Packers changing centers
Green Bay Former Indianapolis Colts Jonathan Vilma Authentic Jersey President Bill Polian warned in July that center Jeff Saturday, at 37, was in danger of hitting the proverbial wall.
Finally acknowledging, albeit indirectly, what personnel people around the National Football League had been saying most of the season, the Green Bay Packers have benched Saturday and replaced him with Evan DietrichSmith.
DietrichSmith, 26, worked with the No. 1 offense all week as Saturday nursed a neckshoulder problem. But it was left for Saturday to state after practice Friday that the change had been enacted earlier in the Darren Sproles Authentic Jersey week.
“I should be ready to go so I don’t think that really has any kind of factor of what’s happening,” said Saturday. “Obviously, you’re giving a guy a chance to start. I think if ‘Deedy’ plays well, I wouldn’t think they’d go back and make another change.
“We’re at two totally different points of our career. His is Marques Colston Authentic Jersey on the upramp, mine is on the way out.”
No playoffbound football team would remove a center with the alltime intangibles of Saturday entering Game 15 without Curtis Lofton Authentic Jersey being convinced the physical part of the game had passed him by and that DietrichSmith could do the job.
But after trying to play over Saturday’s weaknesses as a run blocker all season, coach Mike McCarthy pulled the trigger when Saturday had five “bad” runs in Jabari Greer Authentic Jersey the last two games.
For the season, Saturday was charged with 18 “bad” runs, six more than any other offensive lineman. Last year, Scott Wells had eight in 17 games.
“DietrichSmith just gives them young legs, no matter what,” an executive in personnel for an NFC team said Friday afternoon. “Whether he’s better or not, you don’t know. They may have the same issue, really. Real small guys.”
Saturday, 6 feet 2 inches and 295 pounds, signed a twoyear, $7.75 million contract March 23 to replace Wells. He started all but six games from 2000′11 for the Colts.
DietrichSmith (62 308) will Roman Harper Authentic Jersey be a restricted free agent in March after his minimumsalary contract expires. He joined the Packers in May 2009 as an undrafted free agent from Idaho State.
“It’s obviously an honor,” said DietrichSmith. “I’ve had two good mentors. Jeff means a lot to me, and so does Scott. Kenny Vaccaro Authentic Jersey I hope I just go out there and make the coaches and everybody proud.”
An ironman throughout his career, Saturday played all but one of 964 snaps at center. For all his shortcomings in terms of speed, strength and balance, he allowed just two sacks and never had a faulty shotgun snap.
Moreover, Saturday was as immune to penalties in Green Bay as he was in Indianapolis. His lone penalty for the Packers gave him a Malcolm Jenkins Authentic Jersey mere 19 in his career.
Teammates called Saturday, who scored 27 on the 50question Wonderlic intelligence test, a worthy successor to Wells, who scored 30, in the mental part of the game.
“I graded out well,” said Saturday. Lang had to move outside. It’s possible McCarthy might have made the switch weeks ago but Will Smith Authentic Jersey was foiled by Bulaga’s injury.
“I have no clue,” said DietrichSmith. “I get paid to play and they get paid to do things upstairs.”
DietrichSmith, who scored 15 on the Garrett Hartley Authentic Jersey Wonderlic, played center, his best position, in training camp and four exhibition games. His regularseason experience at center equates to roughly a half in 2011.
Several scouts said the Packers wouldn’t make the Drew Brees Authentic Jersey switch until DietrichSmith Benjamin Watson Authentic Jersey earned their trust that he could make presnap calls and lastsecond adjustments. He agreed.
“Honestly, I think it’s still going to be a little bit of learning out there on the fly with the guys and getting some chemistry,” DietrichSmith said. “I think that’s the biggest part.”
DietrichSmith, who has yielded three sacks and 4 “bad” runs, also has been penalized five times (three for holding).
“He holds the (expletive) out of you,” an NFC personnel man said in November. “He’s a tough guy now. He’s just going to get Jimmy Graham Authentic Jersey exposed against more athletic, explosive guys. He’s not going to kill you. Decent stopgap guy. Smart. Not overly talented.”
After playing center during high school in Salinas, Calif., DietrichSmith was a fouryear collegiate starter on the left Mark Ingram Authentic Jersey side at tackle and Pierre Thomas Authentic Jersey guard.
In 2008, he ran 40 yards in 5.17 seconds at 297 pounds, benchpressed 225 pounds 30 times and had a Cameron Jordan Authentic Jersey 28inch vertical jump. His hands are small (9 inches); his 32inch arms are adequate for his height.
Center is a critical position in McCarthy’s fastpaced offense that features a significant amount of nohuddle.
“You’re in charge of the tempo, pressing the huddle, getting to the line, getting set,” said DietrichSmith. “Yeah, it’s different, but they feel this is the best option for them.”
Given the fact guard Greg Van Roten, the seventh offensive lineman, is questionable with a back injury and illness, Saturday would be right back on the field Sunday if one Lance Moore Authentic Jersey of the interior players went down.
It’s doubtful Saturday would return in 2013 given his age, performance and $1.4 million roster bonus due on the 30th day of the league year this spring.