It wasn’t readily apparent on Sunday, but J.C. Tretter started at center for the Green Bay Packers even though Corey Linsley was active.
Tretter has started three of the past four games after Linsley suffered an ankle injury in week 11. Linsley returned in week 13, but only briefly before aggravating the injury.
This time when Linsley returned, he didn’t get his old job back.
Has Tretter played so well the Packers simply cannot take him out of the lineup? Probably not, but there are some who believe Tretter has played better than Linsley this season.
Pro Football Focus has Linsley graded slightly higher than Tretter (76.4 to 74.5). A lot of people take their grades as gospel, but we are not among them.
Frankly, the only difference we see is in ability. Linsley is a mauler, a motor guy, tries real hard. Tretter is more athletic and smarter.
Based upon those descriptions alone, we’d rather see the latter guy in the lineup, providing the output is fairly equal.
So is there a controversy brewing? Packers coach Mike McCarthy says there isn’t.
“J.C. has played good football for us. Corey, in the long-term interest, I thought it was the best for our offense. We’ll see where Corey is Wednesday and he’ll continue to work through it. … There’s no controversy. It’s a medical situation. Corey is not 100 percent out of the woods.”
McCarthy is clearly suggesting the decision to start Tretter over Linsley is because Linsley is still being affected by the ankle injury, even though he was active for the game.
That’s not unheard of. Linsley could have been viewed as an emergency lineman.
The Packers nearly got to the point of needing such an individual at Detroit.
Having an “injured” player active and not playing him is just not customary. If the player really is too injured to play, then you use that game-day spot for someone who can play. That makes us wonder if Big Mike is just blowing smoke.
After all, it’s not unprecedented for a guy to lose his spot because he got injured.
It seems to us that happened not too long ago…
Oh yeah, when Tretter got injured and the Packers handed his spot to Linsley. That happened just last year.