For the first time since the season opener, rookie Jason Spitz will be back in the starting lineup on Sunday.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that Spitz would start at right guard against St. Louis while fellow rookie Daryn Colledge would start at left guard. Those are the spots those two held at the start of training camp, but Colledge was demoted after the first preseason game with Spitz moving to the left side and a third rookie, Tony Moll, stepping in at right guard.
But then Spitz sustained a severely bruised thigh in the season opener that kept him out of the next two games, putting Colledge back in at left guard. Spitz came off the bench last Monday in Philadelphia, rotating in for Moll at right guard, and has fully recovered now to take a starting spot back, though McCarthy said he would continue to rotate Moll in.
Meanwhile Colledge has played well enough to have reclaimed his original starting job.
"I think Daryn has done an excellent job going from the situation he was in in training camp, fighting back, and he's improved the last two weeks," McCarthy said. "I'm happy with the growth of the offensive line because it's really as they grow as a unit. You can see they're starting to get in sync."
McCarthy said he's seeing continuity particularly on the left side with Colledge and veteran left tackle Chad Clifton. He said Colledge is getting more vocal with the communication between the two, and that's helping both their games.
"I think it's just the comfort," Colledge said. "You get in there for a while and you start being able to see what's going on, you know what's going on, you've worked with the guys and you're more comfortable making a couple calls yourself and you kind of let yourself grow. It's part of being a better player and getting used to it."
Driver still iffy
Receiver Donald Driver, who is listed as questionable on the injury report with rib and hip injuries, missed practice on Friday to have further tests done on his side. McCarthy said Driver was experiencing discomfort, so a closer look at the injury was warranted. Test results were not available at the time of the news conference.
With Robert Ferguson already out with a foot injury, Driver's situation could have a significant trickle-down effect on the receiving corps.
If Driver is unable to play, Koren Robinson would be elevated into the starting lineup in just his fourth game here. Robinson has slowly but steadily been picking up the offensive scheme and has seen his role increase each week. He said he thinks Driver will be able to play, but that he'll be ready if he's needed as a starter.
"I'd be comfortable," Robinson said. "I did all the plays today, and I feel pretty good about my knowledge of the playbook and where I need to be as far as being in Driver's spot. I think I would be able to do what I have to do."
It would also elevate Ruvell Martin to perhaps No. 3 receiver. Martin said he's been preparing to contribute every week even though he's been inactive the last two games.
"That's how you always have to go into every week," Martin said. "That's how the coaches tell us, to take that approach. I'm on the active roster, but they even tell the practice squad guys that you have to prepare every week as though you're going to get the call, because you never know what's going to happen."
McCarthy said moving up a receiver from the practice squad - either Calvin Russell or Chris Francies - is a possibility to provide depth at receiver if Driver is unable to play.
More on injuries
Among other players on the injury report, linebackers Abdul Hodge (doubtful, knee) and Ben Taylor (questionable, hamstring) both missed practice for the third straight day. Generally, if a player does not practice at all during the week he won't play in the game.
Tight end Donald Lee (questionable, knee) returned to practice and is expected to play.