Training camp preview: Offensive line

Colledge vs. Barbre at left guard will be a marquee battle, while the other spots are entrenched.

Daryn Colledge has 30 NFL starts under his belt. Allen Barbre has none.

Colledge played Division I college football. Barbre played Division II.

Colledge is smart, with a 30 on his Wonderlic. Barbre's Wonderlic score was just 11.

With that said, Colledge vs. Barbre at left guard will be the big battle on the offensive side of the ball when training camp opens on Monday.

In two seasons, College has failed to seize control of the position. He's shown flashes of becoming a fine player, but those brief glimpses have been masked behind maddening inconsistency. His inability to become a solid starter was amplified recently when Brett Favre aired his beefs with general manager Ted Thompson, including his frustration when Thompson failed to re-sign left guard Mike Wahle, who became a Pro Bowler with Carolina.

Barbre and Colledge split the reps with the No. 1 offense during offseason practices, and they'll likely do so again as camp opens. Nonetheless, Barbre enters camp as at least a small favorite to win the job. He's more athletic and stronger than Colledge, but the big thing is his tenacity.

Coaches laud his work in the weight room — he gained 16 pound of muscle this offseason while shedding 10 pounds of fat. Plus, he has a physical presence that's lacking in Colledge, who played the more finesse-based left tackle at Boise State and may be better suited to play there in the NFL.

Still, don't assume Barbre will win the job. Colledge has risen to challenges to his position before.

"It's good for our team. It's a great opportunity to battle," Barbre said last month. "Whatever happens, happens. It's going to make our team better."

The rest of the offensive line is solid but not spectacular.

Left tackle Chad Clifton and right tackle Mark Tauscher are two of the best in the business, though Clifton's creaky knees — which kept him out of the offseason practices — have to be a source of concern. Even with his waning athleticism, Clifton is a superb pass blocker while facing the opposition's best rusher every week. He's a quarterback's best friend, even if not a strong run blocker. Tauscher, meanwhile, is the Packers' best run blocker and more than good enough in pass protection.

Center Scott Wells is the brains behind the operation. Even at a mere 303 pounds, he manages to hold his own against the behemoths of the NFC North due to his superb strength and wrestling background.

Right guard Jason Spitz — a third-round pick in 2006 while Colledge was a second-rounder — entered camp last summer as a question mark but is now seen as a long-term starter. A lot like Tauscher, he doesn't look all that impressive but gets the job done.

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at

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