Wells front and center of offensive line

Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski says the "five best offensive linemen" will receive a starting nod on opening day this year. While Jagodzinski, or any coach on the Packers' staff, has yet to commit on the starters for the line, consider Scott Wells as one of them.

Wells is on the cusp of following some great centers in recent seasons for the Green Bay Packers. The fact that he practiced at center with the team's first-team offense in the two mini-camps this month, it appears Wells is on track to snap the ball to Brett Favre, like Mike Flanagan and Franks Winters did before him.

The third-year pro likely will continue in the starting role when the team begins its organized team activities on Wednesday. Wells has gained experience as a starter the past two seasons, filling in for an injured Flanagan. At this point, he is the most qualified to start based on his past performance and experience, which includes eight starts last year at left guard.

Wells' top competition for the job is second-year pro Chris White and veteran Wayne Lucier. Neither of those two took a snap for the Packers last year while Wells played in 16 games and started 10 between guard and center. So figure on Wells to be one of those top five offensive lineman on Sept. 10 against the Chicago Bears.

Wells has prepared for his golden opportunity by remaining in Green Bay for the team's off-season workout program. One of the strongest players on the Packers, he has made adjustments to the team's new zone blocking offense. He also has been practicing making calls at the line of scrimmage.

"This year we have to go out and we have to identify the defense," Wells said. "We really haven't had to do that. So we go up there, we identify the defense, and that tells everybody basically who they've got. Then I make a call, which tells whatever guard I'm working with."

Considering that both guard positions are up in the air, it seems logical that Mike McCarthy and Jagodzinski will want some veterans to protect Favre. Tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are the team's two best offensive linemen and Wells is a strong third. The Packers were hoping to insert Kevin Barry as guard on the right side, but his possible season-ending thigh injury likely will force the Packers to go with Junius Coston, a second-year pro who only played a handful of snaps last year. Look for a rookie to start at left guard – either second-round draft pick Daryn Colledge, or third-round pick Jason Spitz.

Unless the Packers made a trade or sign a veteran to compete for the center position, which is highly unlikely, the job is Wells' to lose. That's about the last thing that is going to happen with this Tennessean.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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