McCarthy talks Collins, offensive line
DANA POINT, Calif. -- Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy was kind enough to step into the Black and Blue late Monday afternoon here at the NFL owners meetings. We'll sprinkle his comments into the blog all week, but here are the newsiest portions of the interview:
McCarthy acknowledged that safety Nick Collins, who is entering the final year of his contract, hasn't yet participated in the offseason program. Collins is hoping to jump-start negotiations for an extension but thus far the Packers have not acquiesced. McCarthy predicted the sides will "work it through" but offered no timetable for Collins' return.
"He's got [the contract] on his mind," McCarthy said. "That's obvious to everybody. It's important, really, in my conversations with Nick, we both agreed you need to separate football from business. And that's what we're going to do here in the near future."
McCarthy said Collins has kept "everybody in the building" informed of his plans.
"What you always ask from players when you have disagreements is to make sure there is constant and open communication. He's done a very good job of that. He's talked with [safeties coach] Darren Perry. He's talked with everybody he's needed to talk to. I've talked to him a couple times."
McCarthy also provided some insight into the evolving situation at offensive line, confirming that free agent Duke Preston visited Lambeau Field last week. If signed, Preston would provide depth at guard and center.
Daryn Colledge is likely to wind up at left guard rather than right tackle, McCarthy said, and Jason Spitz is expected to compete with Scott Wells for the starting center job. Overall, McCarthy reiterated he plans to elevate the competition along the offensive line with the hope that it "will take a big step" in 2009.
"I've said it over and over again and I'm going to say it again," McCarthy said. "I do want to create competition upfront and let those guys do their jobs, and try to get a little more continuity in the way we practice and the way we play."