GREEN BAY—The preseason might’ve ended for the Packers’ starters on Friday night. If it did, Aaron Rodgers said the Packers are ready to begin the regular season.
“I think we’re ready,” Rodgers said following a 31-21 win over the Oakland Raiders. “It’s been a good preseason. We have 13 days to begin.”
That’s the countdown to the Packers’ season opener in Seattle on Sept. 4. How good are the Packers? We’ll find out when they face the Super Bowl-champion Seahawks.
“It’ll be a good test for us. That’s a great football team. There’s going to be a lot of energy in that place. It’s a tough place to win,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers capped his preseason by completing nine of 20 passes for 139 yards, two touchdowns and a 101.9 passer rating. He played nearly all of the first half, took a couple of shots and came away no worse for the wear. In his postgame interview, it was clear Rodgers has turned his attention to the Seahawks.
His backups, however, must remain in the present. For Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien, the battle for the backup quarterback job might be decided next Thursday in the preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Next week’s game will definitely factor into it,” McCarthy said.
Tolzien tightened the competition with a solid performance against the Raiders. He completed eight of 11 passes for 107 yards, one touchdown and a 133.5 passer rating. Flynn was four of 10 for 37 yards and one interception.
“I still look at him as a young player improving,” Coach Mike McCarthy said of Tolzien. “He definitely improved tonight. I liked the way he played tonight.”
Tolzien capped an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Alex Gillett. It put the game out of reach at 31-7.
Other than for a 40-yard touchdown run by Maurice Jones-Drew on the Raiders’ opening possession and two late-game touchdown pass by Matt McGloin, the Packers defense dominated the action.
“I thought we dominated the line of scrimmage,” McCarthy said. “I thought our football team tonight improved. You look at the quality of play and play style. This penalty environment we’re in now is a challenge for everybody. I feel good about where our starters are now.”
Rodgers feels good about the Packers defense.
“They’re playing good. We have a lot of guys that can rush the passer and guys that can cover. It’s just a matter of letting those guys loose,” Rodgers said.
Julius Peppers, Nick Perry and rookie phenom Jayrone Elliott each recorded a sack, and starting quarterback Matt Schaub was held to 13 of 27 for 110 yards and a 59.2 passer rating.
Nose tackle B.J. Raji left the game with an arm injury. McCarthy had no immediate information to offer on the extent of the injury.
“We’ll see what the tests say tomorrow,” McCarthy said.
The Packers are 2-1 in the preseason with one game to play.