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Rookie guards hold the line

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

    Nov 22, 2005
    The 37-year-old quarterback acknowledged Friday that he had no problem with the performance of rookie guards Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz and expects them to get nothing but better.

    "Are they there yet? No," Favre said. "There's still a ways to go, but every week they've gotten better and more confident. I think they have all the potential, all the good characteristics you look for. Now it's just a matter of time."

    One of the most pleasant developments from the standpoint of personnel in Green Bay this season has been finding a pair of suitable guards. A year ago, the Packers tried and failed at left guard with Adrian Klemm and Scott Wells and at right guard with Will Whitticker, Grey Ruegamer and Matt O'Dwyer.

    Disdaining another go at guard in free agency, general manager Ted Thompson pinned his hopes on the draft by using a second-round choice on Colledge, a third-round selection on Spitz and a fifth-round pick on Tony Moll.

    Colledge has started 12 games, including 11 at left guard. Spitz has started 10 games, including eight at right guard and two at left guard. And Moll has started nine games, including five at right guard and four at right tackle.

    Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said the coaches made the guards' jobs easier by reducing their exposure to one-on-one matchups through use of more seven-man protections than in recent seasons in Green Bay.

    That's one reason, coupled with Favre's razor-sharp instincts and reluctance to take a sack, why Green Bay has allowed just 20 sacks to rank No. 4 in percentage of sacks allowed.

    Still, there have been plenty of opportunities for Colledge and Spitz to whiff in protection. So it's remarkable that Colledge hasn't given up a sack as a guard (he gave up two to Miami's Jason Taylor as a left tackle) and Spitz has given up three.

    "I don't really look at one as being more effective than the other," said Wells, the center. "I look at it like they're both solid players and both are improving in different areas. I'm happy with them in there. I think they're developing."

    As a result, Colledge and Spitz both have a chance to make the National Football League all-rookie team. Jahri Evans of New Orleans is the only rookie guard to start all 13 games. The only other rookie guards with more than six starts are Tampa Bay's Davin Joseph (nine) and Oakland's Kevin Boothe (11), both of whom have been up and down, according to one scout.

    "It'd be nice but it's not something I'm worried about," Spitz said. "You don't play for awards."

    From 1984-2005, two Packers offensive linemen made the all-rookie team: tackle John Michels in 1996 and tackle Ross Verba in '97.

    Handed a starting job on draft day, Colledge lost it in the first exhibition game and then didn't regain it until Week 2 when Spitz was injured.

    "Colledge is more like a (Mike) Wahle," Favre said. "Jason doesn't look the part as much as Daryn or Tony. All three have a little spunk about them. I see a little bit of myself in those guys. Even though I might say, 'Hey, pick it up,' I can't help but say, 'You know, I like the way you're going.' "

    In 13 games, Spitz has allowed the most pressures (combination of sacks, knockdowns and hurries) on the team with 18½, followed by Moll with 17½ and Colledge with 16.

    The area in which Spitz has made the most progress is run-blocking. He has been responsible for merely 2½ "bad" runs in the last five games after allowing 8½ in the first eight.

    "I'm probably better at the point of attack," Spitz said. "Obviously, you have to be aggressive. At the same time, you have to be under control or you're going to get tossed. It's a fine line and I'm still learning it."

    In all, the "bad" run totals are 12½ for Colledge, 11 for Spitz and nine for Moll.

    "You can't teach people to be physical," Wells said. "(Spitz) has always been physical. A lot of his improvement is mental. He knows a lot more than people give him credit for. If he gets more comfortable with his knowledge of the entire offense, he'll get more control."

    Colledge might not be as reckless as Spitz but shouldn't be labeled as a finesse blocker, either.

    "If you look at where he was in pre-season games to where he is now, it's night and day," Wells said. "Being more physical comes with getting more comfortable. He's not as hesitant. His pass sets are better and his recognition is a lot more clean."

    It has added up to a fairly clean jersey most weeks for Favre.
  2. slackerbacker

    slackerbacker Cheesehead

    Dec 8, 2004
    Now if we could just get them to open up some running lanes :thumbsup:
  3. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

    Dec 11, 2004
    Nah, getting 1,000 yards is actually very easy. You don't need running lanes! :thumbsup:

    Brett's comments in the first few lines ... think he's already decided he's playing next year? Or am I just reading too much into it.
  4. packedhouse01

    packedhouse01 Cheesehead

    Jun 4, 2005
    Ted really stuck his neck out with this line and so far they're proving him right.
  5. P@ck66

    P@ck66 Banned Banned

    Jun 5, 2005
    I wouldn't go that far Packed...

    Definitely, Colledge and Spitz have some talent...but they have to max protect all the time, the running game has suffered with Tauscher's injury, and they have definitely been spotty in the run and pass game. That being said, they are a good nucleus for the future.

    But the Packers would have been much better off if they would have signed a couple of decent veteran o-lineman to help out and make the team better this year. For depth alone, it would have helped. Also, they wouldn't have had to max protect so much, and could have run more of the playbook.

    But, I will admit that TT didn't do too badly with those two...
  6. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

    Mar 10, 2006
    Disagree entirely. Signing free agent offensive lineman didn't work last year unless you want to spend 20 mil on two marquee names and forget about Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett. I guess we could load up on players and spend it on everyone but then again we'd be going down the same path Mike Sherman lead us and that was cap hell and no future. Steve Hutchinson has actually struggled some in Minnesota and has proved not to be worth the kind of money spent on him. While he has decent, he has not played as good as he did in Seattle.

    Depth would of been helpful no doubt but you have to way your options. If you can pick some vets up for the minimum then that’s great. The team looked at Ross Verba and didn’t like what they saw. Verba signed a fairly nice deal with the Lions and the Lions offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL. I consider that a good no sign by the Packers.

    The 3 rookie offensive lineman have proven to be serviceable in the passing game but I will say they’ve been inconsistent in the running game. Just in the other thread people are praising that Ahman Green is back and now the running game is struggling??? Which is it?

    Farther more to have 3 rookie offensive lineman come in and at least play good is more of a testament to the coaching (Jags) and Ted Thompson's eye for talent in the Draft. Rarely does a team have 3 rookie offensive lineman contributing and Green Bay does.

    In 2 to 3 year Green Bay has the potential to have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. I’ll take that instead of a one hit wonder veteran for the 06 season. Considering even with veteran lineman the team is still probably where they are now because the Defense is one of the worst in football. So we spend big money on veterans and we have no room to redo someone like Al Harris’ contract or Donald Drivers or sign some big free agents for the 07 off season.

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