Solid Debut For Tretter

banner.phpThe Packers opened the preseason with a 20-16 loss to Tennessee. I focused my attention on four players, and here’s what I saw:

JAYRONE ELLIOTT – The undrafted free agent outside linebacker didn’t play much, so I’ll have to wait another week to better gauge his potential. With Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal and most likely Nick Perry locks to make the 53, Elliott will be battling Nate Palmer, Andy Mulumba, draft pick Carl Bradford and fellow UDFA Adrian Hubbard for one or two spots. The best thing that happened to the former Toledo star last night was that none of the competition stood out.

DATONE JONES – Speaking of not standing out, last year’s No. 1 pick continued his ho-hum summer vs. the Titans. Jones received plenty of playing time in the first half, but he just didn’t do enough – either as a base end or as an inside pass rusher. In all honesty, he looks like just a guy. The former UCLA standout still seems to be developing positional instincts and awareness to blocking schemes. He also needs to improve his pad level. And while I do like his motor and the energy he brings to the huddle, that’s not enough when you’re talking about a player picked 26th overall in the draft.

DEREK SHERROD – For an offensive tackle who’s taken exactly six snaps since December 2011, I thought Sherrod had a nice night. And he should only get better as the rust goes away. In pass protection, he moved OK and handled outside rushes pretty well. That’s because he did a very nice job of steering and controlling blockers once he got his hands on them. He wasn’t as good at handling quick, inside counters. In the running game, the former Mississippi State star looked a little awkward at times, but he wasn’t bad. All in all, the coaches had to be encouraged by what they saw.

JC TRETTER – Of the four players I put under the microscope, the former Ivy Leaguer was the most impressive. Tretter was solid in his NFL debut. He handled snaps without a problem – no easy task in the pouring rain – and he held his ground as both a run blocker and a pass protector. There were a few times when he didn’t have anyone to block, and rather than assist one of his linemates, he just kind of drifted aimlessly. But I’ll chalk that up to a lack of experience. And while I’m still not totally comfortable with Tretter as a starter, I do feel better now than I did 24 hours ago.

NOTES: As I mentioned a few weeks ago, there’s a place for rookie running back Rajion Neal in the NFL. He’s no Whisper Goodman… Veteran tight end Andrew Quarless should be a backup when the Packers open the regular season. Third-round pick Richard Rodgers runs better routes and gives a better effort in the running game. The coaches should give the rookie from Cal as many snaps as possible in the next three games to get him ready for Seattle… Jared Abbrederis will be missed as a punt returner. None of the other young receivers is up to the job, so the coaches will likely be forced to use a probable starter on defense (Micah Hyde) in that role… With Letroy Guion still out, nose tackle Mike Pennel played a lot vs. Tennessee. It was an up-and-down night for the UDFA, but his potential is obvious… I don’t care how many times coach Mike McCarthy raves about Sean Richardson, I just don’t think he can be a traditional safety in the NFL. He doesn’t change directions well enough due to stiff hips… Jumal Rolle might be worth keeping as a 6th corner. He’s having a solid camp and he flashed a few times last night.

-photo by Jim Biever, packers.com

About the author

Packer Update is the creation of a longtime fan. My name is Michael Rodney and I was a sportswriter in the early 1990s. I worked full-time for a newspaper in South Jersey, but I still managed to get quite a few articles about the Packers published during that time. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing about the most storied franchise in all of pro sports.