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Tauscher May Slide To Left Tackle


Come Sunday, the Green Bay Packers may have to reshuffle their offensive line again.

Right tackle Mark Tauscher practiced at left tackle on Thursday and Friday in case Chad Clifton cannot play.

"I'm ready for it," Tauscher said. "It's going to be a big challenge."

The Packers have listed Clifton as questionable with an ankle injury, but he practiced on Friday in a limited capacity

"He's made a lot progress considering he could barely walk after the game," head coach Mike Sherman said.

Kevin Barry, who serves as an extra lineman in the U-71 package, would replace Tauscher at right tackle.

If Tauscher does start at left tackle, he will have to reverse every play in his mind before the snap of the ball.

"It's like writing with your left hand," he said.

Learning a new position while coping with an aching foot injury has made for a trying week.

"The biggest thing for me is to get mentally fresh before Sunday because it's been a long week," he said.

Tauscher, a versatile six-year-veteran, played right guard for a brief stretch when former Packers player Marco Rivera went down with a knee injury in 2003 but has never played left tackle in the NFL. He does have college experience there. At Wisconsin he played left tackle, backing up Chris McIntosh in 1997 and 1998.

Despite the challenge of playing a new position, Tauscher's interest piqued when offensive line coach Larry Beightol discussed the change.

"It will break up the monotony a little bit," Tauscher said.

The offensive lacked monotony during Monday night's game versus the Carolina Panthers. Center Mike Flanagan suffered a muscle hernia, and Clifton injured his ankle during the first quarter. Scott Wells replaced Flanagan, and Adrian Klemm moved from left guard to left tackle. Grey Ruegamer replaced Klemm at left guard.

The new faces on the offensive line filled in admirably, allowing zero sacks. Klemm, however, looks forward to returning to guard.

"It's nice getting back to the position I've been playing the last three weeks," he said.

Although injuries have struck the Packers particularly hard the last week, they are part of life in the NFL.

"There are no excuses for injury," Sherman said. "Someone has to step in and assume a role they're not normally familiar with."

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