Daryn Colledge

Colledge needs to step up.

Each year in the NFL, the most successful teams do one of two things — they either don’t have injuries, or they overcome injuries.

That’s not to say that those successful teams don’t also have other things in common – they have positive turnover margins, they limit penalties, etc. But without fail, they do one of the first two things I mentioned.

The Green Bay Packers have injuries. The question is whether they can overcome them.

The next two weeks will go a long ways towards shaping the Packers season, and the Packers will be forced to overcome injuries for the next two weeks.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said yesterday that starting left tackle Chad Clifton, the anchor of the Packers offensive line, will be out two weeks with a sprained ankle. That’s a major blow to an already shaky offensive line.

Left guard Daryn Colledge will take Clifton’s place, with center Jason Spitz moving to left guard and backup center Scott Wells replacing Spitz. Colledge was abused by the Cincinnati Benglas Antwan Odom after taking over for Clifton last week.

Colledge’s ability to handle left tackle, a position he played in college, will go a long ways towards determining how well the offense performs the next two weeks.

Similarly, on defense, safety Atari Bigby is out for three more weeks with a knee injury. However, the situation is compounded by the fact that the other starting safety, Nick Collins, may not play this week with a chest injury.

If Collins doesn’t play, the Packers would be forced to start Jarrett Bush and Derrick Martin, who the team acquired in a trade with Baltimore during the final roster cutdown.

The best-case scenario for the Packers is that Collins plays, and the team is forced to start Martin or Bush for only two weeks. The worst case is that the Packers are forced to start both Bush and Martin this week, or longer.

Fortunately, Collins practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday. McCarthy said he’s hopeful Collins will play.

I think Nick Collins is going to do everything he can to play. He was limited today as far as the actual official category he fell into, but he was out there today. I anticipate Nick will play but the week will answer that question.

The main thing the Packers have working in their favor this week is that they play the St. Louis Rams, who sport one of the worst offenses in the NFL. In fact, the Rams have been one of the worst teams in the NFL over the past several seasons.

However, the following week, the Packers travel to Minnesota, where they will be without both Clifton and Bigby.

If the Packers are able to split the next two games and avoid any further injuries, there’s room for optimism. If the Packers lose the next two games, the team is going to start to remind a lot of people of last year’s 6-10 unit. If the team gels, overcomes and wins the next two games, then Packers fans can realistically resume the Super Bowl talk.

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