GREEN BAY, Wis. — On the first day of Packers minicamp, quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers talked about a variety of topics.
Five question-and-answer highlights:
1. How have the new coaches and coaching adjustments on offense been? RODGERS: I think they’re doing a great job, I really do. It’s been fun working with (new quarterbacks coach) Ben (McAdoo). (New offensive coordinator) Tom (Clements) is still in that room a lot of times, but I think Ben is a great young coach. (New tight ends coach) Jerry Fontenot is a guy who’s moved three different spots in three years, but I think the guys really appreciate his approach to the game. (Wide receivers coach) Edgar (Bennett) made a switch a couple years ago to receivers and he’s done a great job with those guys, really emphasizing ball security. Having (running backs coach) Alex (Van Pelt) in the mix, as well, adds a very sharp brain and it’s been fun to get to know him a little bit better, too. I love our staff. Mike (McCarthy) does a great job of bringing in guys who understand the position, either played the position or studied their butt off to make sure they understand what they’re teaching, and make sure they understand how to get it across to the players. So it’s a great staff.
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2. How do you plan to spend the five weeks between minicamp and the start of training camp? RODGERS: At this point in the season, the offseason, we keep on rolling through. The only time I won’t be up at training as hard is the week I play in that golf tournament in Tahoe. I’ll still be working out there, but I will leave here on Thursday, I have a charity event on Friday, and I’ll be working out Saturday all the way through. Pick up where I left off here and just keep on rolling.
3. Are you hungrier than ever? RODGERS: No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s a learning experience when you go through tough losses, but you learn how to deal with the positive and the frustration. That was put behind me pretty soon after that defeat (in the playoffs against the New York Giants). I don’t need things like that to necessarily drive me. I’m very self-motivated and driven to be a great player on my own. I realized it took a lot to get to this point and it’s going to take even more to stay at this point.
4. What is it like with so many new players on the team? RODGERS: It’s different. There’s not a lot of guys here who have been around as long as I have on the team. That’s kind of weird. We were laughing the other day with A.J. (Hawk) about Danny Muir coming back and realizing there’s probably only four or five guys who actually knew who Danny Muir was before he came back here. It just shows you how much change is in this league and how you got to keep staying on the top of your game to stick around.
5. What are your thoughts on wide receivers James Jones and Diondre Borel? RODGERS: I think James has had an incredible spring, I really do. I think he’s come back in great shape. I think you’ve seen him making a lot of the plays he knows he can make. The catches were down a bit last year, but the touchdowns were up. He still had a big impact for us. It’s going to be on Edgar and Tom and Mike to figure out what the best rotation is for that, but I see James as an important part of this football team and a guy who’s continuing to get better every year. Diondre Borel is a guy who gives us a different look because he plays a similar position as Randall Cobb. I think Diondre has made as big a jump as anybody from Year 1 to 2. He really made the most of his reps on the scout team last year. He’s a great teammate, a hard worker and he really understands the game. I think he has the luxury of being a quarterback in college, so he sees the game through a quarterback’s eyes, and that gives him a slight advantage over guys he’s competing with because he understands timing and progression maybe a little bit quicker than some of those other guys. Diondre, I think, has had one of the top springs out of the guys who you were looking for to make a jump.