin Barry did," Beightol said. "Believe me, he looked as good to me as anybody who was out there on the field."

If he does get the start vs the Cardinals, it will mark a return to familiar territory for the 6-4, 325-pound rookie. Barry played for the University of Arizona, while the Cardinals share a home at Sun Devils Stadium with Arizona State up the road in Tempe. Quarterback Brett Favre expressed confidence in the rookie.

"He's young. He's trying hard. He's made some rookie mistakes, but here I am in my 12th year and I make some rookie mistakes every once in a while," Favre said. "That's a tough position he's playing. I don't care what year you're in. It'll be good work for him. He's a good kid. He's working hard and he's got a lot of talent."

Barry's time in the limelight may be limited as the latest news on Tauscher's injury was good. Instead of the ligament damage initially feared, tests revealed that Tauscher suffered a contusion.

I don't know the length of his injury just yet, we'll have to wait and see," Sherman said. "Knowing Tauscher, it won't last very long."

Packer Report Top Stories