2014 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

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was officially limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, but he threw more than he did than the day prior, [ More ]

Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) completed only 13 passes for 115 yards in the win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Dec. 18, but he didn't show any signs [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group