GREEN BAY — Yet another starting center to get used to for Aaron Rodgers.
That doesn’t mean the star quarterback needs to play in the Green Bay Packers’ final preseason game.
It appears that extensive snaps in practice with rookie Corey Linsley will suffice after presumed starter J.C. Tretter went down with a knee injury. The Kansas City Chiefs come to Lambeau Field to wrap up the preseason Thursday, and the regular season opens the following week in Seattle against the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
“We’ve taken snaps before. We’ve simulated noise with him. Obviously, it’s different when you go into a situation like Seattle with the advantage they have,” Rodgers said Monday. “But it would be tough whether it was J.C. or Corey, so we expect to be ready.”
And that would be regardless of whether Rodgers plays against the Chiefs, which appears unlikely.
“I feel like we’ve spent a lot of time in walk-throughs and pre-practice stuff working on things. That is not vitally important,” Rodgers said.
Sitting Rodgers and key starters for the final preseason game appeared to be the plan all along to keep them healthy for the regular season. Green Bay will get a long look at players fighting for roster spots, a typical blueprint for the preseason.
But a training camp that had progressed rather swimmingly hit a hurdle when Tretter got hurt in last week’s win over Oakland. He is out for several weeks.
Defensive lineman B.J. Raji was lost for the season following a right biceps injury in the same game. Raji had been having a good camp after moving back inside to nose tackle.
The Packers got some good news Monday with the return of defensive tackle Letroy Guion. He injured his hamstring a week before training camp and hadn’t practiced since.
Signed from the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason as a free agent, Guion was understandably eager to show what he could do.
“It’s always (urgent) when a man goes down. It makes me have to step up, having to be that guy,” Guion said.
The 6-foot-4 Guion will bring valuable experience up front with 31 career starts. Until now, the Packers had second-year player Josh Boyd and undrafted rookie free agent Mike Pennel behind Raji in the base 3-4 defense.
Guion wasn’t sure he would be ready for the Chiefs game. He did vow to be ready for the Seahawks. For now, Guion’s focus is on getting into “football shape.”
“I ran around today, really wasn’t huffing and puffing. Legs feel good, body feels good. So I feel like I’m there physically,” he said.
As a veteran, he likely won’t need much time to get down the intangibles that come with playing in the trenches in the NFL. That’s not the case with Linsley, a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State who had never taken a snap with the first-string offense until this week.
Linsley can take heart that he has veteran guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang playing next to him. Then there is Rodgers, of course, with nearly a decade of experience leading the huddle.
“And you’re playing with two of the smartest guards, most athletic talent guys in the league in Josh and T.J. Those guys are going to help him out with his calls and make sure the tempo is set the right way,” Rodgers said. “I’m going to help out with the protection and he’s going to be ready to play.”