Packers OTA's: Rodgers looking for continuity at center

USA TODAY Sports

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows the challenge lying ahead as he looks to build a connection with his fourth new starting center this season.

The connection between an NFL quarterback and his center on the offensive line resembles like the soothing and trustworthy relationship between a husband and wife. Pushing away that below-average marital analogy, let’s face the fact: Aaron Rodgers will have his fourth different center snapping him the ball this upcoming season. This is a pretty big deal, especially at the most important position on one of the highest octane offenses in the league. As a veteran, Rodgers understands the importance of establishing the connection and he knows it won’t be easy to construct.

"The center position is a very vital position to every offense. " Rodgers said at his locker Thursday after OTA’s. "It’s about getting on the same page with protection stuff. How I like the snaps in the shotgun and how I like the rhythm of our offense. J.C.’s [Tretter] been doing a nice job, he’s a really bright guy. He gets it from an intelligence standpoint, but nothing is going to be decided there as far as the rhythm until we get on the field in pads in training camp especially. "

"It’s a big challenge, it’s tough."

Tretter handled most of the snaps for Rodgers while under center Thursday outside on Ray Nitschke field. Right now he is currently the favorite for the job with rookie Corey Linsley still trying to get acclimated to the next level of football alone. It favors the second year former college left tackle, who has been heavily around the Packers’ facility according to head coach Mike McCarthy, and only worked on playing the center position during the offseason.

"That’s true. I went home for a little bit to see the family, but I got right back out here and kind of stuck around the facility as much as possible." Tretter said. "I’ve always liked being in whatever – high school, college, NFL – the facilities and making a second home. Just being really comfortable being around here,"

After breaking his ankle during his first ever practice, Tretter didn’t play in a single game his rookie season. That still didn’t stop him from putting in the work off the field that he needed so that he would not fall behind, despite physically not being able to perform.

"Obviously it would’ve been great to be out there and get physical reps but, taking the time off and getting your body right, getting more muscular, losing fat, getting in the classroom and learning. I mean that obviously helps, you have to make the most of the opportunity you have." Tretter said. You’d don’t wanna be the guy who’s lagging behind. They just wanna be able to get to the line and do their job. They don’t wanna have to think for you. So right away, you wanna be there ready to go and be able to call the plays before they have to. That’s the center’s job, to know this offense through and through and be able to make all the calls before anyone else knows ‘em."

"When you got the opportunity, you didn’t want to be so far behind where you didn’t know what you were doing. You want to be able to set in and know mentally what you had to do."

Since he missed the entire 2013-14 season and didn’t play center while at Cornell, Tretter wants to build that important connection with Rodgers, but he knows it won’t come right away.

"You gotta get a rapport going and that’s coming. You’ve kind of feel each other out. You try to grow together and it’s a relationship. Center and quarterback relationship, you’ve gotta have one and I think we’re growing into it."

It’s been a revolving door in Green Bay regarding the center position for Aaron Rodgers in the last few years. After the departure of Scott Wells, the Packers brought in veteran Jeff Saturday for a half rental before giving the job to Evan Dietrich Smith, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. It’s disappointing, but all Rodgers wants is consistently at one of the most vital relationships in football for him.

"You’d like to play with one guy for an extended period of time. I thought that might be Scott, and then we brought in Jeff, which I knew as a short-term thing, and then Evan, again, a guy who made some strides and played really well. Thought that he would be the guy of the future but we went in a different direction and now we gotta get one of these young guys ready, and hopefully we can get a guy who can stick for five to six years who I think as a quarterback, you really appreciate when you can have some continuity there and have some consistency as far as the same guy being there for multiple years. "

With OTA’s continuing this coming week, Rodgers will continue building his relationship with whoever ends up snapping the ball for him when the first week of the season arrives.

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