This is the second in a three-part series about “The ones Ted Thompson didn’t want.”
The NFL’s week seven was probably the worst week to head over to my friend’s place to watch the NFL Network’s addicting whip-around coverage known as the Red Zone channel. There were some awful match-ups: Seahawks/Browns, Redskins/Panthers, Broncos/Dolphins.
It got so bad that I found myself watching as the Steelers backed the Cardinals offense up on their own five-yard line.
Seeing a Cardinals lineman false-start, I winced and thought to myself, I’ve seen this before. That’s when I had a second déjà vu moment as the television broadcast focused in on the culprit: former Packers offensive lineman Daryn Colledge. I recoiled and tried hard not to think about that disastrous night the Packers had in Chicago last season.
But I couldn’t help it. There were too many similarities. The Packers backed up on their own goal line, unable to even get a play off as their linemen commit one false start after another. Plus, I was sitting in the exact same spot, at my friend’s place, as I was for the Packers’ penalty fest against the Bears.
I couldn’t help but shake my head and be thankful that TJ Lang is now starting for the Packers at left guard.
But let’s take a look at Daryn Colledge and why he’s not a Packer.
Despite growing up in the cold weather climes of Alaska, Colledge never truly fit in Green Bay. A serviceable pass blocker, his hold on the starting left guard job was tenuous due to his poor run-blocking and a litany of mental errors. Each off-season the last two years before his departure, the Packers coaches made him work to earn back his starting job.
Over the years, and with each passing season in which he had to fight to keep his job, Colledge’s mood continued to sour. He wasn’t happy about it – and neither were the Packers.
Finally the Packers saw their chance to amicably part ways with Colledge during free agency – and they never looked back.
Just last week in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, hall of fame reporter Bob McGinn couldn’t resist disparaging Colledge’s play, saying “Lang punched Ballard off the ball on a successful QB sneak (Daryn Colledge never would have done that)…”
Colledge took his average play to Arizona for a large payday (he just bought Amar’e Stoudemire’s house).
So, how is Colledge doing in Arizona? Has he improved? Has he cut back on the penalties? Fox Sports Arizona had this to say late last month about Colledge “…Daryn Colledge, one of the marquee free agents added by the team, has played average. His mistake in protection last week contributed to an interception. Colledge admittedly has to cut down on the number of mental errors he’s making.” (http://bit.ly/tnogr4)
So, besides Cullen Jenkins and Daryn Colledge, the only other “starter” (by default) that the Packers chose to not pursue in free agency was Brandon Jackson.
Jackson was a running back who was valued for his blitz pickup and pass-catching acumen, both of which were crucial to the Packers offense down the stretch last year.
Grant’s injury last year gave Jackson the opportunity to prove to the Packers that he could be a key cog in their offense. But because of Jackson’s inability to run the ball – the main job of a running back – the Packers chose to part ways with him via free agency.
Jackson landed in Cleveland in what should have been his second chance to prove that he could run the ball. No team has been hit with more injuries to the running back position this year than the Browns. Peyton Hillis is injured, Montario Hardesty is injured. It’s so bad in Cleveland that Josh Cribbs is getting some snaps at running back. So where is Jackson? He got injured before all of those guys and never played in a regular season game.
For the Packers, letting Colledge and Jackson go wasn’t about the money, it was about the production, or lack thereof.