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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

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The Packers' offensive line has given up sacks regularly in the pre-season.
The Packers' offensive line has given up sacks regularly in the pre-season.

Packers offensive line still looking for stability

GREEN BAY -- The Packers are no closer to resolving their offensive line problems. In fact, after Monday night's practice, they might be further away than ever before.

At the first practice since Saturday night's poor performance in a 34-6 loss at San Francisco, the shuffling not only continued on the line, the problems were exacerbated by center Scott Wells' recurring "trunk" injury -- a lower back muscle injury that caused him to miss the exhibition opener and may force him to miss the third preseason game Friday at Denver.

With Wells out and left tackle Chad Clifton also sitting out, the Packers' front five Monday night at Clarke Hinkle Field were Tony Moll at left tackle, Daryn Colledge at left guard, Jason Spitz at center, Josh Sitton at right guard and Mark Tauscher at right tackle.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Clifton's situation is "nothing major," and Clifton is likely to play against the Broncos since Friday night's game is the most important tune-up before the regular season.

The second unit had Colledge at left tackle, Allen Barbre at left guard, Junius Coston at center, Moll at right guard and Breno Giacomini at right tackle. Moll also worked some at left guard and Barbre saw time at left tackle with the scout team.

"We're going to look at a different rotation because (of Clifton and Wells) not being able to go," McCarthy said. "Daryn was working both left tackle and left guard, Josh Sitton is still at the right guard, and Jason had to play center, so we're still going through that process."

Asked about Wells' injury, which McCarthy said "flared up" in Saturday night, McCarthy said Wells is experiencing pain on the opposite side as before. McCarthy said the medical staff ran tests on Wells Monday, the results of which will be available today.

With Wells' injury and Spitz, who started at left guard against the 49ers moving over, Colledge worked at left guard, his primary position. But Colledge, who played right guard and …

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Brian Brohm (left) and Matt Flynn (right) will be in the spotlight Monday along with Aaron Rodgers.
Brian Brohm (left) and Matt Flynn (right) will be in the spotlight Monday along with Aaron Rodgers.

Packers camp report: What about the other guys?

GREEN BAY -- Being rookies, it's entirely possible that Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn will struggle in the Packers' preseason opener Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field.

But no matter how poorly they play -- not that either one is expecting to stink up the place, given their respective accomplishments in college -- at least they know they'll have to fare better than Aaron Rodgers did in his exhibition debut in 2005.

After all, how much worse can it get than it did for the then-rookie first-round pick?

"Let's see," Rodgers said, shaking his head and smiling. "It rained, my helmet (communication) knocked out, I had to call a couple of my own plays, I completed maybe two passes. So it wasn't the best start."

Especially in comparison to the way starter Brett Favre, who'd completed 9 of 10 passes for 91 yards, a touchdown and a 137.9 rating, had played against the San Diego Chargers. Rodgers, whose second NFL series was interrupted when the headset in his helmet got wet from the rain and malfunctioned, so he couldn't hear the plays being radioed in from the sideline, finished the night 2 for 6 for 7 yards and two sacks for a passer rating of 42.4 before giving way to J.T. O'Sullivan.

Thus, Brohm, a second-round pick, and Flynn, a seventh-rounder, should be able to do better than that -- although coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin expect considerably more.

"Our expectations are high. We can't hold the offense hostage to youth," Philbin said. "We expect our guys to play well. Does that mean they're going to go out there and be all-pros the first time out? No, and we expect them to (continue to) play better in October and December as well.

"The No. 1 thing we want these guys to do is take care
of the football and make smart decisions and manage the game. Do we anticipate that every throw is going to be perfect and right on the money? No. But we expect them to, if there's a protection adjustm…

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Brett Favre watched his new team play Thursday night in Cleveland...
Brett Favre watched his new team play Thursday night in Cleveland...
... after holding up his new No. 4 jersey at a press conference.
... after holding up his new No. 4 jersey at a press conference.

"Closure" doesn't mean "over" for Packers, Favre

GREEN BAY -- While they spoke of "closure" and talked about "moving forward" and putting the "focus on the field," do not allow the Packers' united front convince you that the Brett Favre saga is indeed over now that they've traded the iconic quarterback to the New York Jets for a conditional fourth-round pick.

The truth is, the whole thing's just getting started. It just won't be going on so blatantly right in your own back yard and constantly leading the local newscasts.

Even though Favre and the Packers are separated by an NFL conference (AFC to NFC), half a country (East Coast to Midwest) and divergent lifestyles (big city to small town), you just know everyone in Wisconsin (and wherever else Packer Nation extends) will be monitoring every one of Favre's statistics, victories and defeats and comparing and contrasting them to the success or failure of his replacement, Aaron Rodgers.

It is against that backdrop of reality the Packers' braintrust of general manager Ted Thompson, coach Mike McCarthy and president Mark Murphy set about moving on from one of Wisconsin sports' ugliest moments in history.

It wasn't easy.

"When the trade papers actually came and I was going to sign (them), which would be my job, I almost wanted someone else to sign," Thompson confessed.

But sign them he did, and with the stroke of his pen, Favre's record-setting 16-year run with the Packers was over. That, in turn, led to the obvious first question of Thursday's press conference, of whether Thompson is comfortable with that the idea of being the man who traded Brett Favre, just as Ken Herock and Jerry Glanville were in Atlanta in 1992.

"No," Thompson replied. Then, he added, "I don't think anybody would be comfortable with that. This is in many ways sad that this is where it came to. At the end of the day though, I think all parties involved felt like it was the best solution to a very difficult situation. Hopefully we can do things going forward that…

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Brett Favre has gotten all the attention, but there are other stories at Packers camp.
Brett Favre has gotten all the attention, but there are other stories at Packers camp.

Away from the Favre circus, camp continues

GREEN BAY -- One of the better stories of camp that you haven't heard much about -- thanks to Favreapalooza -- is that of rookie offensive lineman Josh Sitton.

With center Scott Wells sidelined with a lower back injury and would-be backup Junius Coston struggling to reacclimate himself to the position after playing it in college, the Packers have revamped their offensive line temporarily by moving right guard Jason Spitz to center and bringing Sitton, a rookie fourth-round pick, in for Spitz on the No. 1 unit.

Sitton, in turn, has forced himself into the fray for a starting spot, according to McCarthy.

"Josh has taken full advantage of his opportunity. That's why we're going to give him an opportunity to compete and win the right guard position," coach Mike McCarthy said between practices Wednesday.

Sitton has been so impressive that Spitz is now in a three-man battle with Daryn Colledge and Allen Barbre for the left guard spot as well as competing with Sitton to hold onto his right guard job.

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said Sitton's poise belies his inexperience.

"He doesn't act like a rookie. You don't see guys running through a gap and him turning his head around wondering what happened. He seems like he gets it," Philbin said. "This coaching stuff's overrated. He's got some natural football instincts that you like."

Sitton, who was a starter for most of his four years at Central Florida, said his goal was simply to make the roster -- even though he's clearly beyond that. But he also expected to perform well.

"I'm not surprised. I know what I'm capable of. I'm very confident in myself as a football player," Sitton said.

"I respect the level of competition at this level, and I realize that everyone is great here. But, I'm also very confident in myself, and I know what I can do. If I put my mind to it, I know physically and mentally I can do it."

Safety dance: With backup safeties Charlie Peprah and Aaron…

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