GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers had his weekly gathering with the local media on Monday afternoon and discussed a rough preseason so far for the Packers, playing more no-huddle offense and preparing for this week’s upcoming game in Cincinnati against the Bengals.
Five question-and-answer highlights:
1. At 0-2 right now, is it a big deal at all for you to win a preseason game?
RODGERS: I think it’s a different mindset now that I’ve transitioned from backup in the preseason to a starter. I’ve been the starter for four years now. The preseason used to be my one opportunity to show what I could do, knowing I probably wasn’t going to get a chance in a game. That still should be the mentality for the younger guys. But for the older guys, you’re more trying to hit targets, hit some new plays, new thoughts you want to get in, hit some situational stuff you might not work on in practice, some backed-up situations, some crowd noise when you play on the road. Now, if you’re playing well, you probably are going to win some preseason games. If you’re scoring on offense, your first-team offense is scoring … especially in this game (Thursday in Cincinnati), this is the game where the first team offense is going to play a half. But I think our fans shouldn’t be too worried about the win-loss record in the preseason.
2. What are your thoughts on playing more no-huddle offense so far this preseason?
RODGERS: It’s a tempo thing for us. We want to raise the tempo up a little bit on offense, get some more plays in. (Coach) Mike (McCarthy) is always preaching being a 70-plus play team on offense, and to do that, you probably need to run some up-tempo stuff. We’ve used that as a change-up at times in the past, and depending on how we start, that may or may not be a bigger part of our offense. We’re still trying to work the kinks out.
3. How much do you like the control of being able to call the plays in the no-huddle offense?
RODGERS: I like the opportunity to have some input in plays, but when you play in this offense long enough and with the same coaching staff, it’s the natural progression to have a bigger role in the offense – obviously in the meetings and the game-planning and the ideas and then being able to have a direct impact at times in those no-huddle (situations). It’s just kind of a seamless transition for us.
4. Which young wide receivers have really stood out to you so far in training camp?
RODGERS: Well, I think there’s a number of guys over there who have been making some good strides over the last couple of weeks. Obviously, (Diondre) Borel and Tori (Gurley) have been around longer than the other guys and had some success for us. I think (Jarrett) Boykin had a good week last week, made the most of his opportunities. He’s shown some nice things with his route running.
I don’t know how to pronounce his first name but ‘C’ (Curenski Gilleylen), we call him, has done some good things for us. We’ve been working with him a little bit at running back actually because of our shortage of running backs. Just the way he sees the game is very impressive. So he’s made some strides for us.
And then we’ve had some other guys who have not had as many opportunities, but I think in the third and fourth game will have an opportunity to show the potential they have and realizing that it’s not just our guys watching film, there’s other teams watching, there’s practice squad availabilities. As I would tell these young guys, I used to tell my guys when I was running the scout team, it’s an opportunity. To continue to create opportunities in this league is how you stick around, whether it’s the scout team or the active roster, the more opportunities you can create the longer you’ll stick around.
5. What are some of the things you want to accomplish in Thursday’s preseason game in Cincinnati?
RODGERS: Well, we really haven’t had a really good red-zone set. We got the turnover and scored outside the red zone last week, so to get in the red zone, maybe a goal-to-go opportunity, to be able to punch that in is going to be important for us. No third-and-short for us last week, to get a third and short and convert is going to be important for us. Last year, we were below the league average, I believe, in third-down conversions and third-and-one, so to convert a couple of those would be nice, keep drives going. Haven’t had a 10-plus play drive yet. That’s something that would be good for our guys. I don’t know if Sitty (Josh Sitton) and (Jeff) Saturday and those guys want one, but it would be good to kind of get some reps where we’re real tired and they’re real tired, so a 10-plus play drive wouldn’t be bad.