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Wells Snaps Into Action


Emerging from last weekend's game in Philadelphia, you might think the Packers would be hard-pressed to pick out positives from the contest that put them in the loss column for the first time in nearly two months.

One thing that should please those associated with the Green Bay ball club from Sunday's events, though, was the play of some of their young players who saw some rare, extended playing time.

An obvious example of one of the Pack's young players benefiting from getting a chance to take the field was quarterback Craig Nall, who threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes in relief of Brett Favre after the outcome had been decided.

Another player who gained invaluable experience in the game was one who worked closely with both Favre and Nall Sunday afternoon, rookie center Scott Wells. Wells entered the game in the second quarter after starter Grey Ruegamer was forced out with a sprained ankle and played the rest of the game.

The game action was Wells' first taste of work on offense in a regular season NFL game. Since being brought up to the 53-man active roster when Mike Flanagan went on injured reserve in early October, the rookie's lone playing time had come on special teams at Houston.

The former University of Tennessee standout, Green Bay's seventh-round draft choice last April, felt he did fairly well in his first experience in the NFL trenches.

"I did alright," Wells said. "But I have a lot of room for improvement. A lot of the things that I messed up on came from (a lack of) experience, and there's only one way to get experience, and that's through game time. I was kind of thrown into a fire there and I think I responded decent, but not good enough."

The rookie drew a positive review from someone who had an especially close view of his performance - left guard Mike Wahle. Wells marked the third man to line up to Wahle's right in the middle of the offensive line this season, and the veteran guard thought the youngster showed signs of a bright future in facing the Eagles' formidable front.

"You've got to remember it was his first time playing against obviously the best team in the NFC - that's a tough situation," said Wahle. "He made some young guy errors, but you can definitely see the guy has some talent and I think he'll be a very good player in this league."

Though the circumstances that put him on the field weren't what any teammate would ever hope for, Wells said he knew he would be ready when his number was called.

"I've always been confident enough that I could do it, it's just getting an opportunity to go out there and do it and proving it to the coaches so they will put me in," said the 6-foot-2, 300-pound lineman. "It was an unfortunate situation that I had to go in through an injury, but they called on me and I just tried to step up and do the best I could."

Wells' confidence and perseverance played a factor in him even being around to take advantage of this opportunity. A bout with elbow tendonitis forced the young center to miss a week of valuable training camp and was waived on the team's final cut-down before the regular season. He re-signed to the practice squad the next day and continued to work hard to earn his place on the team.

"I guess it was humbling, but I didn't look at it that way," Wells said of being cut. "I looked at it as more of a roadblock. I've always thought I was good enough to make this team. In the preseason, I had an unfortunate injury to myself and missed a week, and Grey was playing exceptionally well filling in for Flanagan, so it was just a tough situation when you've got a guy that's getting that many reps and that much confidence from the coaching staff - it's tough to beat a guy out.

"They told me they wanted to put me on practice squad, so I just waited out to see what all my options were, and my best option was to come back here on practice squad. I figured they drafted me so they obviously wanted me here. They just needed a little more time to evaluate me, so I came back and just tried to stay after it and stay focused and finally got moved back up."

Wells credits another man who played center for the Packers and wore #63 with making his transition from the college ranks to the pros a lot easier, assistant offensive line and quality control coach James Campen.

"James Campen has helped out a lot," said Wells. "He's helped out tremendously. He really takes all of us under his wing, the new guys - me, Steve Morley, Atlas Herrion. He's been that way ever since mini-camp. He really wants to see us succeed, because if we succeed, this program will be successful."

With Ruegamer's status for Sunday's contest with the Detroit Lions still uncertain, Wells looks to utilize this week of practice to be as ready as possible should he be tabbed to take the field again. He definitely anticipates an increased workload from the usual three reps he has gotten with the first-team offense during the week.

"Definitely I'll feel more comfortable, especially after having this whole week to prepare and get reps in practice. When you're a backup, you don't get a whole lot of reps, so it's hard. It's one thing to prepare for a game on paper - it's another thing to actually get the reps physically."

Wells feels he can only get better, and that process began Monday when he and his teammates reviewed the game tape from the previous day's action.

"It's just something that you've got to learn from. We watched the film - I learned a lot from it, made a lot of corrections and hopefully I'll be able to improve on them this week. If they call on me against Detroit, I'll be able to step up."

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