Clifton and Tauscher back in line

Updated: July 23, 2003, 12:06 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
If the Green Bay Packers are to make a serious run at the Super Bowl this year, the biggest factor won't be the team's re-vamped linebackers corps, nor the emergence of a receiver to complement Donald Driver, but rather the health of Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher.

The duo missed 19 combined starts, and left quarterback Brett Favre vulnerable. Favre took a pounding last year and if he hadn't had the good fortune of having a bye week on Oct. 27 he would have had his consecutive starts streak snapped at 163 after tearing his lateral-collateral ligament in a Week 7 victory over the Washington Redskins. Favre will be 34 this year and is less mobile than at any time in his career, meaning he'll need his tackles to come back strong or he could have trouble finishing the season.

Luckily for Favre and the Packers, both tackles showed up for the first official day of training camp Tuesday, and although neither was subjected to heavy contact and sat out the afternoon practice completely, their return was not diminished.