GREEN BAY, Wis. — With just one more game until the bye week — yeah, it’s really early this season, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talked about his wide receivers, topping a record-setting performance and how to knock off the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense.
Here are five question-and-answer highlights from the interview with Rodgers:
1. What do you do for an encore performance after tying the franchise record with 480 passing yards and breaking other all-time records in Week 2?
RODGERS: “The bar’s been set pretty high around here. I just try and remember that I’m just one of 53 to go out there every week and try and do their job as best they can. Obviously, mine gets more attention, more scrutiny, maybe a slightly greater responsibility, but it’s a job that I take very seriously and I expect to play well on Sundays. That’s because I put a lot of time in during the week, I prepare, I draw on my experience, on my recall from that week when I get in the game and I’ve got coaches who get the most out of me by not allowing me to be complacent. So I just remember I’ve got to do my job, everybody else does as well, and when it comes together you can have the kind of success you had on Sunday.”
2. There are three receivers (almost four with Jermichael Finley) on pace to have 1,000 receiving yards this season. Is it going to happen?
RODGERS: “That’s a high bar, that’s a pretty high bar there. I think it’s possible. We have some great weapons. We’ve been throwing it around a lot the first two games. It just depends on how teams are going to play us. Obviously we’ve got to complement our passing game with our running game. We had a 100-yard rusher, which was exciting for everybody, and we need to have that balance. If you have that balance, you’re going to have the opportunity to spread it around a little bit. I told the guys, I reminded them, I’m going to go through my progressions and I’m going to throw to the open guy and the high-percentage throw. Some games it might be a few targets and some games it could be 15, but to those guys’ credit, they run their routes to win all the time and they’re incredible after the catch. It’s my job to put the ball in the proper number and the proper spot and allow them to make some plays after the catch. If it shakes down that they’re around 1,000 at the end of the year, then so be it.”
3. Does it work well because the receivers are unselfish?
RODGERS: “I think those guys are great teammates. They block for each other, they care about each other having success. James Jones is an excellent example of a guy who goes from zero catches to 11 and practices the same. He did today, hopefully that keeps up the next two days, but he practiced the same today that he did last week after not having any catches. It’s a mindset, it’s a way they’re coached. I think they’re coached extremely well by Edgar Bennett, I think they’re prepared to play, the details are always noted and they care about each other and the team success more than the individual success, and that says a lot about that position group because you don’t always get that from that group.”
4. A.) How would you rate your first-down production in the first two games?
RODGERS: “I’d have to look at the stats. I’m not sure what the stats are.”
4. B.) You’re No. 1 in the league.
RODGERS: “Are we? Yeah, it’s pretty good then. The key for us is getting us in third-and-manageable (situations). I think we’re 4 of 10 both games on third down, which is not as good as we want to be, obviously, but we’ve obviously done a good job on first and second down because to only have 10 third downs each game is good for us and obviously you’d like to convert a few more of those. But first-down and second-down production are very important to this offense.”
5. What makes the Cincinnati Bengals’ pass rush good?
RODGERS: “Well, I think as is the case with any great four-man pass rush, it’s a combination of strong guys inside who get a push and guys outside who can set the edge and rush with speed or power. Their front four is an excellent front four, obviously some of the names that jump out, or one of the names, is Geno Atkins, and he’s one of the top guys at his position, gets a lot of notoriety. But the guys that can rush outside and the guys they can bring in, they’re eight deep on the line, are all high-energy, high-effort, tall, athletic, strong players. Anytime you can get a great inside push like they can give you, with an outside rush that complements it, makes it very difficult.”