Two-a-Days: Guards

We continue our pre-training camp positional breakdown of the Packers by looking at what's right and what's wrong at left guard and right guard. We tell you who will start and why, and use our 20/20 general manager's hindsight to find better (and worse) options.

Left guard

Probable starter:

Daryn Colledge

Depth:

Jason Spitz

The lowdown

Colledge is coming off a miserable third season in the NFL, with 8.75 sacks allowed and four penalties, according to STATS. A lot of that is because he was overmatched while filling in for Chad Clifton at left tackle. Memories of the Bengals' Antwan Odom and the Vikings' Jared Allen running through Colledge for a total of five sacks are seared in the fans' memories. Maybe it was the hangover from those poor performances or the shuffling between tackle and guard that led to a disappointing performance in 14 starts at left guard. Or, maybe he's just not good enough consistently enough to hold the fort for a Super Bowl contender. We'll get a definitive answer in training camp, because Spitz is no pushover. However, Colledge holds a large advantage in this battle because Spitz didn't practice all offseason after a season-ending back injury required surgery. Spitz says he'll be fine, but who knows?

Quoteworthy

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, on Colledge: "We could sit here and say, ‘He had to play left tackle for two weeks. That's why he didn't play at left guard.' I'm not sitting here and saying he didn't play well at left guard. In his vault, he's probably got 2,500 reps or maybe 3,000 reps as a left guard, even going into last year. ... 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."

Could be better

One of Ted Thompson's worst picks came in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, when he took Cory Rodgers as a kick return prospect with pick No. 104. The Saints took stud guard Jahri Evans at No. 108.

Could be worse

One pick before the Packers selected Colledge at No. 52 in 2006, the Vikings selected Ryan Cook. Cook yielded 13 sacks while starting at right tackle in 2007 and 2008 and was replaced by rookie Phil Loadholt last year.

On a scale of 1 to 10 ...

With a 10 being Charles Woodson against anybody, a 5 being Mason Crosby from 45 yards and the ball on the right hash and a 1 being Allen Barbre against anybody, this position group rates a 5.5.

Colledge has a history of bouncing back when his job is on the line. Spitz was a solid starter from 2006 through 2008. So, it's not like this is a lost cause. But Colledge performed so poorly last year — right down to that holding penalty in the playoff game that led to the season-ending fumble — and Spitz barely played at all, so the last impressions aren't favorable.


Right guard

Probable starter:

Josh Sitton

Depth:

T.J. Lang


Right guard Josh Sitton
Bill Huber/Packer Report
The lowdown

While left guard is a huge question mark, right guard is a sure thing. Sitton was the Packers' best lineman and appears to be on the cusp of being a Pro Bowl-caliber performer. A fourth-round pick in 2008, Sitton broke into the starting lineup last year and started all 16 games for the highest-scoring offense in franchise history. A no-nonsense blocker, Sitton's strength is in the run game but he performed well in the passing game, as well. He allowed four sacks and was penalized four times (one holding). He's the line's only true physical presence.

Quoteworthy

Philbin on Sitton: "Josh Sitton, we talked to him about, ‘OK, you've been a rookie, now you've been a first-year starter, now let's really elevate your game to another level.'"

Could be better

Imagine a guard combo of Sitton and Chris Snee. Snee was taken in the second round by the Giants with pick No. 34 of the 2004 draft. The Packers took Ahmad Carroll in the first round with pick No. 25.

Could be worse

None of the guards taken in the 2008 draft have panned out quite like Sitton. That includes the Niners' Chilo Rachal (No. 39), the Bucs' Jeremy Zuttah (No. 83) or the Eagles' Mike McGlynn (No. 109), who were the three selected ahead of Sitton.

On a scale of 1 to 10 ...

With a 10 being Charles Woodson against anybody, a 5 being Mason Crosby from 45 yards and the ball on the right hash and a 1 being Allen Barbre against anybody, this position group rates a 8.5.

This is clearly a position of strength. Young starters who are difference-makers are building blocks for a franchise. If something were to happen to Sitton, the Packers have a quality backup with Lang.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


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.


Packer Report Top Stories