Colledge Finally Has Chance To Meet Potential

Daryn Colledge, coming off a disappointing fourth year in the NFL, signed his restricted free agent tender on Monday. Packer Report publisher Bill Huber tells you why Colledge finally is being put in position to live up this second-round draft billing.

Guard Daryn Colledge finally signed his restricted free agent tender with the Green Bay Packers on Monday and will be with the team when organized team activities begin next week.

Colledge will be paid $1.759 million next season, assuming he makes the team.

Outside of Justin Harrell, there isn't a player on the Packers' roster more reviled by some fans than Colledge. A second-round pick in 2006, Colledge simply hasn't lived up to that lofty draft status or the ink he receives as the de facto spokesman for the offensive line.

While Colledge has been inconsistent, two offensive linemen selected after Colledge from that draft — Marcus McNeill (second round, San Diego) and Jahri Evans (fourth round, New Orleans) — have played in Pro Bowls. Evans is arguably the best guard in the NFL.

The NFL is a bottom-line business, and the bottom line says Colledge has been a major disappointment with an unofficial nine sacks allowed last season. But some of that falls on general manager Ted Thompson.

For each of Colledge's first four seasons in the NFL, he's served as the backup at left tackle for the increasingly brittle Chad Clifton. Not only has Colledge started five games at left tackle (and once at right tackle) and finished at least that many games in place of Clifton, Colledge has been forced to take untold numbers of practice reps at left tackle, either to replace an injured Clifton or to give Clifton's aching body a break. Heck, he's even spent time at practice working on snapping.

Excuses are for losers, as the saying goes. At the same time, you have to deal with facts. And the reality is this: Maybe Colledge would be at least an above-average left guard if allowed to focus all of his energies on that spot.

During this year's draft, Thompson did Colledge's career a favor by using his first-round pick on left tackle Bryan Bulaga. At long last, Clifton will have his own personal backup, and Colledge will be able to pour his energies into left guard.

"I think Daryn has shown a lot of flexibility since the first time he lined up for us," coach Mike McCarthy said when I asked him about Colledge's merry-go-round career. "Daryn Colledge has lost his starting position and has bounced back every single time. I have a lot of respect for Daryn as a man, the way he attacks his profession, and his opportunity to go out there and play at one position will definitely help him. I think it would help anybody, and Daryn would attest to that. To answer your question, yes, I think if you only have to play one position opposed to two or possibly three, it definitely helps you."

Colledge will be in the fight of his NFL career during training camp. With Scott Wells coming off a strong season at center and Josh Sitton a definite up-and-comer at right guard, former starting center Jason Spitz has moved to left guard, where he'll battle his good friend Colledge for the starting spot. Plus, rookie fifth-round pick Marshall Newhouse could be in the mix at left guard, too.

Nobody will ever know if Colledge would have performed better in 2009 had he been allowed to focus at left guard. And it's impossible to say if Colledge would have given up that awful holding penalty that preceded Aaron Rodgers' season-ending fumble in the playoff loss at Arizona. But for the first time in his career, the coaches and management are putting Colledge in position to succeed.

It's up to Colledge to make the most of the opportunity.

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

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