Center Tretter Is The Latest Casualty For Packers

J.C. Tretter

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy spoke after Sunday’s practice session and announced that center J.C. Tretter suffered a significant knee injury and will be out multiple weeks.  The specific injury was not revealed, nor was the exact timetable for Tretter’s return.

This puts the Packers in the type of bind that many feared could be the case when swing offensive lineman Don Barclay was lost to an ACL injury a few weeks back.  Green Bay will now have to rely on rookie fifth-rounder Corey Linsley to hold down the center position while Tretter recovers.

Linsley becomes the fifth center in the last four seasons for the Packers.  While he has been serviceable during the preseason, Linsley has no NFL experience and will get his first start in week one on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.  With little time to practice with the first team and limited knowledge of the offense, Linsley will get a very stiff test at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

While Tretter also has yet to play in or start an NFL game, he has been practicing and starting with the first unit throughout the offseason and during the preseason.  He appeared to be gaining a good grasp on the offense and was performing well in one-on-one situations both in-game and at practice.  It can’t be discounted that Tretter’s injury creates a big hole on the offensive line.

The domino effect of Tretter’s injury is the likely changes the team will need to make to the offense.  Pass protection with Linsley at center is a concern and this will likely call for the offense to move quarterback Aaron Rodgers around to avoid getting smothered in the pocket.  Rodgers runs and throws on the move as well as any other quarterback in the NFL, but if he’s doing it more often than not, it won’t be as effective.

Tretter’s run blocking seemed to improve over the three preseason games.  How will the run game fare with Linsley at center?  We won’t likely get a preview during this week’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  I don’t expect running back Eddie Lacy to play and if he does, it would likely be for one series, at most.  Linsley will start at center and will likely see extensive time this week.  All have to hope that he can make it out of this game without injury and with some valuable reps to carry him into the regular season.

The Packers just can’t seem to escape the injury problems that plague them year after year.  Already lost for this upcoming season have been running back Johnathan Franklin, wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, Barclay, and defensive lineman B.J. Raji.  Tretter’s injury has not yet been described as potentially season-ending.

The key to surviving a season in the NFL is staying relatively healthy and having quality depth all around the roster.  At this point, the Packers are getting uncomfortably thin in the middle of both the offense and defense.  With Barclay out and Tretter hurting, Linsley now goes from being a nice project that the Packers can bring along slowly to a guy who will touch the ball on every offensive down.

The loss of Raji will likely require second-year man Josh Boyd and undrafted rookie Mike Pennel to step up and play significant snaps this season.

If history is any indication, the Packers woes are probably not finished and they haven’t played a single regular season game yet.  I don’t believe in luck but I do believe in diligent and realistic contingencies.  It’s impossible to have the perfect backup at every position but by now, the Packers should be expecting this type of thing.  If they do and have planned well, we should be praising general manager Ted Thompson and his personnel team come season’s end.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • GBPDAN

    My stomach hurts…

  • Chad Lundberg

    At least it’s not as bad as previously thought. He should be back by October, or so I’ve read. But a win in week 1 now feels like an uphill battle. Relying on Rodgers arm when the run game has looked spectacular would be foolish. Our best chance at this point is to run often and stop Marshawn Lynch IMO.

  • cow

    Season. Over.

    • http://powip.com vermontaigne

      Bleh. Doomsaying. It sucks, of course, but remember all those people who wondered why TT ‘wasted’ a pick on Linsley? And it’s not as though he was a bubble performer before Barclay went down. Let’s admit that it sucks, and not panic. Pennel looks good, Linsley’s been fine, Harris has flashed. Who knows who else might become available through cuts or via trade? They’ve got 2 weeks to get him up to speed.

  • montana83

    Linsley was first team all Big Ten at center and team captain at Ohio State so he’ll do ok until Tretter returns.
    With a 100% healthy team it’s doubtful we’ll beat Seattle in the opener anyway although it would be great.
    Better to have Tretter available at the end the of season.

  • Since ’61

    More proof that pre season games only result in injuries for point less games.
    We’ve lost the middle of our DL and OL and have nothing to show for it. Pre season games = stupidity. The potential domino effect of losing Tretter is getting Lacy or Rodgers hurt. Will it ever end? Very frustrating and unnecessary. Boo! Thanks, Since ’61

    • Charlie

      Always thought preseason was necessary to evaluate talent. How else are you going to do that?

      • Since ’61

        Charlie – Ostensibly yes, preseason is to evaluate talent. Of course the real reason is for the league and owners to line their pockets even further. AS for evaluating talent let’s recap. We’ve played 3 pre season games and we’ve lost a starting TE for an as yet undermined period of time, our starting NT for the season, our starting center probably into October if not longer and an ILB for an undetermined length of time. What have we learned about our talent in exchange for losing these players,. Rodgers, Lacy, Cobb, Nelson, Starks and Dujuan Harris are ready to play, now there’s a news flash. Bulaga is recovered and we still have questions about TE Rodgers blocking and Quarless’ as a starting TE. We still have questions about our young centers but more now with Tretter hurt. On defense we’ve learned that our safeties still need to develop but they appear to be improving. We still have questions about our ILB’s only more now with B. Jones injured. We still have questions about our DL, again more now with Raji lost. Is it worth losing the players we’ve lost to find out what we knew before we played one pre season game. I don’t think so. The league dilutes its product before their show begins for meaningless games and greed. How else can you evaluate talent, with scrimmages for one, reduce contact to as little as possible. If you need to have games cut down to 2 games for only the non-starters. Increase the number of practices. The league is going to do this once they expand and we have 18 game seasons. Of course, by then the league will be so diluted and the rules will have changed to the point where we won’t recognize the game anyway. The current process only gets players hurt on almost every team and dilutes the quality of play by the time the season begins. It’s unnecessary and needs to change. The sooner the better. Until then, Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

  • Sven

    Rewatching Friday’s game. Lindsey looks good. He played against the Raiders first team and looks really good. Don’t lose hope. The more I see of him, the better he looks.

  • http://www.HawgNSonsTV.Com/ Trent Schneider

    Ouch!

  • White92

    Concerned now about depth, but if I recall correctly, some wondered if Linsley had an outside chance of winning the starting job outright after Tretter’s poor start.

  • Mojo

    So now do the Packer need to expose ARod to a number of series against KC so he can get reps with Linsley? If they don’t, they go into Seattle, one of the worst places to hear, with the center and QB having almost no playing time together. Ugh!
    I knew a few weeks ago when someone said how fortunate we were not to have any significant injuries I knew that would be the kiss of death. Just that quickly we’ve lost our most dynamic TE for who knows how long, starting center for at least a month, starting nose tackle and most important backup on the o-line for the year, That doesn’t even include some of the other prospects. As mentioned above, we haven’t even played a regular season game yet. And man is the o-line thin now,
    And Tretter needs to be smarter. He played 45 snaps, most of which were after his injury. I know you have to tough it out in the NFL, but this was just a practice. You’re not doing the team any favors by possibly making the injury worse in a practice game.

    • Jason Perone

      Mojo, that was also me who wrote that way-too-early piece on less injuries. Days later, Abbrederis went down. I knew it would be a good platform for discussion but it did nothing to endear to those more superstitious. Mea cupla!

    • Jeff

      What dynamic TE did we lose? Did I miss something?

  • http://allgbp.com/ Thegreatreynoldo

    “it seemed to me a no-brainer….Surely Ted would be looking to bring in an inexpensive player with real experience at center in case the JC Tretter conversion doesn’t work out…. Only I had no idea how cheap.” April 7, 2014. But at least TT drafted a true college center, albeit in the 5th round. I was less alarmed about center, if a bit nervous.

    “For those still complaining about EDS not being re-signed, this is where the money went. Happy now?” July 26, 2014.

    I am still not happy, but I really can’t blame TT. He apparently was right about Tretter and Lindsey seems to have been a pretty good pick. In any event, looks like we are about to find out about Lindsey, which is a bit unfair to him to be thrown in maybe before he is ready against Seattle in game 1. I just hope I never have to watch Garth Gerhart at center, ever,

    • Archie

      Yes, we have some depth at these positions and Tretter/Bostick will be back. Neither was a factor for GB last year and Raji was worse than a nothing last year soi how much have we really lost? I’m a big fan of Tretter and Bostick and believe they will make us better but I am hopeful the other guys there can hold down the fort. Boyd, Guion, Pennel and maybe Thornton make for an interesting NT by committee. So while no injuries would preferred I don’t think injuries have sunk out boat, at least not yet. If we lose another key player or two, that may no longer be true. The only guys on defense we probably can’t live w/o are CMIII and Daniels. On offense, it is AROD, four remaining OL starters and probably Jordy and Eddie.

      The game in SEA will be a war.