Spitz Drops Ball on Big Chance

Jason Spitz, who is battling Scott Wells at center, missed a chance to make the highlight reel on Friday.

Remember in 2005, when Packers offensive tackle Mark Tauscher caught a touchdown pass on Christmas Day against the Bears?

Maybe, just maybe, Jason Spitz will get that opportunity this season. Until that highly unlikely event takes place, he'll have to live with the indignity of what transpired on the practice field on Friday afternoon.

With the Packers running a fake field goal, Spitz "sprinted" 10 yards down the field from his position as right tight end and took his route toward the sideline, looking nothing like Donald Driver. With the other eligible receiver covered, quarterback Matt Flynn lobbed a pass toward a wide-open Spitz ...

Who dropped the ball. With both hands, he whacked himself on the helmet and doubled over in frustration. His teammates, not surprisingly, showed little sympathy.

"I didn't catch the ball," Spitz said. "We ran it once, then we ran it the second time and he threw it to me. I thought he was going to gun it and he threw it a little soft. I'm not a skilled catcher."

Oh, sure, throw Flynn under the bus!

When's the last time Spitz, the fourth-year lineman who is battling Scott Wells to start at center, caught a pass?

"That was ... oh, yeah ... never," he said with a laugh.

Not even when he was a little kid?

"Brother, look at me, did I ever look like I was a skill position?" Spitz said, drawing a ribbing from guard Daryn Colledge.

The play cut the tension in a challenging training camp for Spitz. Spitz is battling Wells at center. And just in case that doesn't work out, he's working in with the starters occasionally at right guard, where he started 11 games last season.

The back-and-forth is nothing new for Spitz. Of his 41 career starts, 29 have been at right guard, six at center and six at left guard. He started at all three positions last season, when he played every snap on offense.

"It's kind of the same stuff we've been doing since Daryn and Tony (Moll) and I have been here," Spitz said. "Just moving around and see what the best five is and go from there."

Spitz remodeled his body to battle Wells this summer. His weight is up about 10 pounds from last year's listed 302, which would help him battle the likes of Minnesota's gigantic Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. During one-on-one pass-rushing drills at training camp, the weight has served him well against bull rushes and he remains nimble enough to handle lateral movement.

All of which makes Spitz the favorite to unseat Wells, but Wells isn't going down without a fight. One of coach Mike McCarthy's goals for this training camp was to pick a starting line and stick with it. That hasn't happened yet, but it's only one week into training camp. Ideally for the team, the starters will separate themselves quickly so the unit can gel. Spitz, however, isn't worried about any of that.

"Fortunately for me, that's not something I have to worry about," he said. "That's for the coaching staff to decide. All I can do is go out and play ball. The only thing I can control is the day-to-day basis."

For the record, the NFL's version of Scrooge — an official — flagged the Packers for holding to deny Tauscher's shot at immortality during that game against the Bears. How cool would it be to get his chance on a fake field goal?

"It would be nice," Spitz said. "I ain't going to lie. Every fat guy wants to catch the ball."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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