Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes he’s got two starting centers with Corey Linsley and J.C. Tretter.
Will those two battle for the starting position when training camp begins on Tuesday? McCarthy, almost unbelievably, said that hasn’t even been discussed.
“J.C. Tretter is an excellent football player. I think anybody in our building would tell you that you view him as a starter,” McCarthy said on Monday during his pre-training camp news conference. “Corey Linsley has obviously been our starter, and there’s no reason for him not to be considered a starter. I’m not going to get in here and start creating things that haven’t even been discussed internally.”
The wild card in any conversation will be the results of Linsley’s physical. He missed three games and most of two others with an ankle injury last season, then sat out the offseason practices due to injury. Linsley wouldn’t say what was wrong, other than that the decision to keep him out of OTAs and the minicamp was made “above my paygrade” and that he’d be “100 percent” for the start of training camp.
Players generally believe they’re healthy enough to play. The training staff’s opinion, however, carries the most weight. (Update: Linsley was placed on the physically unable to perform list and will not practice to start camp.)
“I think first you have to get through this phase today,” McCarthy said of physicals. “Unfortunately, there’s always something that comes up, guys coming off the five weeks that they’ve been gone and so forth.”
Tretter was supposed to be the team’s starting center in 2014 until sustaining a knee injury during the third preseason game. That opened the door for Linsley, a rookie fifth-round pick at the time, and he took full advantage. He played every snap and earned all-rookie honors. Linsley started the first 11 games of last season and returned to the lineup for both playoff games.
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