Saturday, September 25, 2010
Williams out, Clifton possible for MNF
By Kevin Seifert
The Chicago Bears definitely won't have their starting left tackle Monday night. The Green Bay Packers aren't sure yet.
That's the upshot of the final injury report of the practice week for both teams. The Bears ruled out left tackle Chris Williams because of a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the entire week of practice. Right tackle Frank Omiyale will make his first career start at left tackle Monday night against the Packers, and it's expected that Kevin Shaffer will start at right tackle.
Normally I'd express grave concern about this turn of events, given Omiyale's failed experiment as a left guard last season and his brief run as a right tackle this season. But for reasons that haven't been fully comprehended, Omiyale held his own at left tackle after Williams' injury last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. So we'll give him a full night's work before we make any judgments about this arrangement.
The Packers, meanwhile, declared left tackle Chad Clifton (knee) probable for the game, as they did for left guard Daryn Colledge (knee). The NFL defines "probable" as a "virtual certainty" that the player will be available for a game, but whether the Packers decide to start Clifton or rookie Bryan Bulaga remains to be seen.
"Chad Clifton is our starting left tackle," coach Mike McCarthy said Saturday, "and if Chad is ready to go, he'll play there and our rotation will be the same as it's been. It's a medical decision. He's in the stage of his career that his particular knee situation is a little bit unpredictable, so we'll see how he is Monday."
There had been some concern that Colledge's injury would force the Packers' hand. He sat out practice Friday, forcing Bulaga to shift to left guard, but was back Saturday morning. McCarthy said: "I think he's going to be OK."
So, as we've been discussing all week, it will come down to whether the Packers prefer starting a veteran left tackle who is battling chronic knee soreness, or if they turn to a rookie first-round draft choice to make his first NFL start on Monday Night Football. Stay tuned.