GREEN BAY, Wis. — It was more preseason work than what Aaron Rodgers got last year, and it was a lot more productive, too. Scoring four touchdowns in eight possessions over a two-game span, the Green Bay Packers would be thrilled if those results carried forward to the regular season.
With a Week 1 matchup on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks less than two weeks away, Rodgers played his final tune-up Friday. Though Rodgers had an uncharacteristically low completion rate (45 percent) in the win over the Oakland Raiders, he led the Packers to three touchdowns by midway through the second quarter before exiting.
As he did last year, Rodgers won’t play in Green Bay’s preseason finale, but the former NFL Most Valuable Player did what he needed to in preseason to prepare for the Seahawks.
"I think we’re ready," Rodgers said. "I think it’s been a good preseason. We scored some points, moved the ball. We saw what we wanted to see out of our skill players and the offensive line. We have 13 days to the game."
Rodgers didn’t play in the Packers’ first preseason game, but he was in for two drives at St. Louis and six drives against Oakland. Scoring 32 points and only punting three times is much better than how Green Bay fared with Rodgers on the field a year ago.
In 2013, the Packers failed to score a touchdown in six preseason series with their starting quarterback. That’s why Rodgers set out two basic goals for himself in this year’s preseason action: to score a touchdown and to stay healthy. Check and check.
But there was more to it than just that.
"(Quarterbacks coach) Alex (Van Pelt) challenged me to do a couple things in this preseason; we’ve hit a couple of those," Rodgers said. "I think it’s good when you can take a couple shots, not too many, but a couple shots in live action. We had some adversity at times with some poor execution, but we still put 20 points on the board and had three scoring drives and a lot of plays in the first half. So, we had a lot of things we wanted to hit."
Rodgers finished his preseason completing 20 of 33 passes for 267 yards with three touchdowns for a passer rating of 116.6. Last preseason, Rodgers went 17-for-24 passing for 237 yards and had no touchdowns.
Head coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t say much, but he sure seems to agree with Rodgers that the starting offense is ready for Seattle.
"I feel good about where our starters are coming out of this game tonight," McCarthy said.
When Green Bay runs out onto Lambeau Field next Thursday to wrap up its preseason, Rodgers will watch as Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien battle to be his backup. But with a much more important Sept. 4 date circled on the Packers’ calendar, Rodgers hopes he’s done enough to send the champs to an early 0-1 record.