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Lang's Versatility On Display Early In Camp

Although T.J. Lang’s work with the No. 1 offensive line on Tuesday morning was due to an injury and some veterans getting rest, the fact that he lined up at left guard after taking most of his snaps to date on the right side speaks to the versatility the rookie lineman brings. - More Morning Practice Photo Gallery


Although T.J. Lang's work with the No. 1 offensive line on Tuesday morning was due to an injury and some veterans getting rest, the fact that he lined up at left guard after taking most of his snaps to date on the right side speaks to the versatility the rookie lineman brings.

With tackle Chad Clifton and center Scott Wells both sitting out the morning practice as part of their one-a-day schedule as they return from offseason surgeries, combined with left guard Daryn Colledge's absence due to an bruised thigh, Lang found himself at left guard with the first offense.

"There was one play today I was sitting in the huddle and I looked around and kind of took it all in," Lang said. "I saw Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant in the huddle, and it kind of made me smile a little bit.

"Also, kind of within me I knew I kind of had to step it up a little bit and I didn't want to let those guys down. It was fun getting in there with the ones."

Throughout OTAs, mini-camp, and the first few days of training camp, Lang has worked almost primarily on the right side with the second line at both tackle and guard. He said he didn't find out that he would be lining up at left guard until Tuesday morning, calling the coaches' decision a "confidence boost" for him since it was on such short notice.

"We think the kid is a bright kid," said offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. "Background-wise, he's got experience at tackle, he's got experience at guard. We've thrown him around at a couple of different positions. We've been impressed with his ability to grasp what we have been teaching from a schematic standpoint.

"I think his body type is such that he's got enough size and hopefully the strength to play inside. He looks like he has some nice feet that he could block some edge people on the outside."

The 6-foot-4-inch, 316-pound Lang began his college career at Eastern Michigan as a defensive lineman before making the switch to the offensive line prior to his sophomore season.

Lang said he was informed by the Packers coaches immediately after the draft that he would likely see time at tackle and guard, which helped prepare him for OTAs and mini-camp.

"I had that mindset coming in the whole time that I didn't really know what I was going to play," said Lang, who was selected by the Packers in the fourth round. "I tried to get in the playbook and really study every position.

"If I looked just at right tackle and they put me in at right guard, I'm going to be out there kind of lost. Just a little extra studying on my part knowing what everybody is supposed to do."

Lang was accustomed to bouncing around on the offensive line, having started at both left and right tackle in college, but that isn't quite the same as shifting from tackle to guard.

"Right tackle to left tackle was just a matter of switching up your body," said Lang. "Going from tackle to guard you've got to change your mindset because you are going from going against fast, skinnier guys on the outside to big, strong guys on the inside.

"You've just got to practice the same techniques over and over again, especially throughout individual (work). That's a big part of our day. We bust our butts down there in individual making sure you get all of your steps right, and all of your footwork and hand placement right. It's just a matter of consistency, and that's what I am working on now. I know what to do; it's just a matter of being more consistent with it."

{sportsad300}If Lang is looking for any advice on what it is like to play multiple positions, he has no shortage of options with fellow offensive linemen like Colledge and Jason Spitz, two players who have started games at three different spots during their careers.

"Daryn has taught me quite a bit about mindset, just wherever they put you, going in and doing your best," Lang said. "Know what you are doing, get in there and go 100 percent and that's what I've been trying to do. I've just been trying to hustle every play, finish every play, and I think that will show up on film.

"Whatever they tell me to do, I say all right and I'm going to go out there and give it my best."

Although Head Coach Mike McCarthy has spoken throughout the offseason and training camp of his desire to settle in on one line to maintain some stability for the offense, the flexibility Lang offers could provide a nice insurance policy on game days if a starter succumbs to injury.

"I think if I can show them that I can play tackle, right guard, left guard, I think it will help my chance of at least getting a spot on the depth chart," Lang said. "Just because number-wise, if somebody goes down, I want them to feel comfortable putting me in wherever I need to go. So I definitely think I can use that to my advantage."

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