There is usually not much to learn about a football team from a preseason game in the NFL. Yet, you can learn a lot about the players that are fighting for a place in the starting lineup or a spot on the 53-man roster. That is what the preseason is about. Players establishing themselves. Teams don’t care about the outcome of the game but they sure as hell care about how their players perform, especially untested ones.
For the Green Bay Packers, one key player who needed to prove himself Saturday Night against the Tennessee Titans was center J.C. Tretter and in his first ever start at center for the Packers, he acquitted himself well.
Tretter, a fourth-round draft pick from Cornell in 2013, made the transition from left tackle to center last season as a rookie but got no regular season snaps thanks to a broken ankle he suffered in OTA’s. Yet, last night, Tretter started and played three series for the Packers at center and more than held his own.
The biggest challenge Tretter faced against the Titans may have been the weather as the teams played in a downpour. But even under those conditions, the second-year man handled himself well and there were no bad snaps. He also did a good job in the running game and had a key block on James Starks 20-yard rushing touchdown on the Packers’ first possession.
“To go out in your first NFL start, and you have to play in a rain storm, I don’t know if we could create a tougher situation for a center,” Packers head coach McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “You couldn’t ask for that. Talking to players, you remember games like that when you were a kid. It was fun to play in that tonight.”
Yes it was only preseason but the Packers have to feel good about the way Tretter played. He proved that the game is not too big for him and that he can handle starting caliber defensive lineman in the NFL. One thing to watch going forward is seeing how much time Tretter will get with Rodgers this preseason but as of now, it appears the Packers have found their starting center.