Tale of Two Debuts

Jim Brown/USA TODAY

J.C. Tretter's first NFL game at center went swimmingly while Davante Adams struggled in conditions that he compared to a "tsunami."

Rookie receiver Davante Adams won't use the monsoon-like conditions as an excuse for letting two punts slip through his hands in his Packers preseason debut.

J.C. Tretter thinks his first start as Green Bay's center went rather swimmingly for having to endure the wet weather in Tennessee.

They were memorable games for different reasons for two young players expected to play key roles in Green Bay this season.

"You can't make excuses," Adams, the team's second-round draft pick, said Monday. "That's ultimately what it comes down to, who makes the most plays when the weather is bad like that. Whoever steps up to the plate is going to come out on top."

Adams, who had a prolific career in Fresno State's high-octane offense, finished with two catches for 22 yards in the 20-16 loss Saturday to the Titans. He also went out to field the first two punts — somewhat of a surprise given his relative lack of work in that area in public portions of practices — and muffed each time, losing the second. The turnover set up a Titans touchdown.

The pouring rain didn't provide ideal conditions for a debut. Adams also hurt his wrist on the second muff, an injury that kept him out of practice Monday.

Receiver Jordy Nelson also sat out practice Monday with a sore hamstring that had sidelined him since Friday and kept him out of Saturday's game. Nelson was bothered by a hamstring injury in 2012.

Both Nelson and Adams are considered day-to-day, and neither injury appears to be serious.

The more reps, the better for Adams if he wants to help replace the production of veteran James Jones, who left as a free agent in the offseason for Oakland. Adams is already talking like a veteran.

"The shorter your memory is — not playbook-wise — but in my football, if you make mistakes if you have a short memory then the better off you'll be, especially in a league like this," Adams said.

Overall, coach Mike McCarthy liked how his team fared in the preseason opener, especially given the elements. Besides the rain, sideline communication through the headsets was a problem, so players had to make calls on the field.

"Clearly, to me, that was probably one of the best preseason games that I've ever been a part of just because it was a training environment that you can't create," he said. "So those are things as a coach, you try to create that in practice."

Tretter, a fourth-round pick out of Cornell in 2013, is in his second year but hasn't had any game experience after spending the majority of last season on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Tretter went from 238-pound tight end as a freshman to a 300-pound left tackle by his senior year.

Now listed at 6-foot-4, 307 pounds, Tretter appears to be the favorite to replace Evan Dietrich-Smith as the center. Green Bay is looking for its fourth different starter at that position in four years.

Save for one correction, McCarthy thinks Tretter played well in his 20-plus snaps. Tretter said he's still getting certain techniques and blocking steps down, plus picking up the nuances of reading the defensive line.

His job is of utmost importance given he's one of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' protectors.

"Just little things that (are) going to come with experience and come with reps," Tretter said.

A native of upstate New York, Tretter has played in his share of football games in the snow. But he's never quite experienced the deluge he had to slog through in Tennessee.

Tretter said the offensive line didn't even know it was raining until they turned the corner to go down the tunnel toward the field.

"If it's going to happen you might as well just get it out of the way and get your first day like that, so it will be a memorable one," Tretter said. "That was probably the worst, probably the worst rain game that I've ever played in."


Find Genaro Armas on Twitter at twitter.com/GArmasAP.

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