Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sports

Rodgers, Packers’ offense are getting up to speed

  • Packers-Training-Camp-Football-1

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws during a practice at NFL football training camp, Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis. (Jim Matthews/The Post-Crescent via AP)

    Jim Matthews

  • Packers-Football-1-1

    Green Bay Packers backup quarterbacks Tim Boyle (8), Brett Hundley (7) and DeShone Kizer (9) listen as quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talksduring NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis. (Jim Matthews/The Post-Crescent via AP)

    Jim Matthews

GREEN BAY — Aaron Rodgers’ no-look touchdown pass is still the talk of Packers training camp.

The defense was called for offsides to give Rodgers a free play during a two-minute drill in practice Thursday. The play was going left. Rodgers was looking left. But he threw the ball to his right.

Touchdown, Geronimo Allison.

The play looks even better on film to coach Mike McCarthy.

“I think you appreciate it more when you watch the video. I know I did, because he spoils you,” McCarthy said Friday. “You don’t have too many practices around here where he doesn’t make that throw where you’re just like, ‘OK, file that onto the library. That’s the way you want to teach it.’”

Packers fans who dared to worry about Rodgers’ seven interceptions during the first five days of camp can breathe easy. The two-time NFL MVP likes how the offense has worked in the first week.

“Well, I’m working on things in training camp. I’m working on throws, whether it’s looking or no-looking. Trying different plays that we we’re working in,” Rodgers said.

A 7-9 finish last season ended a streak of eight straight playoff appearances for the Packers. The offense struggled while Rodgers was out with broken collarbone, and the defense had familiar problems against the pass.

McCarthy overhauled the coaching staff after the season, which included bringing back Joe Philbin as offensive coordinator. Philbin was the coordinator when the Packers won the Super Bowl in the 2010 season.

“We’ve done a medium overhaul of some offensive concepts, so working on some new stuff and trying to get on the same page with receivers,” Rodgers added.

An added wrinkle for Rodgers is the new looks in practice from coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense.

“Well, they’re just so multiple. They have a lot of different pressures and types of pressures,” Rodgers said. “They’re giving you pressures where they can actually get home. We haven’t had that issue in a while, where they scheme pressures to have a free guy on the play.”

It gives the linemen good practice for the regular season too since the NFC North-rival Minnesota Vikings are among teams that run pressures similar to what the Packers’ defense is doing now.

“So the protection elements for offense are really challenged by his defense, which is great for us,” Rodgers said.

NOTES: WR Jake Kumerow, an undrafted free agent in his second year out of UW-Whitewater, continues to impress with his hands and route-running ability. He could be a long shot to make the roster, especially after the Packers drafted three receivers this year. But the 6-foot-4 Kumerow has earned some reps with the first-string offense and caught Rodgers’ attention. “So there’s going to be some tough decisions when the cutdown happens,” Rodgers said. “We drafted three guys, so. If you’re playing today, you’d like him on the field.”


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