Spitz is always willing to do the heavy lifting for Packers offensive line
By LORI NICKELlnickel@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Sept. 9, 2008
Green Bay - Having a guy like Jason Spitz in the weight room is good for the Green Bay Packers because when the tedium of pushing dumbbells around really sets in, Spitz is good for a little "anything you can do, I can do better."
It sounds like a lot of weight, Gullickson said.
So Gullickson started the new leg press off with Spitz. Spitz lifted 800 one week. Then 900. Then 1,000. Two weeks before the season opener against Minnesota, Spitz got it up to 1,110. And not just one press and done.
Jason goes, How many do you want? I said if you can get 20 repetitions here, that would be unheard of, Gullickson said.
He did 30.
That drew some serious attention from the other weight room fanatics.
So he does 1,100 pounds for 30 reps. Just the thought of moving that kind of weight is just incredible, Gullickson said. He needed to rest for a considerable time afterwards because he had really exerted himself.
But now, Allen Barbre wants to see if he can do it. Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, they want to see if they can do it. Those guys that are really strong in the legs, they step up and try to keep up.
In just his third season, Spitz has become more than a weight room phenomenon and the leader of the younger offensive linemen. He has been the go-to guy in a pinch, such as in the season opener Monday against Minnesota, when injured center Scott Wells needed a capable athlete to fill in for him. That was Spitz.
Spitz is your classic put up-and-shut up, tough-guy offensive lineman. Last year he started games at all three interior offensive line positions: left guard, center and right guard. In 26 starts overall he has never settled into one position but rather has filled in for anyone.
Against the Vikings, Spitz showed that although it aint always pretty, it works. Daryn Colledge and Tony Moll had solid blocks to aid a key 57-yard run by Grant in the fourth quarter, but Spitz had to block the middle linebacker, who got the early first step on him. Unwilling to get beat, Spitz pushed him out of the way from behind. It wasnt textbook style but Spitz prevented the linebacker from getting to Grant nonetheless.
And then theres his personality.
Youd never guess that the guy zooming up Oneida St. on his little buzzing scooter, with his posse Colledge and Moll in tow, is the same guy who can play with a little edginess to him, an aggressive quality desired by coaches in a lineman.
The guy is a finisher, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. Our definition of nasty is a guy that plays the game the right way, plays to the whistle, plays hard, works to finish every single play, doesnt take plays off. Some people think nasty is hitting a guy in the back or something (dirty), yeah.
We want a nasty guy to block your guy 10 yards down the field. Thats nasty to us. Jasons a tough guy. No question about it.
Spitz makes a face when asked about his toughness. He has missed only two games in his career but he has battled injuries to his calf, thigh, even a torn esophagus that caused him to vomit blood.
They made a bigger deal out of it than it was, Spitz said. Its our job to go out and play. They make the decision whether you can go or not. Sometimes if you have a real bad injury you cant go. But for me, I didnt think any of those were that serious. Youve just got to push through.
Gullickson simply says Spitz knows the difference between discomfort and injury, and thats what makes him tough.
Hes going to push himself through any discomfort, Gullickson said. He recognizes that when you push yourself to exhaustion, when you train yourself as hard as possible, then the game and practice becomes pretty easy.
Filling in whenever called upon is not always easy, especially when people want to know how a fumble could come out of the center-quarterback exchange between Spitz and Aaron Rodgers on Monday. But Spitz has made himself a utilitarian lineman who has gained a lot of experience in a short amount of time by combining his two greatest assets: his strength and his willingness to be flexible.
Any time you have players that can play a multitude of positions, the more flexible you will be as a team, Spitz said. You have such a limited roster, you have to have guys that are versatile.