2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Hard lessons prepare Green Bay OL for tough job

By NANCY ARMOUR - AP National Writer
    2012-11-14 17:05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Evan Dietrich-Smith hears all the nice things Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy are saying about him and does what he always does.

He gets back to work.

Two years after he was cut by the Packers at the end of training camp and spent most of the season looking for work, Dietrich-Smith has become indispensable in Green Bay. Versatile enough to play any spot on the offensive line, the Packers have so much faith in their main backup that they have no plans to water down the offense for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions despite losing starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga for the rest of the season with a hip injury.

``I'd hope they'd be saying that,'' Dietrich-Smith said Wednesday. ``... I've got to continue to do what I do, which is just go out, work hard, look at the film and just improve every day. Figure out the things you've got to improve on, how you can improve your game, what can you do to make yourself stick around. Because this game is a vicious game. Nothing is guaranteed around here.''

No one knows that better than Dietrich-Smith.

After being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Idaho State in 2009, Dietrich-Smith seemed to carve out a niche for himself with the Packers. He played in 13 games as a rookie, and made an appearance in the NFC wild-card game. Most of his time was spent on special teams, though the coaching staff thought enough of him to use him (albeit briefly) at both guard and center late in the year.

But he didn't even make it out of training camp the next summer, getting waived in the final round of cuts.

``I was kind of going wild and just enjoying being in the NFL and stuff like that,'' Dietrich-Smith said.

Picked up by Seattle, he was released a month later without getting into a game. For the next 2 1/2 months, Dietrich-Smith waited for someone - anyone - to call, vowing he would do things differently the next time he got a chance.

``It's not fun sitting out on the street hoping that one day someone's going to give you a call. Or knowing that you might be better than somebody that's playing,'' he said. ``It definitely clears up your attitude as far as your work ethic and what you need to be doing to make sure you're on the team. Because that's the biggest thing. How do you approach your job and how you're going to contribute to the team.

``You realize this is a job. This isn't something fun like it used to be,'' he added. ``People support their families by doing this job, and there's guys out there that are willing to take your job if you're willing to give it up. So you've got to make sure you're doing something to earn it every day.''

The Packers re-signed Dietrich-Smith on Dec. 31, 2010, and he was on the roster for Green Bay's Super Bowl run, though he was inactive for each game. Last year, however, he played in all 16 games, getting significant playing time after Josh Sitton got hurt in the Thanksgiving game in Detroit. That, of course, was the same game when Ndamukong Suh stomped on Dietrich-Smith's arm, drawing a two-game suspension. Suh later called Dietrich-Smith to apologize.

Dietrich-Smith started the next three weeks at right guard, then was the starting left guard for the Dec. 25 game against Chicago - the only game all year that Rodgers didn't get sacked. Rather than kicking back and relaxing after the season, Dietrich-Smith spent the spring and summer in Green Bay, where McCarthy said he was ``probably one of our best performers.'' Dietrich-Smith continued working at all of the line positions, knowing his ability to plug any hole is what makes him so valuable.

Sure enough, when Bulaga dislocated his hip against the Cardinals, McCarthy never hesitated. He put Dietrich-Smith in at left guard, allowing T.J. Lang to shift out to right tackle. Rodgers wound up throwing for four touchdowns and 218 yards against Arizona. His only sack came in the first half, before Bulaga got hurt.

``I have a lot of confidence in Evan,'' Rodgers said. ``He's done a good job whenever he gets called on, whether it's center or guard. We believe he's going to be a big part of the future of the Packers' offensive line. It will be good for him to get some reps in at the start of the game. He did a good job last week coming in off the bench cold. He'll be ready to play.''

He always is. Dietrich-Smith may have job security now, but he never forgets what it was like when he didn't.

``The past is the past and you've got to grow from your experiences,'' Dietrich-Smith said. ``That's what I felt like I've done. I've been able to take the negatives and turn it into positives. See what you do wrong, fix it and do it right the next time. Like I said, some guys don't get a second opportunity and I'm thankful enough to get one from this team.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

Victor CruzJul 28 02:23p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) is supposedly faster now than he was before he tore his patellar tendon last season, according to teammate CB Prince Amukamara. Amukamara [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 11:53a

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was waived/injured Tuesday, July 28.

Josh FreemanJul 28 10:43a

Free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Dolphins) was re-signed by the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, July 28, according to his agent, Ron Freeman.

Tom BradyJul 28 10:13a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is expected to have his four-game suspension upheld, a source told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Smith said on 'ESPN First Take' Tuesday, July [ More ]

Chris CooleyJul 27 10:42p

Free-agent TE Chris Cooley (Redskins) is still considering a comeback, although he said Monday, July 27, in a radio interview that he does not anticipate a team signing him [ More ]

Josh McCownJul 27 10:32p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown enters training camp as the team's starting signal caller, but head coach Mike Pettine said Monday, July 27, that McCown is not guaranteed of [ More ]

Markus WheatonJul 27 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton is believed to have performed the best among the wide receivers during offseason workouts.

Brandon LaFellJul 27 05:22p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Jadeveon ClowneyJul 27 05:12p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Kevin BrockJul 27 05:02p

Free-agent TE Kevin Brock (Bengals) signed with the New Orleans Saints Monday, July 27.

Matthew TuckerJul 27 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Matthew Tucker (undisclosed) was waived from the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 27.

Da'Quan BowersJul 27 04:52p

Free-agent DE Da'Quan Bowers (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, July 27.

Jonathan MartinJul 27 03:02p

Carolina Panthers OT Jonathan Martin (back) has chosen to retire. Martin will need surgery on his injured back.

Tom BradyJul 27 02:02p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension still has not been announced, and the NFL is now open to talking with the NFL Players Association [ More ]

Doug MartinJul 27 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin could be in line for a big, bounce-back year, in the opinion of beat writer Roy Cummings.

Casey MatthewsJul 27 09:12a

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve due to a hip injury Sunday, July 26.

Casey MatthewsJul 26 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) has been placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury that occurred during the team's offseason program.

Blair WalshJul 26 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings PK Blair Walsh signed a four-year contract extension Sunday, July 26, worth $14 million. The deal includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group