Packers thankful Justin McCray has become a jack-of-all-trades lineman

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With all the injuries the Green Bay Packers have experienced among their offensive linemen, they had at last one reason to be thankful on Thursday morning when they convened for a Thanksgiving morning practice -- Justin McCray.

The do-it-all first-year pro, who before this season had never played a snap in an NFL regular-season game, had to change positions once again just to help the Packers get through practice. McCray, who has started two games at left guard and four at right tackle plus played 32 snaps at left tackle, had to jump over to center after Corey Linsley's back tightened up on him and did very little in practice.

McCray, who is probably best suited to play guard, has never played center in a regular-season game but did so this past summer during the preseason. He took a few snaps inside the Don Hutson Center right before the team went outside for practice.

"It's a little difficult, but after you get a couple reps of it, it's fine," McCray said. "I had a couple reps inside today, and I felt like I was right back in the preseason doing it. It's just muscle memory. Just have to get back used to doing it."

Neither McCray nor Linsley think it will be necessary the rest of the week or on Sunday night in Pittsburgh. Linsley said his back acted up on him but did not expect it to keep him out against the Steelers. Linsley has not missed a snap all season. Only he and right guard Jahri Evans have started all 10 games among the linemen.

"I don't want to jinx myself, knock on wood, but there's nothing indicative of me being out for the game," Linsley said after practice.

McCray, who is also on the injury report with a knee problem, should be able to return to right tackle, where he's the long-term replacement after Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL on Nov. 6. McCray was listed as a full participant in the Thanksgiving practice.

In a season in which both starting tackles (Bulaga and David Bakhtiari) have missed games because of injuries and the top-three backups (Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy and Don Barclay) all were on injured reserve at one point or another, McCray has been an important addition to the group.

"If I was going to give out an MVP award," McCarthy said of McCray this month, "he'd definitely be in the conversation."

Not bad for someone who made an NFL roster for the first time since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2014.

Here's a rundown of where McCray has played this season:

Week 1 vs. Seattle: Played five snaps on special teams but did not appear on offense.

Week 2 at Atlanta: Made his first start in Week 2 at right tackle in place of Bulaga, with Murphy starting at left tackle in place of Bakhtiari, and played the entire game.

Week 3 vs. Cincinnati: Played two snaps at left guard in place of an injured Lane Taylor and then 23 at right tackle after Bulaga dropped out.

Week 4 vs. Chicago: Started at right tackle and played the entire game.

Week 5 at Dallas: Started at left guard and played the entire game while Taylor moved over to left tackle.

Week 6 at Minnesota: Did not start but played 51 of 66 snaps at three different positions -- 13 at left guard, six at right tackle and 32 at left tackle.

Week 7 vs. New Orleans: Started at left guard and played the entire game.

Week 9 vs. Detroit: After the bye, played the final 17 snaps at right tackle after Bulaga suffered his season-ending knee injury.

Week 10 at Chicago: Started at right tackle and played the entire game.

Week 11 vs. Baltimore: Started at right tackle and played the first 45 snaps before leaving with a knee injury.

"He's a jack-of-all-trades," Linsley said.