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J.C. Tretter Focusing on Today

After getting his first significant playing time on Sunday at Minnesota. J.C. Tretter won't contemplate what might have been or what could be.

J.C. Tretter doesn’t have time to look back.

Nor does he have the desire to look ahead.

Tretter would have been the Green Bay Packers’ starting center last year had it not been for a knee injury sustained during the third preseason game.

Corey Linsley, a rookie at the time, stepped into the lineup and never stepped out, starting all 18 games last season and the first 10 games of this season. On Sunday at Minnesota, Linsley sustained an ankle injury on the 12th snap. Tretter moved into the lineup and had a big helping hand in the Packers’ 30-13 victory over the Vikings.

After missing all of 2013, his rookie season, with an ankle injury and having his big chance taken away in 2014, was Sunday special?

“No,” Tretter said after the game and again on Monday. “I mean, it’s just another game. Obviously, it was a good game for us and we played well. But I don’t get too emotional or think too far in the past or in the future. I kind of just stay in the moment. It was a solid game, got to play a lot more than I usually do, so it was exciting for that.”

If Tretter lost the starting job because of injury, then it’s certainly possible for him to win back the job because of injury. He played well against the Vikings, helping the Packers to their largest point total since Week 3. If Linsley isn’t ready for this week’s game against Chicago — three fewer days of rest and recovery won’t help his quest — then could Tretter seize back the job?

“That’s not a question for me,” Tretter said. “I have no idea. I’m just going to try to go out and try to play well. I don’t worry about that. I don’t think too much about that. That’s just a lot of added pressure and emotion and thoughts that aren’t going to help you on gameday. You have to be ready to go out and play well, and thinking about that stuff is just going to make you play worse. You have to go out there and do what you have to do and play well.”

Tretter got thrown into the fire against the Vikings, with Linsley going down during the opening drive. Minnesota is strong up the middle, with defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd and middle linebacker Erik Kendricks. Not only did Tretter hold his own physically, but he had no issues mentally against Mike Zimmer’s attacking defense.

“J.C. did a good job,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. “You know, a little concerned when he went in (because) we really didn't have a chance to take some snaps, which was part of the decision for the timeout. We didn't change anything, we didn't make any adjustments. We just went out and played with our whole game plan, and that's a real credit to J.C.”

Guard Josh Sitton agreed with McCarthy’s assessment. Having taken hundreds upon hundreds of snaps together throughout the 2014 offseason and training camp worked in Tretter’s favor.

“He played great,” Sitton said. “It’s not easy to be that sixth man and come off the bench. It’s a tough thing to do. I’ve done it in the past in my rookie year and coming in cold, especially in a cold game, it’s not easy and he came in and did a great job.”

McCarthy wouldn’t rule out Linsley for Thursday. Regardless, Tretter is going to get himself ready to be the starter.

No different than his routine any other week.

“That’s (every) week’s preparation and making sure I’m on the same page with Aaron (Rodgers) and the guards and making sure you’re ready to go and understand the game plan. When you’re a backup lineman, that’s what you have to do, you have to step in and make sure they don’t have to change anything for you.  You want to be able to step in and have everybody stay the same.”

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.


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