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Packers may make lineup change at center

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2012 at 9:10 am •  Published: December 22, 2012

McCarthy said center is the best position for the versatile Dietrich-Smith, an undrafted free agent out of Idaho State in 2009. He started 44 games playing four different positions in college but never at center.

"Honestly, I think it's still going to be a little bit of learning out there on the fly with the guys and getting some chemistry. I think that's the biggest part," Dietrich-Smith said. "Comfort-level-wise, yeah, center's somewhere that I feel really comfortable at. But you still in the NFL, the chemistry you've got with the five guys up front, that's a big thing, and I think we've got to develop it out there Sunday."

What Dietrich-Smith has going for him in getting the supposed starting nod at center is the support of Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay's quarterback made favorable comments about Dietrich-Smith earlier in the season, referring to him as the team's center of the future.

"I always take appreciation for him backing me so much, and I've always tried to take advantage of my opportunities," Dietrich-Smith said. "For him to go out there and say he's got a lot of faith in me means a lot to me."

Saturday said it was "disappointing and tough."

"I'm here to play football," he said. "I told coach, I came here to win a Super Bowl. Winning the NFC North is great, but that wasn't why I was here. I looked for more of the postseason. It's disappointing from that side. If coach McCarthy thinks that gives us the best chance to win and go on and do things in the postseason, then that's what it is."

Saturday is under contract for two years, but referred to himself as a "stopgap."

"You're 37 years old. I've been around this thing long enough to know that it's not a long future. I think if (Dietrich-Smith) plays well I wouldn't think they'd go back and make another change," he said.

NOTES: The Packers won't have veteran S Charles Woodson and WR Jordy Nelson for another game Sunday. Both players were ruled out Friday. Woodson, who practiced on a limited basis this week, hasn't played the last two months because of a broken collarbone. Nelson, who has been bothered by a hamstring injury, will miss a third straight game. Woodson spoke after practice Friday and said he isn't sure whether he will have a chance to play in the regular-season finale Dec. 30 at Minnesota to get him some game action before the playoffs. "I don't feel like I have to play in it, but it'd be great to just get out there and play football," Woodson said. DE C.J. Wilson (knee), RB James Starks (knee) and TE Tom Crabtree (hamstring) also are out.