Notebook: Options On The O-Line

For the first time this season, the Packers will likely enter Sunday night’s game vs. Dallas with all five of last year’s starters on the offensive line in uniform. Which five players will ultimately start against the Cowboys remains to be seen. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 19

For the first time this season, the Packers will likely enter Sunday night's game vs. Dallas with all five of last year's starters on the offensive line in uniform.

Which five players will ultimately start against the Cowboys remains to be seen.

Center Scott Wells, who has started 29 games over the past two seasons, is expected to be active on Sunday night after being sidelined for most of the preseason and the first two regular-season games with a pinched nerve in his back.

"I thought Scott had a very good week," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "Haven't talked to him since we broke practice, but he looked like his old self out there today.

"He came out of Wednesday's and Thursday's practice pain-free. We'll see how Scott is in the morning and we'll move forward accordingly."

McCarthy said there is a possibility that Wells could start on Sunday, and if not, he would serve as the backup to Jason Spitz.

During Wells' absence, Spitz has slid over from right guard to center for the first two games with Tony Moll starting at right guard.

If Wells does get the starting nod, McCarthy said there was a "good chance" that Spitz would move back to the starting right guard spot.

Spitz said that he split reps in practice this week between center and right guard, but that was the customary routine in the past even when Wells was healthy.

"That's why coach has been good about rotating guys at different spots," Spitz said. "Wherever they put me, as long as I can help the team, I'm fine with that."

The Packers have been without not only Wells the first two games, but also rookie guard Josh Sitton, who had emerged as one of the leading candidates to start at right guard before sustaining a sprained knee in the preseason at Denver. Sitton returned to practice this week and is questionable for Sunday.

"We shuffle around on purpose," Spitz said. "We don't have that many guys on the offensive line, so you've got to work with the bodies you have. You try different combinations and you work with different lineups, and hopefully it prepares you for the worst.

"You always hope that the best things happen and nobody gets hurt, but it's inevitable in our job that someone is going to get hurt some time and you've got to be prepared for that."

The Packers' line will be facing a Dallas team that plays a 3-4 defense and features explosive pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, who led all NFL linebackers in '07 with 14.0 sacks.

"Any time you have the big pass-rushing linebackers, they potentially try to create a matchup favorable to them, so you have to deal with that schematically," McCarthy said. "It's a scheme adjustment for you when you play a 3-4 defense opposed to a 4-3.

"We spent time on it in training camp. We have an installation, one of our nine, that is clearly driven toward the 3-4 defense."

Peprah back

Although the Packers will be without one of their starting safeties on Sunday, they will welcome the return of another with Charlie Peprah making his season debut.

"Charlie Peprah has had a very good week of work, and it's great to have him back for special teams," McCarthy said.

Peprah missed all four preseason games and the first two regular-season contests with a hamstring injury that he sustained in an Aug. 5 practice.

{sportsad300}With starting strong safety Atari Bigby out for Sunday, second-year safety Aaron Rouse will get the starting nod, and Peprah will be the primary backup to Rouse and free safety Nick Collins.

Peprah tied for sixth on the team last season with 11 special teams tackles and led the Packers with two forced fumbles on kickoff returns.

Cowboys rookie running back Felix Jones is the leading kickoff returner in the NFL after two weeks, averaging 38.1 yards on seven returns, including a 98-yard return for a touchdown Monday night against Philadelphia.

Injury/participation update

Bigby (hamstring) is out for Sunday's game.

In addition to Sitton, fullback Korey Hall (knee), tight end Tory Humphrey (knee) and wide receiver Ruvell Martin (finger) are questionable for Sunday. Sitton and Martin were full participants in Friday's practice and Hall and Humphrey were limited.

In addition to Wells, tackle Chad Clifton (knees), defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (knee), running back Ryan Grant (hamstring) and cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) are all probable.

Gbaja-Biamila did not participate in practice for the second straight day, but McCarthy said that was due to the schedule that he has been put on by the medical staff.

"If you asked Kabeer, I think he'd like to practice more," McCarthy said. "They're concerned about the swelling in the knee. That's the schedule we went into the season with, and we really wanted to give it a three- or four-week period and we'll see how he handles it, and if he can do more as we move forward. But it's just purely proactive."

For the Cowboys, safety Roy Williams (forearm), linebacker Anthony Spencer (knee) and running back Deon Anderson are all out for Sunday. Starting left guard Kyle Kosier (foot), who missed the first two games, is listed as probable.

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