Setback only temporary for rookie lineman

Daryn Colledge was demoted to second string this week, but don't expect the offensive lineman to be content,'s Matt Tevsh says. In fact, Tevsh, who has watched the rookie practice and has interviewed him in the locker room, insists that Colledge will use the setback as a springboard back into the starting lineup before the regular season opener.

Psychology, more than anything, is playing into the Packers' surprising move this week with the demotion of rookie Daryn Colledge to the second unit. For now, Colledge is replaced by fellow rookie Tony Moll at left guard.

While a downgrade from the first team for a second-round draft pick could be a confidence killer for a young player, the Packers have done their homework on Colledge. They know just what kind of person and player he is, though he has only been in Green Bay since early May.

The lineup change at guard really means nothing more than to toughen up Colledge before he starts the regular season because until now, he has not been challenged. He has been given a starting job, been treated as a starter, and will be the opening game starter when training camp concludes. He has shown so far that he is smart enough to handle a starting guard position, but has seemed to lack an edge that really makes a dominant offensive lineman. The Packers will need such intangibles to kick-start their running game, which is their only real chance to be productive on offense this year.

"We're just looking for a little more… to be aggressive, get after it, just looking for a comfort level of five guys playing together," said head coach Mike McCarthy regarding the changes along the offensive line. "So we feel like we have great competition there. Competition's healthy, and we're going to see who takes advantage of the opportunity."

What the Packers know thus far about Colledge is that he fulfills McCarthy's mission of finding "Packer People" to build a team. His background makes him a natural to succeed as a Packer and in the community of Green Bay, but that does not say much for game days. They need him to become a confident technician along the offensive line, and his setback this week is opening his eyes.

Colledge is well-spoken and has a great attitude. After a rough start for him and his line mates in the pre-season opener against the Chargers, he admitted he needs to play faster and with more intensity. The pressure of being a starter is off him for now, so he should be able to make the necessary strides to improve in the coming weeks.

"Now I feel like I can just play football," said Colledge.

After Tuesday's morning practice, Colledge said he wants to get his starting spot back soon, but knows he will have to earn it back.

"It reminds me of where I need to be right now," he said.

Last Saturday night's poor performance by the interior offensive line of the Packers should come as no surprise. Two rookies, Colledge and Jason Spitz, were making their pro debuts with veteran center Scott Wells under a new offensive system. A scenario like that was set up for disaster and that is just what happened to the Packers.

"It was 10 guys doing the right thing and one guy doing the wrong thing," said Colledge. "That was me a couple of times and somebody else once or twice, and it's just a matter of us all being on the same page every down."

Shuffling of players and positions along the offensive line could continue in practice over the next couple of weeks, but after the third pre-season game, the starting five should become clear. Expect Colledge to be among that starting five, even if he is not at the moment. The next couple of weeks present a challenge for him, which is just the medicine he needs to be ready for the Bears on Sept. 10.

Matt Tevsh

Editor's note: Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to and Packer Report. E-mail him at

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