Colledge Makes Clifton Decision Difficult

Mike McCarthty, when asked about possible changes on the offensive line:

I want to get healthy there. That's the thing. When you talk about health, and you've heard me say it here time and time again, there are no excuses when it comes Sunday, but the thing about being healthy is it kind of runs through your whole program. The way you practice, you've got line, linebackers playing tight end, things are just not as clean as you would like. It's no different for the offensive line. Chad is having some medical issues and we're trying to get him over that, so with that that you are working a different five. I just really want to stay clean to the approach we are having them because the guys that are being challenged are Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge because they are playing positions during the week that they are not potentially playing in Sunday. So we've just got to keep repping those guys and try to get the continuity there that we really haven't had since training camp.

You hear it all the time - the most important thing on the offensive line is continuity. The Packers line has been the polar opposite. Different bodies from game to game, indeed, from practice to practice. McCarthy would definitely like to sit Clifton this week and possibly next week and then head into the bye so that Clifton can get three full weeks of rest for his hamstring and the offense can have the same five guys play in the games that practice together all week.

The problem, of course, is Daryn Colledge. Corey and I have both been exceedingly critical of Colledge and his play, but he has definitely shown major improvement so far this year in almost all phases of the game. His biggest challenge, however, remains the same. Colledge is prone to having one absolute killer mental lapse per game. I mean, it's a Lead Pipe Lock. The kid has one play in every single game where he just completely misses an assignment or gets caught flat footed or allows instant pressure. And they always turn into drive killing, if not game changing, plays. This past Sunday was no exception.

When Clifton went out and I saw Colledge in at left tackle, I assumed the game was over. All I could remember were flashes of his performance against Miami two years ago when Clifton was out. 'Nightmarish' is a charitable way to describe his performance in that game. (In his defense, he was lined up against Jason Taylor most of the day) Last Sunday, he was handed the assignment of blocking, mostly without help, the Falcons' John Abraham, who is having a  Defensive-Player-of-the-Year-type season. And shockingly, Colledge was up to the task. Snap after snap, Colledge used good leverage and occasional power to keep Abraham off of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

But then.

Colledge had one of his horrible, once-per-game mental breakdowns, completely whiffing on Abraham and allowing him to crash inside and flush Rodgers out before the quarterback could even complete his drop. Rodgers, almost in the grasp, threw the ball away, but was no where near outside the tackle box. Intentional grounding was called and a 2nd and 7 became a 3rd and 19. Rodgers was intercepted on the next play.

The interception, of course, is not Colledge's fault. But it illustrates how his breakdown at the worst possible time put the offense in a horrible position and greatly affected the outcome of the game. He had these mental lapses almost every game last year, including so many in the Dallas game that he was benched. (Funnily enough, his breakdowns also contributed to two of Favre's most brilliant plays last year - the 54 yard touchdown to Jennings against the Chiefs and Favre's last great improvisational play as a Packer, the shovel pass to Donald Lee while falling down in the snow against Seattle) Colledge simply MUST maintain his focus throughout all four quarters of each game if he is to fill in for Clifton for any amount of time.

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Comments (2)

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Alex Tallitsch's picture

October 09, 2008 at 05:23 pm

It will be nice when we get to see what Sitton can do as well.

On a side note, I went to Packer World and was searching for a certain blog and did not see it. I did see one for Jarrett Bush though. Hmm.

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cheese5's picture

October 10, 2008 at 01:19 am

Packone...u r sooo right. But I just looked and lo and behold- a really good packer blog just made it to the Packer Blogosphere as well as Packer World Main page. How do u like the prime real estate- well deserved :)

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