Great name, good game

Guard Atlas Herrion making a name for himself in training camp

Atlas Herrion has made a steady climb up the depth chart for the Green Bay Packers. In the span of one year, the offensive lineman has gone from longshot to a top backup.

Herrion is currently in the rotation with Matt O'Dwyer and Will Whitticker to start at right guard for the Green Bay Packers. The team has been experimenting with the three throughout the off-season since Marco Rivera left via free agency for Dallas.

Thus far, Herrion has made a push to start at guard. Though O'Dwyer has the experience, he has been bothered by a neck injury, which has opened the door a little for Herrion and Whitticker, the team's seventh round selection in this year's NFL draft.

Herrion is in his second training camp with the Packers. He is a prime example of persistence. He signed as a free agent last season and was released at the end of camp. He was signed to the team's practice squad and spent the entire season there. Herrion re-signed with the team in January and spent the entire off-season in Green Bay, participating in the team's off-season workout program, special practice sessions and minicamps.

When the team lined up against Buffalo in the Family Night scrimmage on Friday, Herrion started at right guard. He has practiced at that position throughout the off-season. Last year, he played a little at tackle.

"He's done a nice job in the off-season program and he's been around, so we know who he is," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "He's not all of a sudden showing up. He's looked good in the minicamps but that doesn't always transfer to the football field. He's done a decent job out there. He's in good competition there. There's not anyone set who is going to be the starter there just yet. He's certainly competiting."

The 6-foot-4, 313-pound Herrion played at the University of Alabama in 2001 and '03. He was redshirted in 2002 to work at defensive tackle, but he returned to the offensive line.

Thus far, Herrion, who was named after his grandfather, is making the most of his opportunity.

"Last year at this time, I was just feeling my way, just trying to get in and get in the mix. This year I pretty much know how things go and what they expect. It's a lot smoother coming in knowing a little bit of something and building on last year."

Herrion and the rest of the interior part of the line have a long way to go, especially with picking up the blitz. The Buffalo Bills sacked Packers quarterbacks eight times during last Friday's scrimmage, raising concern by many Packers fans.

"That's what happens when you have a new line together. Everything has got to come together and jell. We've got a couple things to work on, but we're coming."


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