Training Camp Report: O-Line Competition Continues

For the third straight training camp, the position group with some of the most intense competition is along the offensive line, with battles likely to continue on for the remainder of the preseason. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 13


For the third straight training camp, the position group with some of the most intense competition is along the offensive line, with battles likely to continue on for the remainder of the preseason.

With starting center Scott Wells sidelined on Monday night vs. Cincinnati with a trunk injury, Jason Spitz slid over to the center position with Daryn Colledge starting at left guard and rookie Josh Sitton at right guard.

After being out for a week and half, Wells returned to the practice field on Wednesday night and reclaimed his starting center spot, so the re-shuffled line featured Spitz at left guard with Sitton remaining on the right side. Colledge worked with the second unit at left tackle with Allen Barbre at left guard.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday night that those five players will be competing for the three spots at guard and center, but didn't put a timeline on when a decision would be made during the preseason.

"I think the way they practice and the way they play the game really answers that question for you," McCarthy said. "Ideally, you'd like to have it yesterday, but that's not the case. So I think those questions will be answered based on how they play."

Spitz entered training camp as the starter at right guard, where he opened seven games in 2007, but Sitton's emergence and Wells' injury led to the shuffle on the line.

McCarthy said he was pleased with Sitton's performance in his debut on Monday night against the Bengals.

"I thought he did a lot of good things," McCarthy said. "He had some things he can learn from, particularly in the defensive movement part of the game. But I thought Josh, for being his first time out there, he's off to a good start."

Spitz, who also started three games at center and two at left guard last season, said Wednesday's switch to the opposite side of the line is not a major one.

"It's really just putting your other hand down and your other foot back," Spitz said. "Obviously the pass protection and your footwork with the run blocking changes a little bit. Last year I bounced around quite frequently and this year I stayed mostly to the right. It's a little bit different, but I think as practice progressed so did my technique."

Wells said the competition will pay dividends for the team this season, as the players become more versatile by getting reps at a couple of different positions.

"In the long run when somebody gets hurt you've got guys that are ready to play because they have had reps," Wells said. "Whoever they decide to put out there, I know they feel that is the best group of guys."

Hawk grounded

Linebacker A.J. Hawk did not participate because of a chest injury that he sustained in Monday night's game vs. Cincinnati and will not be available this week.

McCarthy said Hawk suffered the injury early in the game when he broke up a pass intended for one of the tight ends on third down.

McCarthy did not say when he anticipated Hawk returning, but said if the team was playing a regular-season game this week, Hawk would probably not be able to play.

Brandon Chillar took Hawk's spot with the first unit, and when the Packers worked in the nickel package, Chillar and Nick Barnett were the two linebackers on the field.

Going deep

As the Packers have built up their team by developing players in their system and through the draft, the final roster decisions at cutdown time have become more difficult, perhaps this season more than ever.

"I think every year you make some pretty tough calls," General Manager Ted Thompson said. "I think this year there will be more of them, and I think that's natural as you try to grow your core. But I don't know, one year is different than the next, but they each present problems and difficulties, especially at the final cutdown."

{sportsad300}Thompson said that the Packers will most likely end up releasing players that will have the capability to land on another team's roster, and the final spots on the 53-man roster will probably be determined by a player's ability to contribute on special teams.

"Certainly special teams is a huge factor toward the bottom of the 53," Thompson said. "Decisions you factor how you're going to suit up 45-man, who can contribute, the versatility of different guys, which we try to have in all of our positions."

Schneidman dies

Herman Schneidman, the oldest living Green Bay Packer, passed away at the age of 95 on Tuesday in Quincy, Ill.

Schneidman played back for five seasons for the Packers (1935-39) and was a member of Green Bay's championship teams in 1936 and '39. He returned to Lambeau Field in 2006 for alumni festivities when the 1996 Super Bowl team was honored at the opening game of the season vs. Chicago.

To read a full story on Schneidman from his hometown newspaper, click here.

Injury/participation update

Remaining out were DTs Justin Harrell (back) and Ryan Pickett (hamstring), DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, WR Greg Jennings (knee), S Charlie Peprah (hamstring) and T Orrin Thompson (ankle).

RB Ryan Grant (hamstring) and LB Desmond Bishop (Achilles) were in uniform, but did not participate. They were in pads as part of their rehab work.

Returning to the field Wednesday night were Wells, CB Al Harris, G/C Junius Coston and DT Johnny Jolly.

With Jolly's return, Cullen Jenkins moved back outside to end opposite Aaron Kampman in the base defense, with Jolly and Colin Cole at the tackle spots.

Besides Hawk, new to the list of players sitting out were TE Tory Humphrey (Achilles), WR Brett Swain (quad), WR Ruvell Martin (jaw contusion/mild concussion) and RB DeShawn Wynn (ankle).

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