GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers believes he’ll play at least a little bit on Thursday night in the preseason opener at New England, but the Packers quarterback doesn’t believe the No. 1 offense needs a whole lot of in-game work to get ready for the regular season.
In past preseasons, Rodgers at times has sat out both the first and last games. It wouldn’t be a shock if he did that again, but judging by the number of reps he took against the scout team in Tuesday’s practice, it appears he’s starting Thursday night’s game.
He may not play much, though. History would indicate the starters will play the most in the third preseason game, as usual, but Rodgers doesn’t sound concerned with having to play extensively.
“With having all your returning starters back, there’s not a whole lot of things we haven’t seen together, so it’s just about getting on the same page,” Rodgers said. “Communication is important.
“I would expect this first game to be very vanilla from their defense, and the same for our offense.”
Rodgers’ top priority in any preseason game is to “try and stay healthy.” Several young receivers are banged up, but otherwise the offense is going into the preseason opener with plenty of depth.
Defensive back is suddenly the position group getting thin due to injuries, as cornerbacks Damarious Randall (groin) and Tay Glover-Wright (hamstring) missed practice, with Demetri Goodson (calf) dropping out part way through. Safety Sean Richardson (pectoral) is also new to the injury list, while the defensive front continues to miss Mike Daniels (ankle), Letroy Guion (hamstring) and Nick Perry (groin).
Their status for Thursday’s game is in question, and the Packers have always taken the high side of caution health-wise in preseason games.
On another note, Rodgers was asked about the news from Jets training camp, where a since-cut defensive teammate sucker-punched QB Geno Smith, breaking his jaw and sidelining the starter for 6-10 weeks.
Calling a sucker punch “the worst thing you can think of and obviously not a big sign of toughness,” Rodgers explained there’s a big difference between a dust-up on the practice field amongst teammates and one in a professional locker room.
“When you get back in the locker room, that’s where you’re a team again,” he said. “Being a professional is about leaving stuff on the field …
“I don’t feel like this deserves some major response from the league or anything. Teams need to police themselves.
“You have to rise above it,” he continued. “When you get back in the locker room, you’re going in the same direction, so you’ve got to bring it together and be a pro.”
Interestingly, Rodgers also expressed his displeasure with the new extra-point rule, which moves the line of scrimmage to kick a PAT back to the 15-yard line. A two-point conversion can be tried from the 2-yard line.
“I don’t like it,” he said. “I’m a traditionalist, so I like the extra point where it was at. I think it goes against the league’s stance on player safety.
“It’s now become a very important play, especially in the winter time in Green Bay when no field goal is guaranteed. And it doesn’t just go for Green Bay. Anyplace that’s cold or has rain or inclement weather, it’s going to be an interesting decision.”
The ball being live, with a blocked kick or turnover able to be returned by the defense for two points, is where Rodgers believes player safety has been put at risk unnecessarily.
“It could make it more exciting, but I still like the one-pointer from where it was at,” he said.