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Cory's Corner: JC Tretter deserves the left tackle job

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Cory's Corner: JC Tretter deserves the left tackle job

The offensive line has arguably been one of the Packers’ biggest bugaboos during this roller-coaster of a season.

That unit, more than any other, is reliant on cohesion — which is the exact opposite of what the Packers have had this season following a dominating 35-18 NFC Wild Card Playoff win on Sunday at FedEx Field.

And the person that has carried the torch for the offensive line carousel has been JC Tretter. He started his first game at left tackle since 2013 and he did it very well. Aside from a safety he gave up thanks to a bull rush, he made sure Aaron Rodgers’ blind side was covered.

“It’s been a little while since the old Cornell left tackle days,” Tretter said. “You just kind of had to adjust and get back in the groove.”

Now many are saying that Tretter is the perfect fill-in for regular starter David Bakhtiari. Well, that’s obvious. When Don Barclay started in his place in Arizona on Dec. 27, he was one of the key reasons why the line folded and why the Packers were stung with nine sacks.

But Tretter isn’t just a fill-in. He’s your next left tackle folks. The 24-year-old was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 draft with his sights set on the starting center job. Then, he injured his knee and lost the job to Corey Linsley.

He is a little undersized for left tackle, but there’s two things that I love about moving Tretter to the second-most important position on the field for the Packers. First, he has the mind of a center. Which means he is one of the smartest offensive lineman out there. He might be able to check something on the outside that Linsley could miss. Secondly, he was an All-American left tackle at Cornell. That speaks for itself.

“It’s about the rhythm,” said Aaron Rodgers, who again struggled with his accuracy. “I think when you get into a rhythm with the pass protection, those guys were able to have some positive plays after the safety and start to feel good about the ability to protect. And then we ran the ball well. Anytime we run the ball well, that’s going to take some pressure off those guys.”

Finding the right left tackle is tough. The Packers had one with Chad Clifton who started 160 of 165 games from 2000-2011. Bakhtiari played well his rookie season of 2013 but has been very average since.

Now the Packers have found a guy in Tretter that is versatile enough to handle himself for the speed rush and is able to make adjustments and learn from his mistakes from the bull rush.

But most importantly, Tretter is hungry. He has been on the precipice of owning his job on the offensive line and it got snatched away due to injury. And now he gets placed into a playoff game with an offense that couldn’t get out of its own way for weeks.

And he succeeds.

One game may be a small sample size, but Tretter may have changed the season for a team that many — myself included — thought was dead.

After all that, I’d say that Tretter not only proved he can play the hot corner, but he deserves the job. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (81) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

Honestly, I still don't get why they didn't start Tretter at LT against Minnesota.

They always talk about having cohesion on the OL. Well what sense does it make to change 2 positions vs just using Tretter there. I really didn't understand that at all.

Tretter played very well. Once he settled in he settled in, he played really well. I'm not going to say he is the starting LT of the future, but I will say that I like him as our LT if Bakhtiari can't go.
Definitely will give us a better option at LT then Barclay or Sitton did.

Beep's picture

My guess is that Lindsley's ankle wasn't healthy enough yet for the Minnesota game that the coaches wanted Tretter ready to go at C.

Bohj's picture

Well....here's some news that helps us. Linebacker Okafor is injured now. Injured his toe this weekend. One less threat there. And Defensive Tackle Cory Redding is on IR as of the Seahawks game. One less threat there. Freeney, they only use as a situational pass rusher......ie third downs.

So.......if we win 1st and second down, and run effectively and keep third and shorts by not having holds and early sacks.......Tretter or Bakh will be an improvement no matter what. Not to mention we will have more than one starter in the oline this time. I expect us to move the ball this time.

Bohj's picture

Also.....hurry up no huddle can keep Freeney off the field.
Also.....if we don't fumble away 21 points, and Rodgers doesn't throw away 3 more, it's not a rout.
11-17 maybe. With a healthier Oline this week, maybe we can keep this thing closer.

Dan Stodola's picture

With Okafor out chances are strong that Freeney plays alot more snaps. So keeping him off the field isn't as likely. I suspect most of the time when Freeney plays he starts the series and stays on the field precisely due to that fact.

If the Packers protect the ball this will be a far closer game, but either way its not a good matchup for the Packers. Cautiously hopeful is the best I can say.

Tundraboy's picture

OK I'm ready for the game now.

RCPackerFan's picture

Honestly the key for this offense is big production on first and second downs. Keeping it 3rd and 5 or less will be huge compared to the last time they played.

Against Washington I was happy with their play selection on first down. They mixed it up and got good positive yards on a lot of first downs. We have to do that again.

barutanseijin's picture

Bakhtiari has never been anything special. A notch or two above Marshmallow Newhouse, that's about it. He'd be soon forgotten.

WKUPackFan's picture

Love Tretter, however, he would have to add some weight to be a full time LT. He is noticably small for the position. Makes sense as he didn't need extra bulk for the C position.

Nick Perry's picture

I just checked his Combine weight and current weight, both have him listed at 307 pounds so he is a little light. He put up 29 reps at the combine so he's strong as hell, imagine even stronger now.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Why do people think he is smaller that Bahk? Because is arm length is slightly less?

Anyway, let's see how he does against the Cardinals before anointing him the next starter.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

True, the difference between Bakh and Tretter is minor. Then again, many of us believed that Bakh needed to add strength and gain some weight over the last off season. The idea that our LT should weigh more than 300 or 307 is not new.

At this point, I wouldn't play a 80% Bakh over a healthy Tretter at LT. Edit: Saw your post below - yes, if Bakh is 95%, Bakh should indeed be the starter.

Nick Perry's picture

Personally I could never understand why Barclay was put in at any position ahead of Tretter. Barclay has always seemed to struggle, mostly in pass protection no matter where they put him. He can barely funtion at RT let alone LT.
Bakhtieri was "Okay" at times but he's far from irreplaceable. When Lindsey got injured and Tretter filled in the Packers running game was excellent. In Sundays game the Packers ran the ball well, especially to Sittons & Tretters side. For once on 4th and 1 when the Packers ran left Lacy wasn't blasted 3 yards behind the LOS, something that seems common when Bakhtieri is in.
It's only one game AND it came against the Redskins but Cory might be right. Tretter has excellent feet and is smart as they come. If nothing else the coaches would see the improvement in the Running Game everytime he's in the game...Wouldn't they???

Tundraboy's picture

Tretter definitely made a difference in the run game. Noticed his blocking on Starks run especially.

MarkinMadison's picture

I think we're jumping the gun a bit here. Washington's defense is poor. They had no pass rusher in the top 15 in sacks during the regular season (Preston came in at #16). I think it's a bit of a leap to conclude that JC Tretter is a better LT than Bakh after one game.

croatpackfan's picture

I agree with you. Based on the performancew against rookie DE who bullrushed him to safety does not justify glorification... Or, better to say, Tretter was playing at the level for glorification for the game against Washington - when we compare him to previous backups. But jumping the conclusions before we saw him against elite pass rush it is little bit of frivolity. I know lot of people here do not like David, but he stands firm against elite rushers more than ones... And when we count how many sacks was given when Packers were playing first team OL, more sacks was given by Brian Bulaga than by David Bakhtiari, and I think there is maybe 2 or 3 more holding penalties on David's account. Tretter is for certain player Packers need to keep on the roster, because he showed to all of us that he can succesfully replace injured OL men when is needed.
After all, Aaron was always backing up David Bakhtiari, while I did not read or hear similar backuping of Barclay, when he was playing LT...

dobber's picture

At this point, Tretter has proven that he's a serviceable backup at all 5 positions on the OL. He's a pretty valuable guy.

croatpackfan's picture

That is what I said and what I think about Tretter! He might become again 1st centar of the OL but this is future... And we do not know what future is bringing!

dobber's picture

Agreed. This is pretty reactionary based on a single performance against a team that--frankly--the Packers should have played well against.

Maybe this takes the pressure off the recovery of Bakhtiari, but if he's ready to play, he should play. Leave the question of Bakhtiari vs. Tretter for the offseason (when they will hopefully find another OLT candidate).

chugwater's picture

Good insight. I still think Bahk as a starter is a no brainer. He's tested and handled Anzah and Griffen when going head to head against division foes.

No he's not perfect and needs to cut down on holding penalties, but he's effective most of the time and can be resigned without breaking the bank.

barutanseijin's picture

His run blocking leaves a lot to be desired.

sheppercheeser's picture

Oh my gosh, David B's holding calls are back breakers!

Duke Divine's picture

May be jumping the gun but had it not been for some injury issues Tretter was set at starter multiple seasons at multiple positions on the line had it not been for those untimely injuries. It's obvious the guy can play, he was just hurt and lost his job because of it.

Evan's picture

1. He was only ever set at starter at one position - center. He was never going to be starter anywhere else.

2. He got hurt so early, it was never obvious he could play. It's only been this year that he's showing what he's capable of.

Duke Divine's picture

He can play. Every time he's seen the field he has played well.

Bearmeat's picture

Tretter is 300 lbs. IF he can put another 15-20 on his frame and still be as nimble as he is now, fine. But that's not going to happen this week. Did you see how much ground he gave up on a regular basis on bull rushes? It was...an adventure..

If Bakh is ready, I want him out there on Saturday.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, Bakhtiari is our best option at LT. He is a bit under appreciated. Is he the best in the league, no. Is he the worst, no - far from it. Even if he is average its still not that bad.

If he is ready to go, I want him to start. If he isn't, I want Tretter in there.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Have you looked at how much Bahk weighs?

Bahk is listed at 310 and and Tretter at 307. Tretter just looks thinner because he has very little fat, the guy is lean and strong as hell based on his combine numbers. He has almost exactly the same height, weight and arm length and Bahk.

I've seen Bahk get his ass bull rushed as well. If Bahk is 95+% however, I'd go with the experience.

Dan Stodola's picture

That was Tretters listed combine weight. I've actually read a couple times that Tretter is down to the 300 lb mark. Either way its still not enough for an OT. Even Bahktiari could stand to gain more weight. List weights don't mean much in the NFL.

Razer's picture

I agree with the comment that this is only one game and against an average defense (at best). Facing some of the top D-lines like Arizona or Seattle will show where a guy is at.

Got to wonder why Tretter has been an after-thought at LT since he got here. What didn't our coaches see over these last 3 years. Is this a coaching concern or talent issue?

Since we are discussing depth O-line, I worry about anything beyond our starters. I hope we don't get into another comfort zone where we have very little in the pipeline. If they can't step in and show that they belong, then let's move on and invest in the next project. Heaven help us if Lane Taylor, Don Barclay and Josh Walker are pressed into action.

dobber's picture

"Since we are discussing depth O-line, I worry about anything beyond our starters. I hope we don't get into another comfort zone where we have very little in the pipeline."

Absolutely. OLT is a position in need of an upgrade regardless of who, in the current OL group, ends up starting for the remainder of the season. Finding a higher-quality LT frees Tretter to back up the other OL positions and allows the Packers to look at Bakhtiari at OG, where many had him projected coming out of college.

croatpackfan's picture

There is one guy on the roster (well on PS, better to say) who is signed for development to be OG - Matt Rotheram. Common remark is that he is beast in the running game, but bad in pass protection.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes how is Rotherham doing. Forgot about him Could not be worse than, Taylor or Barclay, could he?

Dan Stodola's picture

There was a reason he was moved from OT to OG in college. If he's good enough to play OT in college he would have stayed at OT. Taylor has played relatively well as a backup OG. Barclay can't play LT, but he showed in the past that RT isn't beyond him as a backup, even tho he is probably better at OG than RT. Rotherham is a solid OG prospect, but not an OT IMO.

bears suck forever's picture

Getting rid of the ball quickly and scrambling is the only realistic response to a weak left tackle. I like him also but he can't hold up to Arizona.

dobber's picture

I don't know about that. Dwight Freeney is the kind of rusher that Bakhtiari (and hopefully Tretter if he plays) will likely hold up better against. He's more of a speed guy than a power guy, and Bakhtiari struggles against power. If Arizona dials up a bunch of blitzes (and they will), that's where it gets interesting.

bears suck forever's picture

They list Tretter at 307 lbs. Is that bogus? That is hardley undersized.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

He looks thinner because he is very lean, and he was lined up next to Sitton who is listed at 318 but that is dubious.

DrealynWilliams's picture

We should have more chip blocks.

I say have Rip or Kuhn catch those DEs off guard from time to time. It should have physical and mental effects.

I wish R. Rodgers and our RBs were physical enough to put a pass rusher on their ass. I've seen much smaller players do it.

Tundraboy's picture

Totally agree. Time to help out the line this week. Arizona is not Washington,in talent and approach.

4thand10's picture

^^^^^THIS.

4thand10's picture

Or putting in Kuhn on Rodgers left side for extra blindside protection...that falls on coaching. If I saw even one play where my LT got abused...Kuhn would be in the rest of the game and someone else would take his spot on special teams.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Exactly.

I wonder if it's illegal or just frowned upon???

The only time I can remember seeing this happen to benefit us was when we had Finley.

Dan Stodola's picture

McCarthy loathes helping his OT. It essentially takes a receiver out of the equation as a viable pass receiver.

egbertsouse's picture

I don 't understand why Ted refuses to open the wallet and get some adequate back-ups in the OL. Other than Tretter these other guys are stiffs and you have a $20M man to protect back there. Crossing your fingers and hoping no one gets injured Is not an adequate plan.

Evan's picture

Yea, cause quality backup o-linemen are so readily available. If you need a reminder about the state of o-line play across the league, just know that Marshall Newhouse started 14 games for the Giants this year. There aren't that many quality starters out there, to say nothing of backups.

That said, it still pisses me off that TT didn't drop a 7th round pick on La'el Collins.

Bojan Glisic's picture

You have better chance to win powerball than to find anyone in NFL who would even look at Collins at that time. Not to mention that Collins said he would skip year rather than beeing drafted on third day.

Evan's picture

"Not to mention that Collins said he would skip year rather than beeing drafted on third day."

For a 7th round pick, I'd call that bluff.

The agents even later admitted it was BS:

“We can put it on the record now: We were never going back in the draft,” Smith says of waiting for the 2016 draft. “If someone had drafted him, we would’ve had a long, long discussion about it, but at the end of the day you can’t go back in the draft. He could get injured, gain weight, or 10 great tackles could come out. Too many risks.”

http://mmqb.si.com/2015/05/15/lael-collins-nfl-draft-dallas-cowboys-murd...

barutanseijin's picture

You could do worse than Newhouse. Barclay for example.

barutanseijin's picture

You could do worse than Newhouse. Barclay for example.

Razer's picture

Totally agree. Rodgers got sacked 46 times this year and took many hits along the way. Happy feet - you bet. Stand in the pocket and take a hit like Ben Rothlessburger (I am not even going to try) and Rodgers is standing with Jordy Nelson.

A strong O-line gets you both pass and run and we are struggling on both fronts. If you are not improving you are getting passed in this league.

dobber's picture

Let's not forget that going into this season, the OL was coming off one of its best years, the starters looked solid, and we thought we had reasonable backups to choose from in Tretter, Barclay (who had significant game experience) and others. We all thought OL was one of the strengths of this team and that we were set there. Injury and inconsistency (which I think nobody foresaw) shot that to hell.

NFL personnel is a zero-sum game. If you invest in backups at one position, you can't invest that money somewhere else. I know, I know, the Packers always operate with a significant amount of cap space, but you don't want to have to use that space to pay someone you don't plan on using. Every dollar you spend on a guy that you hope doesn't see the field is a dollar you can't use to extend Daniels or some other key player.

Idiot Fan's picture

Exactly what I was about to type.

MCM's picture

Let's settle down. He had a good game against a very average defense. While Bak has been plagued by penalties he's shown he can neutralize top-tier DEs/OLBs (Ziggy Ansah comes to mind immediately). Did Tretter flash potential that could lead to not overpaying Bak when he demands LT money? We'll see.

Tretter showing he can be productive at LT just makes it clear we thankfully won't see Barclay on the field again. Just hasn't looked right since his injury. You need 6 good offensive linemen and Tretter has shown he's capable at all 5 positions.

Playing against the Cardinals is an entirely different task..one I'd rather have Bak for instead of Tretter.

Since '61's picture

I would contend that this article is a bit premature at this point. I like the idea of Tretter at LT, however one game does not a career make. If Bakh is not yet ready I am fine with Tretter remaining at LT. Long term I believe that the Packers answer at LT needs to be found in the draft, especially if Bakh's salary demands are unreasonable after this season. The Packers may have significant turnover on the OL during the next few seasons and I would like to see them solidify LT for the remainder of ARs career during this offseason as they have done with the Center position. For now the focus is on AZ and the playoffs. If Tretter is needed and continues to perform at a high level during the playoffs we will have much more of a sample size to determine if he has earned a starting role. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

chugwater's picture

Bahk's salary will be reasonable. He's a middle of the road guy who is solid but not spectacular. TT will keep his own guys. He always does.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

TT probably will keep him, or try, but what is reasonable? The 18th highest paid LT makes $7 million a year. Then it drops to $5 million per year. The OL would be one of the highest paid units with Bulaga, Lang, Sitton, and Bakh all drawing $6 -$7 million per year. We need some young talent in the pipeline. To be fair, with Walker and Rotherham, I thought to some extent we did.

ray nichkee's picture

One game does not a career make.

Everybody needs to listen to yoda.

Most OL are at some point a LT, in high school, college, etc.

Tretter has a spot on this team. Period. (i hate when i have to spell it out.)

Since '61's picture

Sorry Ray, no one is saying that Tretter doesn't have a spot on the team.

I'm not sure what you are referring to or who you are responding to.
Thanks, Since '61

ray nichkee's picture

Since 61, i was responding to you. I heard yoda's voice when i read your post. That's all. I chuckled a bit. The rest is just my 2 cents. Keep posting. Your stuff is good stuff.

Duke Divine's picture

34-31 Pack! Makin Crosby seals it!

croatpackfan's picture

I would like not to come to the Crosby for the winning FG. I would like to do it earlier!

Razer's picture

Pack score 34 points - you sir, are an optimist. I like your optimism!

bears suck forever's picture

and dyslexic, more like 43 if we are going to be optimistic!

Ferrari Driver's picture

I think there would be little difference between the two and either one is going to be simply a player, nothing to get excited about.

Every team is primarily made up of just "players" and it's the difference makers (generally pro bowl starters" who determine how far the team goes.

It's the guys who shouldn't be starting in the league who HAVE to be replaced. Right now, I think the Packers are okay in that area, but they sure need a shot at some of the difference makers who are most often taken in the early part of the NFL draft.

Packer_Pete's picture

I agree with most here. Bakh is the best option at this time. Tretter has shown that he is very valuable as a backup, since he can play multiple positions. If Bakh can't go, sure then Tretter seems to be the best option at LT. Tretter may do alright against AZ regardless, since Freeney is not a power rusher, and as natural C, Tretter should be very familiar with protection schemes and be able to recognize and adjust to blitzers.
Having said all that, the Cardinals DL is of a different caliber than the Washington DL, so it will be very interesting. But I do think the Packers have a chance.
GO PACK GO

RCPackerFan's picture

One thing that will help Tretter against Freeney is Tretter is quick, and can move really well. That's one thing good LT has to have, the quickness to defend speed rushers. Barclay is to slow to play LT.

Another thing that I think helps Tretter at LT is he has played center and played along side of Sitton. He has built some continuity with Sitton. So that also helps.

Packer_Pete's picture

Yes, but on the opposite side of Sitton. Also, the movements of a left tackle is completely different than those of a guard or center. So I wouldn't put too much into it. I think Tretter is a very athletic guy who is a valuable backup for the Packers, as he can play almost all positions on OL. I doubt he is the best option at LT if Bakh is available also. I would start Bakh, and if he can't cut it, bring Tretter in. But then again, I am no coach and don't see those guys in practice every day. Or can see the intricacies when watching film.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do think playing next to someone regardless of what side your on, you get a feel of how they play. I think it does help that he played next to Sitton prior to now.

Yeah, I would start Bakhtiari if he is healthy and ready to go. If he isn't then I have no problem going with Tretter.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Now there is tape on Tretter at LT. I'm sure Ari. will look at it. Of course, Tretter may look at his own tape and make adjustments, too. Otherwise, it is too early to suggest Tretter is the LT of the future. Also, if Bakh is real healthy, I'd start Bakh at LT. After all, if he falters, Tretter can be inserted.

Dan Stodola's picture

So after one good game, where he filled in admirably, your ready to annoit him the LT of the future for the Packers? Good Lord!

Tretter did the same thing Bahktiari did. Came in and did an admirable job when called upon. That's a nice compliment to him, but it says more about Thompson.

In the long run Tretter is the same as Bahktiari. He can play LT but its not his best position. The Packers would be wise to draft a LT in the 1st round if they get the chance. Neither Bahktiari or Tretter should be the long term answer at LT.

barutanseijin's picture

What does Barclay say about TT?

Dan Stodola's picture

Barclay wasn't drafted he was an udfa. So ANYTHING they get from Barclay is gravy. But hey, Barclay served the Packers pretty F'in well playing RT when Bulaga was injured, so I would say that was a damn good move for Thompson too. Just cuz Barclay proved that he can't play LT, which BTW Sitton proved as well, doesn't mean he can't be a useful NFL backup!

sheppercheeser's picture

I'm all for JC playing LT, but I hear some of these comments about a trial by fire situation. Long term, I say let's see what Tretter can do, but this weekend? Might be better to let David B play this out.

Evan's picture

I have been wondering if Tretter's future is at center with Linsley sliding over and taking over for either Lang/Sitton when their contracts expire.

Dan Stodola's picture

Tretter would be much better suited to play OG than Lindsey, who is strictly a C. My guess is Tretter ends up at LG or RG in a couple years. If the Packers can draft a LT this year, Bahktiari is likely an OG too. Neither is a good long term answer at OT.

Tundraboy's picture

Immediately after Sunday's game, I felt that Tretter, may be the better option from here on . this year. I still do if Bahktiari is hurting. Yet there is no doubt Arizona is a different deal than Washington, so whether we have found our new starting LT, is just something that will take some time to know, starting Saturday . But for now either way we will have someone who has played LT for this next game , and hopefully more this season. Next year we should draft a LT that's for sure.

real some guy's picture

was this article serious?

Bakh is an average left tackle in the NFL. He's young and only going to get better.

He's fine.

Tretter is a great 6th man and could start on same teams but he's not better than DB

Tundraboy's picture

It's great that Tretter played better than anyone else we tried so far. Just like Bahktiari was better than the guys before him. Better to have two right now that can play reasonably well until we find someone much better, and I think we all can agree on that.

LeagueObsrvr's picture

Well, he was thrown out there in a tough situation and responded very well. At the very least, his emergence at tackle gives the team more depth and flexibility along the offensive line going forward.

Bryce Hansen's picture

1. Get real dude. 2. It was one game. 3. Have you not seen Bahktiari shut down Ansah year after year? 4. Go check the PFF grades, Bahktiari is better.

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