Versatility a key for Ferrario

As the first roster cutdown looms, second-year offensive lineman Bill Ferrario is one of many players who are perched atop the dreaded bubble. Ferrario has struggled this training camp at guard but has shown in recent weeks that he can play a new position.<p>

If Ferrario can prove that he can play center, his chances of making the 53-man roster will improve drastically.

"Without a doubt," said Ferrario, who was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL draft out of the University of Wisconsin.

Aside from taking a few snaps for scouts prior to the 2001 NFL combine in Indianapolis, Ferrario has never played center in his football career. After a sluggish start at guard this training camp and after starting center Mike Flanagan suffered a broken right thumb, Packers coaches moved Ferrario to center in certain situations as an experiment and to provide depth.

Ferrario has been playing with the third-team offense at guard in practices and during the Packers' first two preseason games, but he also played a few series at center as well during those games.

"He's done a real good job for us as a center," said offensive line coach Larry Beightol. "He's picked it up, he's worked hard. He slid back just a little bit as far as guard work goes, but we'll catch him up to snuff on that as well."

Ferrario said the biggest adjustment for him so far is the shotgun snap, but he feels confident that he can master that and learn the correct techniques of playing center.

I just gotta keep working hard each day, staying in the books," Ferrario said. "Looking at the offense from a different point of view, I'm enjoying it. I like my progress so far. But there's always room for improvement. If get the confidence of playing center and the coaches' confidence of playing center, it will be great for me to play two positions."

Ferrario's main competition for a roster spot at center is rookie free agent Andy Eby. Veteran Frank Winters is currently starting in place of Flanagan. Veteran Jeff Blackshear has been practicing at right guard and Chris Watton at left guard with the second team in recent practices.

The Packers will have to trim their roster to 65 players on Tuesday, then to 53 by 3 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 1.

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