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Mark It Down: Colledge Will Surprise

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Mark It Down: Colledge Will Surprise

Interesting piece from Lori Nickel in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about seemingly perpetually-embattled left guard Daryn Colledge. Mostly a recap of what we've read already about Colledge, the piece is notable for the inclusion of the following from offensive coordinator Joe Philbin when asked about Colledge's claims that the offensive staff's constant shuffling of the offensive line in general, and movement of Colledge in particular, led to Colledge's uneven play last season:

We could sit here and say, 'Well, he had to play left tackle for two weeks, and that's why he didn't play well at left guard' And I'm not sitting here saying he didn't play well at left guard. But the fact of the matter is, in the National Football League, you dress seven guys; sometimes guys have to play different positions.I think in his vault, he has probably 2,500 reps or maybe 3,000 reps at left guard even going in to last year. I don't know if we can knock our offensive staff around for moving guys: 'Oh my gosh, we can't get guys in the same position.' I don't know if that's a valid argument in that particular case.

Moving T.J. Lang out to left guard and left tackle as a rookie, and not ever being a starter - there may be some merit to that. And I'm not saying Daryn Colledge didn't play well at left guard. That's not the case. However, when push comes to shove, you've been in the league 3½ years; I mean, that's not a valid reason to me.

I agree with this for the most part. That being said, the musical chairs on the offensive line during McCarthy's tenure has been ludicrous. Now, I would contend that most of that is on Ted Thompson - he just hasn't provided McCarthy and company with many good players, at least not up until the last few years with the additions of Sitton and Lang, and hopefully Bulaga and Newhouse. The staff seemed to recognize how good Sitton was immediately, naming him the starter at right guard his rookie year before he was injured in the preseason. Of course, they turned right around last year and wiffed on their evaluation of Lang, so who knows...

Of course, Colledge seems to be mounting a challenge to Jarrett Bush for the title "Packer Player That Packer Fans Love To Hate". Perusing fan sites, whether it be blogs or message boards one thing is clear - fans are sick of Colledge...mostly because they've made up their minds that he "sucks" as a player, which could not be further from the truth.

Yes, he has lapses, sometimes at the worst possible times. For instance:

I mean, that is just about the saddest excuse for professional football you'll find anywhere.

However, while fans are quick to remember plays like the one above (or the infamous second-to-last play in the Arizona playoff game) they are just as quick to forget the many, MANY good plays Colledge makes throughout the course of the season. I've touched on it before, but here's some visual evidence as well:

This is just the kind of play that fans wipe from their memory banks the moment its over. Incomplete pass. Bring on the punt team.

But what they fail to recognize is the superb job Colledge does against Haloti Ngata in his one on one matchup. It's 3rd and long and Colledge wins. And overall Colledge wins more than he loses, whether you believe it or not.

The two clips illustrate, at least to me, how much it is a mental thing with him. In the first clip, not only is he lazy with his footwork, allowing his weight to get too far back, but he's late recognizing the stunt and reacting to it.

That's all mental.

Now, did he struggle, especially early, in 2009? You bet. And even when he 'righted the ship' so-to-speak his performance was still uneven. But I think it's clear that Colledge is a much more cerebral player than your average offensive lineman and whether he should have been effected by all the moving around or not, I think his confidence definitely took a hit when he bombed at left tackle and he never really got himself together. This, after a training camp when he was handed his starting job.

Compare that to 2008, when Colledge entered the year supposedly in competition with Alan Barbre for the left guard position. Yes, Barbre didn't provide much in the way of an actual fight, but Colledge was made to focus and fight for his job and, by doing so, produced his finest season as a pro. I think he is set to have another good year after what will no doubt be much stiffer competition from not only Jason Spitz but possibly rookie Marshall Newhouse.

But in the end, I expect Colledge to not only win the starting left guard job but to excell at it.

And yes, please feel free to bookmark this and throw it back in my face if I am wrong. ;)

Comments (44)

FITZCORE1252's picture

"I expect Colledge to not only win the starting left guard job but to excell at it."

'If' he can be a key contributor to a SB run, so-be-it, go get 'em Daryn. I have my doubts. 'IF' Spitz's back holds up, I think the job is his. Can't wait 'till camp.

GBP 4 LIFE

FITZCORE1252's picture

"This is just the kind of play that fans wipe from their memory banks the moment its over."

Yep, sure is! I don't take mental note of every time an O-lineman DOES HIS JOB. Sure some plays stand out, but for the most part, NAH.

Especially when plays that you yourself deem - "I mean, that is just about the saddest excuse for professional football you’ll find anywhere." - are fresh on the mind, when thinking of Daryn. How many 'good' plays does it take to erase that POS from your memory?

Do you remember Trey Junkin? One of the best longsnappers in NFL history. Ask me what I and probably everyone else in America remembers him for.

O-lineman, Longsnappers... these are positions that are expected to do a job, a thankless one, but they know what they're signing up for. The only time we notice these guys is when they get their QB murdered or roll a ball back to the Punter. That's the way it should be.

packeraaron's picture

"That’s the way it should be." - sure, if you want to be an uniformed fan. More power to you.

FITZCORE1252's picture

LOL. Really dude? You really went there, interesting.

I'll tell you the same thing I told your boy CSS... I respect your takes, but I am in no way in awe of what you bring to the table, your overall football takes, or Packer takes. Like I said, I respect them, but I've yet to read anything earth shattering/ground breaking. You, just like 95% of the people who post here are well informed fans and generally know what you're talking about. I'm well aware I'm wrong my fair share, but I've yet to find a 'football person' that I can't hang with inside and out... that includes you. Get over yourself.

That being said, I enjoy 'your' site and appreciate the hard work you guys put in. But, I'm in no way about to 'bow down' to you and your apparent self proclaimed (Informed fan)knowledge. If that's a problem lemme know... I'll walk.

P.S. - You're picture looks like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm949131264/ch0026371

GBP 4 LIFE

graham's picture

somebody is a little sensitive today! the game of football is won in the trenches we all know that. also there is not much room to see stuff happen in there and we all just pay attention to the ball anyway. after all the football is important.

however a really informed fan goes back and waches the game again and waches the individual players. thanks aaron. do you really think the www would be any different without you? you think anyone would noticed if you 'walked'? get over yourself you are not that terribly important to the whole operation here!

packeraaron's picture

FITZCORE1252 - what on EARTH are you talking about?

You write:

You, just like 95% of the people who post here are well informed fans and generally know what you’re talking about. I’m well aware I’m wrong my fair share, but I’ve yet to find a ‘football person’ that I can’t hang with inside and out… that includes you. Get over yourself.

Seriously? What in the post above or in my ONE SENTENCE response to you makes you think I need to 'get over' myself? I constantly acknowledge I am no expert and that all of us are hobbyists when dealing with the game of football. I'm sorry my quip about being 'uninformed' sparked such a response but it is telling.

You and a few others have said that Colledge is just "doing his job" when he blocks his man. That may be so - but the rhetoric around Colledge would make one think he NEVER 'does his job' which is just bullshit. The guy is uneven, but he CAN play. And I THINK given the opportunity to focus on his job, he will get it done.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Graham said:

"do you really think the www would be any different without you? you think anyone would noticed if you ‘walked’?"

Probably not, never said that was the case at all. You see, I realize I'm just another guy with a take, everyone's got one. To me one guys take isn't more important than the next (me included). And while I may not agree with another take, it doesn't mean the guy's "uninformed". Maybe he's just coming from another angle.

Graham said:

"however a really informed fan goes back and waches the game again and waches the individual players."

Graham, I have every Packer game from '98 - to present either on VHS or DVD (all kept far far away from my home of course, so don't bother Goodell), I usually re-watch a game several times in the off-season. I've forgot more Packer football than you'll ever know, BELIVE THAT.

I said:

"O-lineman, Longsnappers… these are positions that are expected to do a job, a thankless one, but they know what they’re signing up for. The only time we notice these guys is when they get their QB murdered or roll a ball back to the Punter. That’s the way it should be."

Sure I appreciate good line play as much as the next guy, BUT, "BY-IN-LARGE" what I said is a fact. And you know this.

Oh and Graham, I'll continue to gloss over your posts until I get to something worth reading.

GBP 4 LIFE

PackersRS's picture

Aaron, you politely called Fitz a moron... How did you want him to react, exaclty? He overreacted a bit, but it wasn't uncalled for...

packeraaron's picture

Huh? Where did I do that?

PackersRS's picture

Colledge will surprise by being traded???

Gee, that'd be swell.

No, but really. Fans were bothered about Colledge way before the infamous "radio interview".

When you talk about him doing more good than bad as a OL, but still struggling sometimes, well, you're describing an average OL.

Fans don't diss Sitton. Why is that? Yeah, because he's very good. You see, he not only has more good than bad times. He rarely has bad times. And not only that, he sometimes dominates. Colledge doesn't dominates. We're happy when he's able to contain his man. Which would be great, if he did it in a consistant basis, and not "more often than he doesn't"...

If Colledge actually plays like he speaks, I'll be the happiest man on earth. But I don't see it. I think he'll always gonna have that "the saddest excuse for professional football you’ll find anywhere." moment.

And you know what's worse? Because it's Colledge, it's gonna happen in the worst time possible.

FITZCORE1252's picture

RS, man, you are a breath of fresh air.

"We’re happy when he’s able to contain his man."

Exactly. And that's sad. I'm sorry, but I EXPECT that. Should we stand up and cheer every time he does what he's paid to do? Maybe I'm missing something, luckily I have an excuse, I'm an "uniformed fan". Just ask Squiggy, he'll tell ya. LOL

packeraaron's picture

Again - where did I say we should "stand up and cheer" when he does his job? How about just acknowledging it? That's a start...

PackersThad's picture

I don't think the problem with Packers fans re: Colledge, is that we don't acknowledge that he does his job, I think the backlash started when he SEEMED (my emphasis added) to start the offseason off thinking that he was an integral part of the offensive line, and he should be paid/treated accordingly. Conversely, Packers fans just think of him as a dude a part of an OLine that needs a big improvement. Yes, Colledge works fine for now, but in the grand scheme of things, he can do SOOO (my empahsis added) much better with his play, and if not, the Packers can do SOOO much better in finding a replacement.

nerdmann's picture

1: I think Colledge will be all right. I think getting switched to LT without any practice time (they wanted to avoid "musical chairs") got into his head. Good thing it didn't get into Lang's head.
2: TT has gotten MM what MM has asked for. MM was asking for "smaller, quicker" linemen. Well guess what. Those guys suck. Ever since MM has been asking for the bigger, stronger guys, guess what. We've been getting some much better offensive linemen.
3: I agree that Colledge will bounce back and be a player. But I still think he will be challenged by Newhouse. Possibly even beat out by Newhouse.
4: I should have copyrighted the phrase MARK IT DOWN. Heheh.

FITZCORE1252's picture

RE: #2

Could not agree more. Our O-line seems to have went from an area of concern to an area of considerable depth and talent in a relatively short time. The future looks to be bright there.

RE: #3

Are you intentionally discounting Spitz in the LG battle? If so, why?

GBP 4 LIFE

BigSnakeMan's picture

You're right about one thing. If Colledge is anywhere near the starting lineup, I will be surprised. And if that happens, I'll be even more surprised if they go anywhere in the playoffs.

packeraaron's picture

You mean like in '07? ;)

maxginsberg's picture

Colledge has to get off to a better start than last year. If not, he'll be benched in his first game. TT has brought in some players to make for a good training camp battle and to give the coaching staff some options if *any* of the offensive lineman falter.

CSS's picture

This is the most legitimate depth at the gaurd position that I can recall with the Packers (especially when/if Bulaga eventually gets into the mix, I doubt they can keep him off the field). Excellent depth = excellent competition in camp. I expect whomever rises to the challenge to have an amazing year.

Look at it this way, every other team in the NFC North would kill to have even the 3rd or 4th interior lineman competing for that gaurd position on their roster. Nice problem to have...

FITZCORE1252's picture

"Excellent depth = excellent competition in camp. I expect whomever rises to the challenge to have an amazing year."

Couldn't agree more.

dgtalmn's picture

Wow the blog is alive today! My uninformed guess is that we'll see a different O-line this year with many surprises. I only hope it is not a year of musical positions again.

TT seemed to realize the issue since we now have some good O-line pick ups this year. Training camp will be full of position challenges and that will be good for the Pack.

Ron LC's picture

I take a position different than just about everyone here. Niether Cllodge or Spitz after 4 full years has made the necessary move to becoming a fully competent Olineman. I have seen nothing that shows the people that they play against have any respect for them. When that happens, I'll be encouraged.
_____
If this year, one or the other or both make that move, I'll be in heaven. In the meantime there is sparce evidence, other than pre- season PR that lends support to that concept (Isolated plays do not evidence make). I guess we'll see, won't we?

PackersRS's picture

It's not different than mine.

I do think, however, that both can be adequate, in a solid OL that has chemistry.

And I do think that a line composed of Clifton, LG, Wells, Sitton and Tauscher is solid, specially with Bulaga, Lang as backups...

dilligaff's picture

Colledge is what he is. Last year was a big year for him with his contract expiring. That was his year to shine, with years of experience under his belt, he was playing for that big second NFL contract and his stats and production speak for themselves.

Colledge is not going to get any better, he may not be as bad as everything that has been said about him, BUT THE PACKERS NEED AND CAN DO BETTER.

IMO offensive lineman have to be consistent, much better to be consistent than to at times dominate at irregular intervals. A good lineman is consistent and boring, like Sutton. He may not be blowing people up at times, but is consistent at what he does and makes few mistakes.

Colledge makes too many mistakes, kind of like Bishop, he shows well at times but is prone to give up that big play which you can not do at the NFL level, even more so come playoff time.

PackersThad's picture

Agreed in full!

CSS's picture

Interesting when you go to Pro Football Focus and compare the fan revered (I believe he’s been declining for years) Steve Hutchinson’s overall numbers:

http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2009&...

Against College’s overall numbers:
http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2009&...

Interestingly, College was the superior run-blocking guard (despite having Peterson, who actually makes the Viking line look better than it is) while Hutchinson was superior in pass pro. However, take out College’s stats from his embarrassing stint at left tackle and he was very consistent in pass pro as well. I wonder if Viking fans are calling for Hutch’s head???? They played almost the same schedule, though I admit this isn't a perfect analysis by PFF.
(Article in Acme Packing Comp. today inspired the look-see.)

PackersRS's picture

VERY interesting.

But then again, when you compare them with Sitton (http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2009&...), you see what I'm talking about. And with a true elite guy in Evans (http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2009&...) it's not even close.

So, Aaron is right. The perception of Colledge is that he's a bum, which he's not. But he's not, but any means, a good LG. Average at best.

CSS's picture

To be fair, I think Sitton will garner All Pro consideration this year and is in a different than many NFC gaurds. Evans, he's in his own class and rare.

That being said, just looking at the casual fan perception that Hutch is awesome and College is a bum. I would like to see what College does under the gun with so much scrutiny this year.

CSS's picture

Meant to say 'tier' after 'different' behined Sitton's reference.

dilligaff's picture

If Colledge is so good, then why with no injuries and being a young man in the NFL no team was interested in him for a second round pick?

I think there is a lot of hope and wishful thinking going on here.

packeraaron's picture

Which RFAs have been traded this offseason? One. From NO to PHI. One. It's not Colledge...

wgbeethree's picture

And that player, Mike Bell(?), was only tendered as with ''a right to first refusal''. ZERO ''pick tendered'' RFAs were signed away from their teams this year.

Asshalo's picture

What do you call Brandon Marshall trade? Not sure that stat is correct.

There has been and is demand for colledge and GB isn't going to cut him. It makes sense for him to be traded closer to the season, if a team suddenly finds themselves needing a guard.

Oppy's picture

According to Bedard and Wilde (if I remember correctly), there has been and is demand for Spitz, more so than Colledge when it comes to outside interest.

Apparently, other teams have knocked on GB's door asking about Spitz' availability in trade scenarios... So, it is also conceivable if Colledge plays well in Camp and outright wins the job... And Newhouse looks promising.. And Wells/EDS both look solid.. That Spitz is the guy who gets dealt.

Don't think it will shake out like that, but there is definitely the framework for it to occur.

PackersRS's picture

Hutchinson in 08: http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2008&...

Colledge in 08: http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2008&...

Hutchinson in 07: http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2007&...

Colledge in 07: http://profootballfocus.com/by_player.php?tab=by_player&season=2007&...

Hutchingson is declining, but he was once an All-Pro. Colledge had 1 good year (08, where Hutch was much better) and that's it.

CSS's picture

The interesting thing you can't compare (unless you watched oodles of film) would be how the left tackle position assisted both. They're like opposites, really. McKinnie was a mauler in the run game but crap in pass pro. Clifton was very good in pass pro but crap in the run game.

Adrian Peterson makes an average line look good (though superman is now struggling to even do that with a bad Vikings line); whereas Ryan Grant leaves yards on the field.

Makes you wonder if College hasn't been underrated in his run blocking and just 'average' in pass pro?

Curious....

Oppy's picture

1) Pretty much every time Colledge has been 'under the gun' after playing poorly enough to warrant perhaps looking to another player to fill the LG position, Daryn has stepped up to the plate and did what he needed to do to keep the job. I expect he'll fend off the competition for the most part, though I think Spitz will give him a serious run for the money.

2) I have always found the variance between the general fan perception and the data(or testimonials) to be both interesting and bewildering. Examples: public opinion on Grant vs. his production, or some fan's ideas on Ted Thompson's supposed egomania vs. how he's characterized by people who actually have dealt with him or know him personally.

CSS's picture

Well dilgaff, I never said he was 'so good.' I'm just referencing stats and begging the question.

Also, there has been almost 'zero' movement anywhere on tendered players, just trades. I don't know that you can say, 'if he's so good why hasn't he been offered elsewhere.'

Who has?

dilligaff's picture

CSS, you bring up good points. If Colledge was in the same legue (talent level) as Hutchison, I would have thought more teams would have shown interest.

IMO its not talent thats the problem, but consistancy. To be a good lineman you can't take plays off, consistant and boring is the name of the game.

ZeroTolerance's picture

College is a good player and we should be happy we have him. I keep seeing the ranting from our base, but truth be told, and you Aaron pointed it out, he is a very good player. What was the offense last year? Number two or something. Keep building the line, yes, provide competition, yes, and the best 7 will dress and the best 9-10 will make the 53. Colledge will be there this year, in the end.

Asshalo's picture

Not that bold of a prediction, though it's well defended. He's had good seasons in the past (2007) and newly added depth of the o-line should help his focus.

Also, don't be surprised if Colledge dealt closer to the season. If Spitz proves he's starting caliber and newhouse proves to be a viable back-up suddenly the team has a good problem. T

IPBprez's picture

This whole diatribe is as slanted as it gets. I see no one bringing video implants to this blog about his extremely poor play - decision making skills absent - when we played Minnesota both times last year. That type of process as a Guard is unforgivable. What's more this has been ongoing since Day One. His only saving grace is James Campen, and by extention, Joe Philbin (both suspect as Offenseive Coaches) seem to like the guy on a personal level - now that they have invested some time with the guy they only care about saving face. It's pathetic and reminds me of Ross Verba. Only then, we had an O-Line Coach that knew what he was looking at and dealt with it on the spot.
Anyone rooting for the guy is in for a serious disappointment and the rest from GBP is all hype.

packeraaron's picture

Right.

lebowski's picture

Everyone seems to be forgetting that defensive linemen have a job to do too, and once in a while they win.

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