Saturday's Packers preseason opener was the first time either tackle Derek Sherrod or center JC Tretter has played extensively in an actual game in more than a year, and both players passed the test in coach Mike McCarthy's estimation.

Sherrod kept the pocket clean for his 45 snaps split between left and right tackle against the Titans. After missing nearly two years with a twice-broken right leg, the former first-round pick played only 35 snaps in seven games last season.

"I think Derek, frankly, that might be the best he's played since he's been here, so I thought he definitely took a step," McCarthy said.

Tretter broke his ankle on the first day of organized team activities last year and didn't play in a game his rookie season. Saturday was his first action since his last game at Cornell, a 35-28 loss to Penn on Nov. 17, 2012.

Now slated as the team's starting center, Tretter stayed in after the rest of the starting offensive line exited and played 16 offensive snaps. He didn't fumble any of his exchanges despite a steady downpour at LP Field.

"The ball's the most important thing," Tretter said. "You make sure you secure the snap every play, and then you go from there and get your assignments down. So it was just, if it's going to happen you might as well just get it out of the way and get your first day like that, so it will be a memorable one."

Youngsters impress

After watching the film, McCarthy said he was impressed by what he saw from a number of young players, including center Garth Gerhart, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, inside linebackers Joe Thomas and Sam Barrington, and the first- and second-team secondary.

A seventh-round pick in 2013, Barrington played in seven games last year, but finished the season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Working next to Jamari Lattimore on the second-team unit, Pro Football Focus credited Barrington with four run stops Saturday.

"I thought Sam was pretty much, he was hesitant last year," McCarthy said. "I thought he was thinking too much. You could see the ability. I think he's a lot more comfortable. You can see his instincts."

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