J.C. Tretter was supposed to be the man in the middle for the Green Bay Packers this season. Then for the second year in a row, he got injured before the season even began. That opened the door for rookie Corey Linsley to become the Packers starting center.
It now looks like it’s going to stay that way.
Prior to the season, Tretter was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return and is eligible to start practicing next week. At the start of the season, it was assumed that when Tretter was ready, he’d replace Linsley in the starting lineup.
The Packers like the second-year player because he is larger and more athletic than Linsley or any other center they’ve had in a while. And if the preseason is any indication, Tretter is also a hell of a run blocker.
But it doesn’t sound like any of that is going to matter. While Linsley has been far from perfect, he’s improved every week and he’s certainly not the liability that, say, Jeff Saturday was a couple seasons ago.
On Friday, Buffoon talked about Linsley like we just watched the start of the Jim Ringo era.
“No one ever wavered because of what you were able to see him do every day in training camp,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s one of those guys as a rookie that came in here and you knew right away he belonged. First day of pads, it was like, ‘Hey man, this guy, he’s a powerful young man. So he fit right in. That’s why I was never worried about him.
“I will say this. If things keep going the way they’re going, I think we’ll look back on this start as probably one of the most impressive situations that a young player has stepped up and performed in my time here — and we’ve had a lot of guys step up.”
So what’s so great about Linsley?
He gets after it and he’s a bit of a mauler. And if Sean Brennan were here right now, I’m sure he’d tell me Corey Linsley has a motor. In plain terms, Linsley doesn’t have the most talent, but he’ll try real hard and probably end up beating the shit out of you.
Might even throw a finger in your eye.
Frankly, we can live with that. The Green Bay Packers don’t have enough guys who will throw a finger in your eye.
Tretter’s future, if he can ever stay healthy, may just reside somewhere else on the line. He’s perfectly capable of playing guard and might just prove to be an upgrade over someone like T.J. Lang.