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Rookie lineman, JC Tretter, first casualty of spring

Posted May 21, 2013

Media gets first look at Bryan Bulaga, Josh Sitton on left side of line


GREEN BAY—Fourth-round draft choice JC Tretter is the Packers’ first casualty of the year. Head Coach Mike McCarthy announced to the media on Tuesday that Tretter, an offensive lineman from Cornell, sustained an injury on Monday that would sideline Tretter for the remainder of the spring practice season.

Coaches are not required to provide injury information during the offseason and McCarthy would offer no further information on Tretter, including a timetable for his return.

Meanwhile, the Packers concluded day two of Phase III of OTAs with a practice on Clarke Hinkle Field that pitted offense against defense for the first time this spring.

“The goal is to have a better offseason than last year. I feel like we’ve accomplished that so far with our work in the weight room and the work in Phase II,” McCarthy said.

Tuesday’s practice featured the media’s first look at Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton manning the left side of the Packers offensive line. Bulaga and Sitton had been the starters at right tackle and right guard respectively in previous years.

“I’m excited for them personally. They look at it as a great opportunity,” McCarthy said of having moved the two linemen. “The moves were made for a number of different reasons. Sitton has really come into his own and Bulaga is our best tackle. It’s important for us to have flexibility on both sides.

“Would I like to have five guys and say those are my starting five? That’s great. We want competition throughout, particularly on the right side,” McCarthy added.

“We want to be stronger on the left side,” Offensive Line Coach James Campen said. “We want to get our two most accomplished players on that side … to protect the back side of the quarterback.”

Coming off a humbling playoff loss in San Francisco that ended last season, a new verve and energy appears to be present this spring. Tuesday’s practice was heavy with drills to promote creating and avoiding fumbles. The Packers created only five fumbles last season, while losing eight.

“Statistically, we’re not where we need to be,” McCarthy said.

The buzz word this spring is “competition.” McCarthy spoke of it and so did several of his position coaches in media interviews.

“Everybody has been granted an opportunity to compete,” McCarthy said.

Second-round and fourth-round draft picks Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin are competing for playing time at running back, and both rookie backs displayed pass-catching ability on Tuesday.

There’s also competition at safety, where M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian are locked in a battle for the spot next to Morgan Burnett.

“I look for them to make that jump,” McCarthy said of Jennings and McMillian. “Morgan has clearly established himself as the leader back there.”

Linebacker Desmond Bishop, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and cornerback Davon House sat out the practice due to season-long injuries from last season. Asked when they might return, McCarthy offered no timetable but said the order of their return would likely be: 1.) Bishop, 2.) House, 3.) Sherrod.

Cornerback Sam Shields was not present. He remains unsigned after having been tendered as a restricted free agent.

“I wish Sam was here. Our secondary is very competitive. I wish he was here,” McCarthy said.

Defensive lineman Mike Neal was briefly deployed as a linebacker in Tuesday’s practice.

“Schematically, we’re going to do some different things,” McCarthy added.

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