Senior writer jclombardi profiles Packers LG Colledge and rookie RB Nance.
Colledge An ‘Ironman’ Along Offensive Line-–Daryn Colledge is having a solid bounce-back season for the Packers. Whether it requires a visit to the chiropractor, getting a massage, using the training staff when he needs to, or just plain luck, the fifth-year Packers pro is always ready to go. No one on the Green Bay Packers’ roster better exemplifies Mike McCarthy’s mantra of availability and accountability than offensive lineman Daryn Colledge. The fifth-year guard out of Boise State has yet to miss a game in his pro career and is tied with A.J. Hawk for the most consecutive games played of anyone on the Packers. While Colledge has been a whipping boy at times throughout his career through position changes and penalties, his durability has never been in question. Of the 74 straight games he has played in since being drafted by the Packers in 2006, 70 have been starts. He is the only offensive lineman for the Packers to start the last 43 games. Colledge is having arguably his best season after settling down at left guard. The height of his success and his offensive line-mates came against the Vikings returning to face a defensive line in an environment in which they yielded eight sacks, a penalty and a safety a season ago, it gave up only three sacks and committed no penalties and played nearly flawless over the last three quarters of a 31-3 victory. The Packers’ offensive line was recognized by Hall of Fame coach Madden as being the “top protectors” in Week 11, making the unit contenders for the “Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award” at the end of the season. Said Madden, “The Green Bay offensive line has settled into a good groove and is playing as well as they have all season.” Colledge is part of an interior offensive line that has allowed, by unofficial count, just two sacks this season. Colledge has just one holding penalty and has not committed a penalty of any kind over the last three games.
Nance gets his chance: When a player faces his former team, the player usually has some modicum of ill will or extra motivation for the matchup. That won’t be the case Sunday for Green Bay Packers running back Dimitri Nance faces the Atlanta Falcons. “It wasn’t like I left on really bad terms. It was really just a business thing I had to do,” said Nance, whom the Packers signed off the Falcons’ practice squad on Sept. 14 after losing starter Ryan Grant to a season-ending ankle injury. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting to play against them.” It will be especially interesting for Nance now that he’s actually contributing for the Packers. Relegated to largely special teams duty for much of his time after his signing, Nance took over the short-yardage role in the Packers’ backfield last week at Minnesota, picking up a crucial third-and-1 and rushing 12 times for 37 yards in their 31-3 victory. He appears to have taken that role away from converted fullback John Kuhn who did not touch the ball in the game. “Dimitri is doing a great job (and) is going to have an opportunity to play some this week. I know he’s excited to get back down there and play in front of his friends,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Georgia reporters in a conference call earlier this week. “I can’t say enough about him. He came in here and had to learn a new offense with totally different terminology, totally different language and he’s done a very good job. He hasn’t gotten as many opportunities as he probably would have liked at this point, but he’s better each week and we’re going to give him some more opportunities.”
Commentary: LG Colledge’ story is remarkable considering the fact that he was the “whipping boy” for the local fluff Packers press and a notable “who are you nobody?” Packers blogger over the past five years. We can recall the endless negative barrages week-after-week against him by a fluff Packers writer claiming Colledge is just backup talent. If they had their way, LG Colledge would no longer be around on the Packers. From a mature experienced writers perspective, all linemen have their strengths and weaknesses at their line positions. Fortunately, Colledge improved to become a more than average consistent “ironman” lineman in a very good offensive line. Yet, we agree with legendary ex-Packers QB Favre that it should not take that long to develop an offensive line. Games are won in the trenches. Meanwhile, the rookie RT Bulaga has these “veteran” linemen to help through his difficult transition to tough world of pro football. We gotta go to see an amusing prediction for the game day roster! Our fans, they can’t wait! OMG!