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Flipping Sides The Job For Daryn Colledge

Posted Jun 3, 2013

Veteran guard moves from left to right to make room for top draft pick Cooper

Daryn Colledge (71) works at right guard during Monday's OTA.

Daryn Colledge’s tenure as a left guard ended the moment Roger Goodell called Jonathan Cooper’s name at the NFL Draft in April.

The conversation with Cardinals’ coaches was short and to the point. A rookie is coming in to play left guard. Colledge had to move to the right side.

The transition, however, hasn’t been as tidy. But reinventing himself as a right guard isn’t the end of the world nor is it the end of Colledge’s career. It’s actually helped the eight-year veteran keep his job.

“I should probably set myself up and say it’s the hardest thing I could possibly ever do in my life. Nobody should be expected to do it,” Colledge said with a wily smile. “That’ll probably be the best way to set it up.”

If he sets it up that way, then he can’t help but excel at his new position. All it will take is relearning how to play guard but on flip mode.

A month into learning his new position because the Cardinals released Adam Snyder, the team’s former right guard and one of Colledge’s closest friends, Colledge said the mental aspect of the transition has been easy but it’s been a slow process to pick up the physical pieces.

“There’re certain things you do out of instinct when you’ve been playing one side long enough,” Colledge said. “Sometimes I take the wrong step. Sometimes I’m learning with the wrong hand. Again, it’s slowly coming. There’re things that I’m getting better at every day and there’s things that I need to focus on and try to improve.”

Colledge estimated it’s been three or four years since he last played right guard as a member of the Green Bay Packers. He’d rotate through positions depending on who was injured, so Colledge had to know all three interior spots.

Which, as it happens, is just how Cardinals coach Bruce Arians prefers it.

“Whether you’re going from left guard to center to right guard, you’ve got to be able to play all those positions,” Arians said. “Especially a veteran of his stature should be able to play all three in a game without flinching. The right guard is probably the hardest switch. It’s easy from left guard to center.”

Arians added that Colledge will also play center during training camp, adding to his apprenticeship at all three interior positions.

At this point in his career, Colledge will do anything to stay on a roster. If the coaches said punt, he’d ask how far and how high – after learning how to punt, of course.

“I think the good thing at my age is anytime that you still have work,” Colledge said. “This is a league built on young guys but if they’re asking me as a vet to be the guy that they trust to make that move, I think that’s good for me.

“They felt I had long enough to learn right and, again, I’m flattered the coaches believe I can do it. I got to go out and prove them right.”

Center Lyle Sendlein will have to adjust to having Colledge on his right instead of his left, but he doesn’t think Colledge will struggle with the move.

“He’s selfless and a team player,” Sendlein says. “He’s the kind of guy that will do anything that’s better for the team. It shows in his willingness to move to wherever they ask him to.”

The move could’ve been worse for Colledge. He could’ve been moved to tackle, which would’ve been a tougher transition, Colledge said, because of the different stance. Or he could’ve been moved to the bench.

For the last month, he’s focused on learning the fundamentals of right guard, making sure he’s using the correct hand and using the proper footwork. He’s seeing progress each practice, but he can’t quantify how much he’s accomplished or how far he has to go until he’s conquered right guard.

“It’ll come slow but it’ll come steady,” Colledge said. “Hopefully by time I hit camp, I’ll be in a good flow.”


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