Tauscher Hopes to Play Sunday
Next game: Sunday, November 30 vs. Carolina
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Raised on a farm in north central Wisconsin, Mark Tauscher has a work ethic that always tells him the same thing: You show up for work every day, no matter how tired or sore you may be.
Which is why the Green Bay Packers' veteran right tackle figures to be in the starting lineup Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field, despite being listed as questionable with the hamstring injury he suffered two plays into Monday night's loss at New Orleans.
If Tauscher couldn't go, though, backup Tony Moll would get the nod. But Tauscher practiced Friday on what coach Mike McCarthy described as "between limited and full" basis, and Tauscher hinted strongly afterward that he'll play.
Tauscher, who started just one season at the University of Wisconsin and entered the league as a seventh-round pick in 2000, has started 125 games (including playoffs) with the Packers, and he hasn't missed a start since missing five games with a groin injury in 2006.
That time on the sideline snapped a 57-game starting streak that followed left knee reconstruction that ended his 2002 season after two games.
"We want to make sure Mark's healthy. We don't put players out there in position to get hurt or do things to get them ready for a game that may be a short-term answer," McCarthy said. "(But) it's an important game. Mark realizes that. Our whole football team realizes that. It's important for him to play. He's a starter for a reason. But that's also why you train the way we do with our offensive linemen, and Tony can step in there and play."
The 25-year-old Moll, a 2006 fifth-round pick, graded out well in his performance against the Saints.
While offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said earlier this week that Moll "probably feels he should be playing all the time," Moll demurred when asked about his feelings Friday.
"I have a guy in front of me with many years of experience behind him. So every day, I'm watching him, seeing how he handles things, because I'm definitely learning from what he does," said Moll, who has 16 career NFL starts, including three at right guard to start this season. "Part of me, with how many starts I've had, I'd like to see the field more. But I'm also happy being on our 53-man roster. I'm looking to contribute any way I can.
"I don't think I could have more confidence right now. (But) when it comes my time to be on that starting line, then that will be my time. I don't know what will happen down the road."
Neither does Tauscher, but he's focused on his more immediate future -- playing on Sunday.
"There's a line where (by playing hurt) you're hurting the team," Tauscher said. "You kind of have to know your body and understand when you're going to be able to function at a level that's acceptable. That's kind of the balancing act. You can go out there and be tough and flop around, (but) can you be effective? That's what you have to look at. We'll see. Things have progressed, and we'll see how it goes on Sunday."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)