Pack QB Rodgers won't criticize porous protection
Even after getting sacked a league-worst 20 times and taking plenty of hits in the Green Bay Packers' first four games, Aaron Rodgers isn't about to complain about his porous protection. Despite spending too much time on the turf, the second-year starter isn't inclined to call out his line. "It really doesn't do any good," Rodgers said Wednesday. "I trust those guys. I love those guys. They take care of me, I take care of them. That's the way it goes. We have a tight-knit relationship. Nothing gets done when you do something like that publicly." Rodgers reiterated Wednesday that he has confidence in his linemen, adding that everyone on the team wants and needs to play better for the Packers (2-2) to hit the high expectations they carried into the season. "We're all pros," Rodgers said. "We all hold ourselves to a standard of play, and I'd say myself and those guys included would probably all agree that personally, we haven't played up to our potential at all times. We all want to play better. We're going to play better." They'll get their chance in Sunday's home game against the Detroit Lions (1-4). Veteran left tackle Chad Clifton may return after missing two games with a sprained right ankle. Clifton's return would allow fill-in left tackle Daryn Colledge to return to left guard, and Jason Spitz could move from left guard back to center. The team also made a deal to bring back veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher on Monday. Tauscher is working his way back from a knee injury last December and is not likely to play this week, but could eventually push Allen Barbre for the starting right tackle job. "I'm going to continue to stay confident," Rodgers said. "They want to do better and we had a good start to the week today. Getting Chad back obviously helps. Daryn can go back to his more natural position of left guard. Jason is back at center where we worked all training camp. And I think Barbre's got to realize this is going to be good for him, to push him, bringing Tausch back. And just having Tauscher around here is fun, definitely miss his spirit and character." But while Rodgers isn't complaining about the number of sacks he has been subjected to, wide receiver Greg Jennings vented some frustration. Jennings said Monday that he wants more passes thrown his way, but understands it's futile to complain to Rodgers when he's getting hit so much. Jennings also wondered if the Packers would alter their play-calling in an attempt to minimize protection problems. "If we can't protect, if that is the case, let's take some of the stress off the offensive line - period," Jennings said. "Or off the protection. That's typically how it works. Will we do that? I don't know. If it's raining, I'm going to pull out an umbrella." In all, Jennings said, Rodgers was doing a remarkable job under the circumstances. "He's second to none," Jennings said. "I'll give you a statistic: He has one pick. One pick, and he's been hit more than any quarterback in the league." Packers coach Mike McCarthy brushed off Jennings' comments Wednesday, and didn't want to delve into the problems the Packers had in their first four games. "We've talked about it and it's been addressed," McCarthy said. "When your team statistics are in order, your individual statistics will be in order. That's where I am at on that." McCarthy recently noted that Rodgers shoulders a significant responsibility for the team's sack total because he has held on to the ball too long in some situations. Rodgers agreed, but said it would be counterproductive to radically change the way he plays. "I'm playing quarterback the way that I know how to play quarterback: instinctually, trusting my feet, trusting my time clock," Rodgers said. "And that's going to happen at some point. I'm going to hold the ball too long, maybe feeling like I'm not under pressure, not seeing the pressure. But I'm not going to change."