For the last two years I’ve been making a list of 5 guys that have to be good. This kind of list isn’t obvious. You’re not going to find Aaron Rodgers on this list. These are guys that you might not think of right away regarding the overall success of the Packers.
That’s the thing, though. Aaron Rodgers is going to play well. Clay Matthews, should he stay healthy is going to play well. Eddie Lacy’s going to be good and so is the offensive line. The players that we know are good are more than likely going to play well.
It’s the players that are “in the margins” that can make the difference between another 11 or 12 win team with a playoff “run” and a 13 or 14 win team and the 14th World Championship in Packers history.
Unless something bad happens during camp/the preseason, like the first guy on this list Jared Abbrederis JC Tretter isn’t going to start this year. That doesn’t mean that he’s not important to the success of the 2015 Packers. in 2014, the Packers got 355 snaps from offensive linemen that weren’t their week one starters. In 2013 that number was 270, but offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga was supposed to start the season and didn’t play a snap.
Offensive line depth is key for any contender. It’s one of the reasons I’m lower on the Seahawks in 2015 than most. A lot of people would tell you that Don Barclay is the backup at tackle and Tretter is the backup interior lineman. I’m not convinced that that’s the case.
Based on what I’ve read and what I understand about the Packers’ opinion of Tretter I actually think he’s the backup on the offensive line no matter what happens. If Sitton, Linsley, Lang or Bulaga go down, I’m guessing that Tretter steps right in. If something bad were to happen to David Bakhtiari I’m guessing that Bryan Bulaga would slide over to left tackle and Tretter would play on the right side.
If Tretter gives the Packers the idea that he’s a starting caliber offensive lineman It also might open up some roster flexibility. The Packers might be able to get away with only keeping 7 offensive lineman and stashing the highly thought of UDFA Matt Rotherham on the practice squad.
The 8th offensive lineman is almost never active on game day anyway and if someone did get hurt the Packers could easily elevate Rotherham because although he is viewed strictly as a guard both Tretter and Barclay can play both guard positions and right tackle with Tretter also being able to play center.
It’s almost a guarantee that all 5 of the Packers offensive linemen aren’t going to be able to start all 16 games together. That means that Tretter is almost certainly going to have to start a game and is definitely going to have to provide snaps for the Packers in some capacity. Not only that, but the team does occasionally utilize 6 and 7 linemen in goal line and short yardage sets.
If football were played in a perfect world, you would never see JC Tretter, but it isn’t. Depth is important and too often during the Aaron Rodgers era that depth has been an undrafted free agent here or a late round pick there. JC Tretter is not that at all. He’s a mid round pick going into that key 3rd season, and he offers the most potential of any 6th offensive lineman I remember watching in Green Bay.