Fearsome Foursome

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The Green Bay Packers will select their starting guards among a deep pool of candidates.

"I think there are four solid guys there," offensive line coach Larry Beightol said. "They're all good workers. They're all physical enough. They're all talented enough."

During Wednesday's practice, four players took turns with the first team. Matt O'Dwyer started at right guard and Adrian Klemm started at left guard before giving way to William Whitticker and Scott Wells at those respective positions.

Beightol announced his deadline for determining the starters as opening day of the regular season on Sept. 11.

The offensive line coach will provide suggestions, but head coach Mike Sherman will make the final call on the starters. Having served as an offensive line coach at Tulane University, The College of the Holy Cross, Texas A&M University, UCLA and the Packers, Sherman has extensive experience evaluating that unit.

Sherman remained coy about the starting guards for Friday's game versus the New England Patriots and opening day of the regular season against the Detroit Lions.

"I kind of have an idea," he said.

Grey Ruegamer, who started 11 games at center last year after Mike Flanagan injured his knee, has fallen out of the mix at the starting guard positions but remains the backup at center.

"We had to have somebody at center," Beightol said. "You have to have a quality guy at almost every spot because if you don't, the guy that's backing up is one snap from being the starter."

Scott Wells is the most recent player to throw his hat into the ring. The second-year veteran started two games at center and received all of his snaps there until a week ago. He played guard against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

At 6-2 and 304 pounds, Wells has a smaller frame and shorter arms than the typical guard, but he compensates with good strength, balance and quickness.

"If you're a technician, you can learn how to get good leverage," Beightol said. "I have no qualms about Scott Wells."

William Whitticker started at right guard and performed well against the Bills and their stout defensive line, which features Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sam Adams. Whitticker could join offensive tackle Mark Tauscher as seventh-round draft picks to start in their first year.

"I've never been afraid to start a rookie," Beightol said.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, O'Dwyer is the oldest lineman on the team. Beightol lauded the strength, toughness and relentlessness of the 11-year-veteran.

"He'll do everything it takes to defeat his man," Beightol said.

On Friday the final candidate, Adrian Klemm, will receive snaps against the Patriots, the team he has played his entire career with.

The Packers will decide between several players who could start on other NFL teams. They have more depth on the offensive line than they have had in recent years.

"We have never had this many guys available to us," Sherman said.

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