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J.C. Tretter is Being Handed Packers Starting Center Job

J.C. Tretter

As we expected, the Green Bay Packers are more or less handing the starting center job to 2013 fourth-round pick J.C. Tretter.

The Packers let last year’s starting center, Evan Dietrich-Smith, walk away in free agency. He signed with Tampa after the Packers showed no interest in retaining him and we all said now what?

Although there’s going to be some form of token competition in right tackle Don Barclay (who’s going to get replaced as a starter by Bryan Bulaga) and right guard T.J. Lang, the job is clearly Tretter’s to lose. And yes, Lang’s name has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Dietrich-Smith by the coaching staff.

Had Tretter not broken his ankle the first time he put on a Packers uniform, he would have gotten an opportunity to compete with Dietrich-Smith last year. From the sound of it, coach Mike McCarthy thought he would have beaten out the veteran too.

“Good question,” McCarthy said when asked if Tretter might have been the starter last season if he had stayed healthy. “We obviously were very excited about him when we drafted him.”

Much is being made of the kid’s work ethic and he obviously has the smarts — he went to Cornell. However, it hasn’t always worked out so well when the Packers just hand a starting job over to a guy.

Nick Perry comes immediately to mind.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Abe Frohman March 28, 2014

    I think you have to read all of those comments with a cynical eye. To say Tretter would have beaten out EDS just might be some revisionist history. He’s trying to prop up a guy who’s never played in the NFL. Maybe that’s to mess with other teams for the draft. Maybe it’s to give them better negotiating leverage with McGlynn. Who knows? The fact that he said it doesn’t mean much.

    1. Phatgzus March 28, 2014

      That is all possible, but MM is generally man of his word and won’t expressly lie, if he didn’t believe in Tretter, he may have just avoided answering the question (see: The Aaron Rodgers Injury Saga).

  2. the real russ letlow March 28, 2014

    I still believe we pick up a 2nd tier free agent and draft a center too ( the kid from Arkansas in the 4th?). Pre – preseason depth charts don’t usually mean jack squat.

    1. TyKo Steamboat March 28, 2014

      Travis Swanson…yea, but I think he’ll be drafted in the late 2nd/early 3rd.

  3. Iltarion March 28, 2014

    Nothing wrong with Nick Perry, if the guy could stay healthy.

    Some other players come to mind- Jerron McMillian and MD Jennings.

    The Pack refused to name a starter, and the two were ever an anon in rotation, neither ever stepping forward.

    You can’t afford that scenario on the O-line. Name your starter and let that guy practice with the other four all the time.

    The fact that TJ Lang was mentioned as a candidate at center suggests that his position as starting RG might be in jeopardy. I would not be shocked if Lang was our interior back up this season and either Don Barclay or Lane Taylor was our starting RG.

    1. Phatgzus March 28, 2014

      Another comes to mind, although he wasn’t slated as the starter-David Bakhtiari-he was a 4th-rounder as well…

    2. the real russ letlow March 29, 2014

      when Perry was healthy and rushing from the defensive right side last year he was pretty damn good. Lane Taylor apparently had some potential. we gave him a signing bonus as an undrafted free agent, right?

  4. E. Wolf March 28, 2014

    This is insanity. Center is arguably the most important position in the line aside from left tackle. I am glad TJ lang and Sitton are not named starters, but I have no confidence in thsi guy. SInce they left EDS go, they better find someone in the draft. Is there anyone available in free agency? I don’t know but I doubt it.

  5. Nick Perry March 28, 2014

    I’m with Iltarion. Perry was hurt week 1 of his rookie season and done by week 6. Last year he broke a bone in his foot in week 6, the Packers 5th game. His last two games HEALTHY, he had 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Because or all the damn injuries the Packers would have used the “Elephant Position” last year with Perry. This season is going to be fun to watch. QB’s aren’t going to sit back all day with time to throw, not with Perry, Peppers, Matthews, Daniels, Neal, Jones, and Raji finally playing back at NT. QB’s are going to be miserable playing against this defensive. Now, if C.J. Mosley can please fall to the Packers at 21, the Packers could actually be a top 5 defense.

    1. Kato March 28, 2014

      Dont know that I would go that far. Really, more consistency and a top half of the league defense would do wonders, especially if they had big play ability (turnovers, got off the field on 3rd down, ect.) I do think if they could stay reasonably healthy they have the ability to be pretty decent. Of course that has been their problem 3 of 4 years. I think they are in need of a centerfielder ala nick collins. If you look at a lot of the top defenses in the past decade, you see great safety play. Ravens- Ed Reed, Steelers with polamalu, seahawks with earl thomas, the packers when they were good on defense the first couple years had collins, and woodson as a movable chess piece. I am actually kind of excited to see how they play peppers. While he is 34 and out of his prime, i think limited snaps and having other pass rushers on the field could benefit him. He had 7 sacks last year while playing on a defensive line decimated by injuries and facing constant double teams.

  6. lars March 30, 2014

    Hopefully, Tretter cn get through the first hour of OTA’s without breaking in 2014. For all of MM’s happy Tretter talk, EDS actually played hurt and was rated as a top-10 center by PFF. Tretter might have beaten him out, but as we saw with the awful year Saturday put up, that doesn’t mean he would have preformed better than EDS. Sign a vet just in case…

  7. vj March 30, 2014

    Good thing there’s plenty of really good talent in the draft. However, in the case of a center for our offense, experience and smarts count! I like Barclay at RG and Lang at Center. Our line would be very formidable if T.J. can in fact play Center.