Tauscher Set To Rejoin Packers

The 10-year veteran right tackle worked out for the team on Tuesday, but Will Blackmon has been lost for the season with an ACL injury.

He won't cure all that ails the Packers' offensive line, but veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher is poised to rejoin the team.

The 32-year-old Tauscher, whose locker has never been filled, worked out for team officials including offensive line coach James Campen on Tuesday.

Asked if a signing was "imminent," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said: "I would think so, if it works out. You know how those things go. It would be great to have Mark back here. I have spoken to Allen Barbre about it. He knows he is coming in. This is something that has been planned."

A torn ACL generally is a 10-month injury, so the timing is right. Tauscher went down during the Dec. 7 game against Houston. That makes the 10-month anniversary on Wednesday, the players' last day before getting the rest of the week off because of the bye.

The interest in Tauscher, coincidentally, comes one day after the Packers allowed eight sacks in a loss to Minnesota. Tauscher has 120 starts as he enters his 10th season.

"That was always the date that Dr. (Pat) McKenzie told me and Ted (Thompson), obviously," McCarthy said. "Just visiting with Mark this morning, he feels good. He had the workout there in Kansas City last week. I think it would definitely be an asset to have him back on our football team."

Campen wouldn't elaborate on what he saw beyond saying Tauscher had a "good workout." He said he visited with Tauscher for about 10 minutes.

"It's always good to see good people," Campen said.

With a bye, Tauscher has two weeks to get ready for the Week 6 home game against Detroit. McCarthy, however, said Tauscher will not just be handed the starting job.

"He needs to come in and go through practice and so forth," McCarthy. "At some point, he'll have an opportunity to compete at right tackle, but Allen Barbre is still the starting right tackle."

While Barbre allowed three sacks against Chicago and two sacks last week against St. Louis, he gave up just one tackle and one quarterback hit against the Vikings' Ray Edwards on Monday.

"Absolutely. He sure has," Campen said of Barbre's play improving since allowing two first-quarter sacks against the Rams. "Just his overall awareness. The fact that he hasn't had mental errors or anything of that nature. With each experience that he goes out and does it, he gets more familiar and gets better balance in his game."

Blackmon out for season

Will Blackmon, who returned punts for touchdowns in both games against Minnesota last season, had his season end on Monday when he injured the ACL in his left knee during a kickoff return at Minnesota.

Blackmon, who averaged 23.3 yards on 10 kickoff returns and 3.7 yards on three punt returns, was not placed on season-ending injured reserve. Presumably, that will happen when Tauscher is signed.

Jordy Nelson, who muffed a punt on Monday, is a candidate to return punts with Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson. Nelson, who is averaging a gaudy 29.3 yards on six runbacks, will return kickoffs.

"I like the way he returned the kickoffs," McCarthy said. "I think Jordy does a really good job of just getting north and south. There is not a lot of wasted movement. He does a good job hitting the landmarks. The return that he had out there to the 44-yard line would have been big for us. We had the penalty called. But I think he has done a nice job with the opportunities that he has had."

More injuries

Safety Atari Bigby (knee), left tackle Chad Clifton, (ankle) running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) and linebacker Jeremy Thompson (knee), all of whom have missed at least the last two games, could be back after the bye. Same for linebacker Desmond Bishop (rib bruise), left guard Daryn Colledge (knee sprain) and running back DeShawn Wynn (wrist sprain). Safety Derrick Martin, who was benched for poor play, spent the night in a Minneapolis-area hospital with a throat contusion but is back with the team.

Four-point stance

— Neither McCarthy nor defensive coordinator Dom Capers were upset or concerned after Woodson questioned Capers' play-calling and the release of safety Anthony Smith.

"I don't ever shy away from an opinion that does not agree with mine," McCarthy said. "Every decision we do make here is obviously with a lot of thought. I don't think we have an issue."

— The Packers rank third in the NFL with 30 penalties. "I don't like the way we have more penalties than them. That has happened way too much," McCarthy said.

— The players will review film on Wednesday before practice resumes on Monday. McCarthy elected to not hold a practice on Wednesday because Monday's game was so physical.

— With the Brett Favre soap opera, Monday's game drew the biggest audience in the history of cable television. The 15.3 rating represented 15,136,000 homes and 21,839,000 viewers.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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