No Excuses: Key Year For Colledge

Coordinator Joe Philbin said the guard-to-tackle shuffling is "not a valid reason" for left guard Daryn Colledge's disappointing 2009 season. Colledge worked overtime this offseason to get into the best shape of his life. "Aaron Rodgers deserves it," he said.

I could be like a meteorologist or the analysts on ESPN.

No matter how many bad forecasts are cranked out or how many times the "experts" are wrong, a new day means it's time to crank out more of the same baloney. What about that garbage spewed the other day? Never a mention of it.

I mention this because on May 10, I wrote that Daryn Colledge finally has a chance to fulfill his potential because first-round draft pick Bryan Bulaga can take all of the left tackle reps that Colledge had taken over the years while filling in for Chad Clifton.

It seemed like a good theory, and it was one that coach Mike McCarthy supported when I mentioned it during the draft.

I pitched the same theory to offensive coordinator Joe Philbin on Wednesday afternoon. Now that Colledge can put all of his focus at left guard rather than dividing his attention between left guard and left tackle, is Colledge in position to have a great bounce-back season? His answer was one part pat on the back, one part kick in the butt.

And it kind of tore to shreds my theory.

"I hope so. I hope he performs better," Philbin said. "I think he's performed. He's been here for a long time. A lot's been written, a lot's been said about the guy. He's been very available. He's been very accountable. He's started a bunch of games at left guard. We could sit here and say, ‘He had to play left tackle for two weeks. That's why he didn't play well at left guard.' I'm not sitting here and saying he didn't play well at left guard.

"The fact of the matter is in the National Football League, you dress seven guys. Sometimes, guys have to move positions. In his vault, he's probably got 2,500 reps or maybe 3,000 reps as a left guard, even going into last year. I don't know if you can knock our offensive staff around for moving guys. I don't know if that's a valid argument in that particular case. Moving T.J. Lang out to left guard and left tackle as a rookie and not ever being a starter, there might be some merit in that argument. I'm not saying Daryn Colledge did not play well at left guard, because that's not the case. However, push comes to shove, he's been in the league for three years, three-and-a-half years. That's not a valid reason to me."

It's a message that Colledge either heard from the coaches or felt on his own. By the time he arrived in Green Bay to join the team's offseason workouts, he had finished his own 12-week program at his alma mater, Boise State. He didn't get the long-term deal he wanted as a restricted free agent, instead signing his one-year tender worth $1.759 million. After the 2010 season, Colledge will either get the lucrative contract he desires — here or somewhere — or will be playing for relative peanuts.

"Obviously, I didn't have the first half of the season that I wanted to have," Colledge said after Wednesday's practice. "I felt like I had a good last half of the season when I got focused on left guard and being the left guard. I still knew this offseason was going to be physically and mentally big for me. Everybody thought I wasn't here because I was holding out. It was nothing like that. I was at home taking care of myself physically and mentally so I can be the best offensive lineman I can be. Aaron Rodgers deserves it, this team deserves it and the city deserves it, and I expect to do it."

With Scott Wells having asserted himself as the team's best center, Colledge will battle best friend Jason Spitz — the co-hosts of "Tuesday Night Touchback" on Green Bay's ABC affiliate — to be the starting left guard. While Spitz hasn't been cleared to practice after surgery to remove the herniated disc that ended his 2009 season after just five games, Colledge is taking all of the snaps with the No. 1 offense.

"I feel awesome, and the strength staff has said the same and the trainers have said the same," Colledge said. "My body scans all say I'm in the best shape of my life."

Philbin called Colledge's season "some good, some bad" while noting that Colledge started all 16 games for the highest-scoring offense in franchise history.

Colledge has started all 32 games over the last two seasons, with 28 starts at left guard, three at left tackle and one at right tackle. He shifted to other positions in four other games during the last two seasons. And that's not including all of the practice reps at left tackle, when Clifton was either injured or resting.

"I don't know if it hurts my career," Colledge said of the constant shuffling. "If I don't make the team this year or I'm out, maybe I'll say it hurt my career. But I got a pay raise this year, I'm doing better than I did last year. I'm still the starter until I'm told otherwise. Right now, it's not hurting me at all.

"I would absolutely love to be the left guard full-time and take every rep in every game at that because I feel like that's my best position. It doesn't always work like that. There's injuries and there's things that happen on the football field that are unexpected and we've got to react to it."

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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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