Flexibility over continuity

Daryn Colledge battles at left guard while filling in at left tackle. It is part of coach Mike McCarthy's mission to build depth and competition along his offensive line.

It's been an interesting period for Daryn Colledge. He is battling Allen Barbre to be the starting left guard, but when 32-year-old Chad Clifton gets one of his frequent days off to stay fresh, Colledge shifts to the all-important left tackle.

Coach Mike McCarthy frequently lauds Colledge's flexibility, but it also poses a challenge, with Colledge regularly playing guard on one snap and tackle the next.

"It makes it a little hard in practice, just switching back and forth immediately, because the technique is a little different," Colledge said. "If it came to a game and they said I needed to play left tackle, no problem. I could run the technique all day. Going back and forth in practice gets a little tiring, but it's good work. It's good to work under that type of load and that type of stress, and it's always nice to change it up."

That Colledge played left tackle at Boise State helps, but he's in his third year playing guard for the Packers.

"There's stuff that's old hat about it, but I've really spent a lot of time working to be a left guard. Some of my technique's not as well used as a left tackle," he said. "So, if I was going to be a left tackle again, I would have some work to do. To me right now, if they put me out there, I could at least get the job done."

The shuffling along the line — with center Scott Wells out, starting right guard Jason Spitz has moved to center, and rookie Josh Sitton is getting a shot to win Spitz's job — doesn't help build the continuity that defines great offensive lines, but it comes with a benefit, too.

"Looking for productivity," McCarthy said when asked what he's looking for from his offensive line in Monday's preseason opener against Tennessee. "It's more the way we're rotating. We're trying to keep the younger players (Sitton and Barbre) in one spot. Daryn Colledge is so valuable. He's played in every position so far except center. Tony Moll is kind of fitting in that category too. Junius (Coston) needs to get healthy. It's really the ability to keep rotating those guys in. But to answer your question, to get the conformity for the first group, that's something that's probably going to take us at least the first two possibly three games to settle in on that."

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com

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