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Richard Rodgers Receives Praise from Packers Quarterback, Coach

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Richard Rodgers Receives Praise from Packers Quarterback, Coach

Some observers may have scratched their head when the Green Bay Packers made California tight end Richard Rodgers their third round draft choice.

It's difficult to blame them. After all, Rodgers declared for the draft as an underclassman coming off a junior season in which he scored a single touchdown and Cal went just 1-11.

In the short amount of time Rodgers has been in Green Bay, however, he's starting to show why the Packers made him a Top 100 selection in the draft (98th overall). Just as the Packers quarterback.

"When we made the pick, some of these so-called experts on the draft channel said that he was a late sixth-round pick, I think they had him as far as a grade, which is pretty laughable when you watch the talent that he's got and the ability, especially with some of the plays he made today," said Aaron Rodgers, no relation.

The Packers are currently in the final week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), the end of a month-long crash course in the team's schemes and systems for the rookies.

Tuesday was the final day of OTAs open to the public and media, the day Rodgers referenced when his new tight end made so many plays on the practice field.

"I just try to do what I can out there, and that's a great compliment from him, and I'm just trying to do my part and help the team win," said Richard Rodgers.

One more week remains as part of the Packers' offseason program, the mandatory minicamp held next week, June 17 to 19: the final opportunity for Rodgers to learn the offense in a team environment before training camp begins in late July and the learning curve only gets steeper.

As it stands now in June, the Packers are practicing sans pads, so there's only so much Rodgers can prove. There's no contact, so it's difficult for him to show his mettle in the blocking department.

But for his part, Rodgers is making the most of the opportunities presented to him.

"He had a big-time catch today, and I just think he's a natural in space," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "I'm excited to see him when we get to the in-line work in training camp. But as far as all the movement, playing in space, picking up the scheme, Richard's off to a very good start."

Through mere circumstance, Rodgers has found himself in a pretty good position throughout the offseason in Green Bay.

The future of former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is still in doubt due to his injury situation. Currently, he's still a free agent and may or may not be a member of the Packers in 2014.

Although Andrew Quarless re-signed with Green Bay in the offseason, he has yet to take part in a practice open to the public. Presumably, the coaching staff is bringing him along slowly as they keep in mind the severe knee injury he suffered with multiple torn ligaments in 2011.

And for the first two weeks OTAs, Brandon Bostick wasn't taking part in the public practices either as he recovered from surgery on his foot.

For the majority of the offseason program, Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner were the only healthy veterans taking part in practice, leaving plenty of opportunities for rookies like Rodgers and Colt Lyerla.

In the months of May and June Rodgers is impressing with his athleticism and a pair of hands that have been hailed as one of his biggest strengths.

It will be different during training camp when he's lining up in a three-point stance on the line scrimmage across from the likes of Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews, but Rodgers will cross that bridge when it arrives.

"That's probably the biggest part is just getting the playbook down and learning where you're supposed to be at certain times with the coverages," said Rodgers.

His quarterback shares a similar sentiment.

"Again, it's helmets and shorts, but you have to be excited about his body type and the hands," said Aaron Rodgers. "He's made some incredible catches, makes it look easy.

"I think he's really going to push for some playing time if he can transfer what he's done in the spring now to the fall and have the potential to be an impact player."

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

Photo: Packers tight end Richard Rodgers by Brian Carriveau.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

aManOfTheNorth's picture

Shutting down Rodgers won't be enough to shut down Rodgers.

The TKstinator's picture

How the heck can any team stop Rodgers to Rodgers?
It defies logic.

JimTaylor31's picture

I have to admit I had doubts when Ted drafted Rogers in the 3rd. I thought at the time it was a big reach based on need. Sure hope he proves me and a lot of other folks wrong. Good impression so far.

MarkinMadison's picture

When you look at WHAT this new Cal coaching staff tried to do with the other Rodgers last year it is not shocking that he had a down year. I doubt that there is anyone in the business who evaluates pass catchers better than the Packers, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. It will be interesting to see how he does this year, because he could wind up making the Cal staff look really bad if he has an all-rookie season. And I don't think #12 would mind helping him get there at all.

Clay Zombo's picture

What I like most about Rodgers was finding out that his Father is a TEs coach for the Panthers and has been one for many years. So Im sure he's well versed in the technical part of the position and no self respecting TEs coach is going to let his son off the hook on his blocking so hes probably pretty good at that too.

Now that we've seen/heard that he moves well in space and catches everything thrown at him so far, It sounds more and more like Ted actually knew what he was doing when he made him a top 100 pick.

I admit I said WTF when he was drafted that high but that was because I had never heard of him before and his college career was pretty pedestrian.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"It sounds more and more like Ted actually knew what he was doing..."

Lol,ya think??

My initial thought was "wtf" as well,but as soon as I took a peak at his combine numbers and compared them to Finley's I immediately calmed down and thought the coaches would groom him just as they did with Finley. I also thought Rodgers must've had a strong attribute (that didn't always stand out in his limited amount of tape) that impressed MM/TT.

Stroh's picture

FYI... His dad is the ST coordinator, not the TE's coach.

I always liked the fact he was a blocking TE before he became a receiver as a Sr. That showed me he could be good in all aspects of TE play. Given that he was a receiver you had to know he had some movement and ball skills.

Imma Fubared's picture

All I know is the draft analyst questioned him being picked in the third? They thought he was a 5th rounder based on talent and skill level.

Stroh's picture

Yes your right... That IS all you know!

RC Packer Fan's picture

At one time draft Analysts had Brian Brohm as the best QB in the draft and a possibility to be a top 5 pick. Also, many thought he would over take Rodgers and be the Packers starter...

While I like some draft analysts, they aren't always right.

Jordan's picture

Quarterbacks are in a league of their own when scouting and trying to make judgements on whether or not they can succeed in the NFL. QBs are hit or miss.

Richard Rodgers can catch the seam pass in stride. That tightend seam pass is an integral part of the Packers' offense. IMO, Rodgers' ability to run that seam route and catch it in stride....and doing it effortlessly with soft hands is the primary reason the Packers' drafted him.

http://youtu.be/QkwhrU77dyk

Stroh's picture

The TE seam route used to be integral. I don't know if that's the case any more. When we didn't have a running game to speak of and a dynamic TE like Finley it made sense since it occupied the LB and Safeties. With Lacy and no TE w/ Finley's ability it doesn't have to be as important. It can be helpful, but those LB and Safeties are now being occupied by Lacy and the running game.

IMO Rodgers was drafted for his all around game. He was a 270 lb blocking TE early in college then due to the coaching change became a better receiver. Rodgers could become a Gronk-lite TE. The coaching change is probably the best thing that could have ever happened for Rodgers. It made him a draftable TE instead of a blocking TE that you can pick up in FA.

Nick Perry's picture

Maybe that's why he's a draft analyst and not a scout, coach, or having anything to do with the actual game of football. I didn't get the pick at first either, same with Thornton. Then I did some research and saw the circumstances Rodgers went through in college, and how quickly Thornton was rising up the draft boards and stopped wondering. I hope you're not trusting Kiper over Thompson.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

TE will be one of the most interesting position battles to watch this summer. I have no idea at this point who will start.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I'm guessing/hoping the better blocker wins.

lucky953's picture

Yes, all sounds encouraging. There's just this pesky little voice in the back of my head whispering "DJ Williams, Mackey Award winner". D**n mosquitos!

JimTaylor31's picture

Yep. We should temper our expectations until training camp. DJ had a habit of being a perennial OTA and mini-camp all star then disappearing when the real bullets started flying. I have my fingers crossed that Rogers will develop into the real deal but he is a rookie and will take some time to develop.

HankScorpio's picture

I have a natural tendency to think the "conventional wisdom" needs to be viewed with a heavy dose of skepticism. For that reason, I love the TT picks that the Draft Industrial Complex hates.

Nick Collins is the poster boy for that. Drafted in round 2, most pundits panned the pick as a horrible reach. He turned out pretty good in the end.

In 2-3 years, R. Rodgers will have proven himself one way or the other. Until then, it is just a lot of talk. That's what we do here, so saying that is a not a criticism, just a perspective.

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