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

Brandon ColemanSep 2 10:03p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandon Coleman has impressed QB Drew Brees during training camp and the preseason. The quarterback said Tuesday, Sept. 2, that he has a great comfort level with Coleman.

Richard RodgersSep 2 09:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers is expected to see more opportunities in the passing game with WR Jordy Nelson (knee) done for the season.

Melvin GordonSep 2 08:23p

San Diego Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown will be part of a committee at running back this season, according to QB Philip Rivers. [ More ]

Randall CobbSep 2 07:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) said he'd be comfortable starting in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears even if he doesn't practice next week. However, wide receivers [ More ]

Giovani BernardSep 2 06:03p

Cincinnati Bengals RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard both finished among the top-16 running backs in point-per-reception leagues last season.

Tom BradySep 2 04:33p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady doesn't look like he'll reach a settlement with the NFL. The league and the NFL Player's Associated have not had any talks regarding [ More ]

Victor CruzSep 2 04:03p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) is doubtful to play Week 1, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Dan Graziano. Cruz has not yet been cleared to practice and did not participate in the preseason.

LeSean McCoySep 2 01:43p

Updating an earlier report, Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) may not be in great 'football shape' once Week 1 rolls around, according to a source. He's not at [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 2 12:43p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) seems to be in some danger of missing the season opener Sept. 13. 'Well we certainly expect him to be ready to go, [ More ]

EJ ManuelSep 2 11:33a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is expected to remain on the team as the backup quarterback. There is growing expectations that QB Matt Cassel will be cut.

Matt CasselSep 2 09:23a

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel could be cut by the team, as they are internally discussing the option.

Joseph RandleSep 2 08:33a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could have 10-15 carries per game with RB Darren McFadden slightly below that, in the opinion of beat writer Drew Davison

Travis CoonsSep 1 11:03p

Cleveland Browns PK Travis Coons edged out PK Carey Spear, winning the battle for the placekicking job. 'Yeah, it was close. I thought both guys handled themselves very well, [ More ]

Nick ToonSep 1 07:43p

New Orleans Saints WRs Nick Toon, Lance Lewis and R.J. Harris were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Randall CobbSep 1 06:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) thinks his sprained right shoulder will be good to go to play in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears in 12 days. [ More ]

James ButlerSep 1 05:53p

Green Bay Packers WR James Butler and TE Harold Spears were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Julius ThomasSep 1 05:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) will undergo surgery on his injured finger Wednesday, Sept. 2, according to a source. Thomas is expected to miss four to five weeks.

Zac DysertSep 1 05:13p

Free-agent QB Zac Dysert (Broncos) was claimed by the Chicago Bears Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Tom BradySep 1 05:03p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will know his fate by the end of this week. Judge Richard Berman said he will issue his decision and order by that time.

Matt BlanchardSep 1 04:53p

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Blanchard was released Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Juron CrinerSep 1 04:32p

New York Giants RB Akeem Hunt (hamstring) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Juron Criner and Derrick X. Johnson and TE Will Tye were also waived.

Robert HerronSep 1 04:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Robert Herron was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Phil TaylorSep 1 04:23p

Cleveland Browns DT Phil Taylor was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Junior HemingwaySep 1 04:12p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Michael HillSep 1 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Michael Hill (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Antwan Goodley and David Porter and TE Brandon Barden were also waived.

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

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