Irvin might be messing with wrong guy

GREEN BAY, Wis. – If Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin is trying to intimidate Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley, he might be messing with the wrong rookie.

There's no getting around the fact that Linsley, a fifth-round draft pick, will be making his NFL debut on Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks.

And he'll do it without having ever snapped a ball in a preseason game to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

And he'll do it against the Seahawks' Legion of Boom defense.

And he'll do it in one of the loudest stadiums anywhere.

But time and again in the two weeks since Linsley inherited the starting job after JC Tretter's knee injury, his Packers coaches and teammates have raved about Linsley's toughness – both physically and mentally.

So when the Seahawks' Irvin said he's going to pray for Linsley because “it’s going to be a long night, man. We've just got to take advantage of it," don't be surprised if Linsley was unaffected.

He has handled everything else just fine so far, something backup quarterback Matt Flynn noticed when the coaches moved Linsley into the starting lineup.

"They're like, 'All right, you're the starter,' so he just quietly walked up there and started taking reps," Flynn said. "He's been impressive."

When Mike McCarthy announced Linsley as the starter, without a burble in his voice he pronounced: "He's going to do a heck of a job."

In fact, it started even before Linsley became a starter. In the first two weeks of training camp, when the Packers conducted the one-on-one pass blocking/pass rushing drill day after day, Linsley took on all comers and lost only two of 10 reps in the drill.

Linsley's task on Thursday at CenturyLink Field will be two-fold: Dealing with the crowd noise and handling the Seahawks' defensive front, specifically nose tackle Brandon Mebane – something that apparently Irvin thinks should make Linsley shudder.

"All the weaknesses that [Linsley] shows us, we've got to expose it," Irvin told reporters in Seattle this week. "Hopefully, ‘Bane’ is going to do what I know he's going to do to him. So, we've just got to be ready."

If you ask the Packers, Linsley will be ready, too. He will have Rodgers and two established guards in T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton to help him along.

"He's a guy we're confident in, and I know he's got a lot of confidence in himself and you never want to put too much pressure on a guy, especially a rookie making his first start, but he's doing a solid job for us," Packers guard T.J. Lang said. "He's making all the right calls, doing all the right things. We have high expectations for him, and he's going to do a lot of good things."