After strong debut, Tretter readies for another test
The conditions were perfect Saturday night for JC Tretter to wash out in his first preseason game in the NFL.
But that didn't happen.
Despite an unrelenting downpour, the 6-foot-4, 307-pound center came out unscathed in his 16 snaps against the Tennessee Titans' starting defensive line during the 20-16 loss to the Titans.
With backup quarterback Matt Flynn under center, Tretter and the Packers' offense marched down the field for an eight-play, 64-yard drive on its first possession. In his three series of work, there wasn't one fumbled exchanges.
"That's your first game, your first game with your hand on the ball and a monsoon – he did a heck of a job with that," said Packers offensive line coach James Campen, who estimated it took a little more than 10 minutes to be completely drenched standing on the sideline.
"I'm glad it happened because you're going to have games like that. It's going to get cold and all that stuff, so he did a very good job."
It was a good test for Tretter, but he'll be in for another this Saturday against the St. Louis Rams, whose defensive front is considered one of the best in the NFL with two former first-round picks, Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald, lurking in the interior.
The Packers have been confident since Day 1 Tretter can do the job even after not playing in a game last season in the wake of a broken ankle he suffered on the first day of organized team activities.
In making a conversion from tackle at Cornell, Tretter's debut at center got off to a slow start in camp. He was bowled over twice by nose tackle B.J. Raji in the first one-on-one drills in camp, but has started to settle in.
"I think JC's off to a great start," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think the Tennessee game was definitely impressive. I want to see him stack success anytime you play well. We're getting ready to play against an extremely talented, very good defensive front, so this will be great work for us."
Campen estimated that the former Ivy Leaguer already has 10 notebooks full of notes from camp. Those credentials are one reason why the Packers felt comfortable allowing Evan Dietrich-Smith to walk in free agency.
Tretter earned praise from Flynn on Saturday night. However, he also understands it was only one preseason game.
"I'm not sure it was the perfect building block, but it was a very good building block to start from," Tretter said. "There's still some things to clean up and a lot of things I need to get better at, but that'll all come. It was a good start. I think it's still a ways off from where I think the finish line is, but for a start, it was a solid beginning."
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