GREEN BAY, Wis. — With less than four weeks to go before the Green Bay Packers begin the regular season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers talked with the media about adding Cedric Benson, having so many injuries on the team, getting the offensive line healthy and more.
Five question-and-answer highlights:
1. What are your goals for the preseason?
RODGERS: I just don’t want to get hurt. If I can get out of the preseason not getting hurt, that’s kind of a win. Obviously, we want to score some points, move the ball, but as much as anything, it’s getting those five linemen together and making sure the protections are looking good. It’s the preseason, so you’re not going to see a whole lot of blitzing, probably, but you want to make sure you feel good about who your left tackle is and how he’s blocking, especially in the NFC North, and score some points.
2. Are you glad starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse is finally able to play again after missing a lot of time due to a concussion?
RODGERS: It’s great having Marshall back. I think he needs some reps with the six of us together. Having him in there with T.J. (Lang) and Josh (Sitton) and Bryan (Bulaga) and Jeffy (Saturday), it’ll be nice having us together and start to gel together.
3. There are more than 20 injured players on the Packers right now. What’s going on?
RODGERS: It’s pretty bad luck. I don’t know if you can put your finger on one thing exactly but we’ve got to get healthy. We’ve got to get healthy, we’ve got to stay healthy, we’ve got to see who the 53 is going to be. I think you feel bad for guys that had a legit shot at either making this team or putting some good film together and getting picked up by somebody else. I was telling (running back Du’ane) Bennett, he was kind of my dark horse to lead the preseason in rushing. We always pick one guy that might play a lot in the fourth quarters and put up some yards. In the past seven years, we’ve put up some big numbers, and I thought he was a guy who could really show some stuff late in games and then get picked up by us or another team. You feel bad for a guy like that.
4. How valuable can Benson be in teaching the younger running backs on the team?
RODGERS: Hopefully, very valuable. He’s got a lot of experience, a lot of carries, been in the league for seven years and now this is his eighth season. I think that’s the one thing that I’m going to push on him a little bit is to lead those guys. We don’t have a lot of depth in that room. Alex (Green) is coming off a year where he didn’t play and Brandon (Saine) played a little bit. We have (John) Kuhn in there; John does a great job of teaching those young guys protections and run schemes. He knows the offense probably as well as I do. Having another voice in there is going to be good.
5. How does backup quarterback Graham Harrell look to you right now?
RODGERS: He knows the offense a lot better. He’s becoming an expert in the offense, which is important for the game to really slow down for you, so he’s understanding that better. I think, really from the first day he got here, he’s throwing the ball a lot better than probably most of us expected and he’s still throwing the ball really well. He just understands the offense better, so he’s not really thinking as much. He’s doing better with the protection schemes. He made a great protection adjustment in the game and hit (Randall) Cobb down the middle on the big play there in that two-minute drive. When you see a play like that, you realize he’s come a long way.