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What Should We Expect from Aaron Rodgers?

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What Should We Expect from Aaron Rodgers?

It's already Week 2 of the NFL preseason and for the Green Bay Packers, that means the Steelers are coming to Lambeau. It could also mean the debut of Aaron Rodgers. 

Green Bay opened with a win over the Titans last week, but as we all know, the score really isn't what matters in the preseason. It's about evaluations, position battles and young players trying to prove themselves. It's also about trying to help the veterans get ready for the season, even though the live action most starters see is very limited.

Speaking of limited action, Rodgers (it seems) will take the field for the first time tonight and judging by how the Packers have handled him in recent years, it's possible it will be his only appearance. However, with Jimmy Graham and some new wide receivers to break in, Rodgers could stand some extended game action, if not tonight, then certainly in game three.

While this isn't going to be Rodgers first action since he broke his collarbone against the Vikings, it will be his first start since being put on IR after the Carolina game. Yet, he seems completely healthy. Rodgers has looked good in camp according to all the reports, besides a few more interceptions, but that should be expected since he is facing a new defense in camp for the first time since 2009. Fans are excited about defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and they should be. But one reason to be excited that has nothing to do with the defense is the impact he could have on Rodgers.

How better to prepare Rodgers for teams like the Vikings and Eagles then Pettine, who is excellent at throwing different looks at the opposing quarterback. Mike McCarthy said he wanted a defensive coordinator that could compete against Rodgers on a daily basis and have success against top-5 quarterbacks. Well, if Pettine and the Packers can have success against Rodgers, they can succeed against anyone.

It seems particularly like the practice against different blitz packages will help. Tonight against the Steelers will be a good barometer for the offensive line, even though Rodgers likely won't play much. Yet, when Aaron is out on the field, what should we expect to see from him?

It's safe to assume he will play at most 1-2 possessions. If the Packers go on a long scoring drive to open things up offensively, his night might be over right then and there. On the other hand, though, Rodgers does have some things he needs to accomplish. 

The first thing I'd like to see from Rodgers is how he works with Graham, the prized free-agent tight end from Seattle. Graham is the kind of tight end Rodgers has never had. Jared Cooks had moments and Martellus Bennett is good too but Graham is at another level. At least he was. He only racked up 520 yards last season, yet he caught 10 touchdown passes. The season before, he had over 900 yards and six touchdowns. And with Rodgers, if the two can develop a rapport, he could be as good as he's ever been, especially with Davante Adams and Randall Cobb to take some of the focus off him.

I'm sure there will be designs of getting Graham the ball and trying to make the two feel comfortable together. That would be a smart move by Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin. The other thing they should do is try to get Rodgers some reps with the young receivers. 

Rodgers definitely has a trust and rapport developed with Adams, Cobb and even Geronimo Allison. But the Packers will need more than just those three guys. It's hard to say how many receivers Green Bay will choose but with four promising rookies, and other young guys like Trevor Davis and DeAngelo Yancey, the cuts are not going to be easy. It would be helpful to see how Jake Kumerow fared with Rodgers and with the first team. To me, he has been the most impressive receiver and if I was going to keep one of the rookies, it might be him. J'Mon Moore is another guy I still have hope for along with the other two newcomers Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez -Valdes Scantling. 

With that in mind, the ideal scenario for Rodgers would be 2-3 possessions tonight. Give him some extended time and let's judge these wideouts with the quarterback who will actually be throwing them the football. Obviously, that is done in practice but the bullets are more live in the preseason and it would be nice to see how some of the young guys work with Rodgers.

Other than that, Rodgers just needs to get out healthy. He needs to be smart and not trying to make anything happen. It's a preseason game, get down for goodness sake. Throw the ball away. If a rusher is coming hard at you, give yourself up, Aaron. His health is the most important thing. 

There is always a risk of injury, but Rodgers needs to play. There is work to be done and if he can do it tonight, maybe Green Bay can limit his exposure over the final two warmups for the regular season. 




Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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

Samson's picture

Play 16 out of 16 games during the regular season.
The rest will fall into place.

porupack's picture

uh, ok. No argument there; I guess sequentially the post season would logically fall into place after 16. So how does personnel get assigned in the preseason games, or do they just fall in place whoever wants to scrimmage? :-)

Spock's picture

If Bahk and Bulaga can play I expect Rodgers to play (at most) one or two series. By all reports he and Jimmy G. are already in sync. I'd love to see a Rodgers to Graham TD in the red zone. I'll actually get to see the game telecast here in Tucson (albeit at 11 pm) tonite. Should be fun to watch! Go, Pack, Go!!!!

Minniman's picture

Actually, I want to see how he reacts without Bahk and BB - as contrarian as that may sound!

I want to see if AR changes his style a little with regards to extending plays and how he's moving around in (and out of) the pocket.

I'd like to see a couple of deep balls to the rookie burners and some accurate back-shoulder throws to see how that shoulder has rehabbed too.

Minniman's picture

Well answering my own post - I got to see everything that I wanted to see..... AR lighting it up on offense and making everyone looking good ...... Gute, kindly pay the man and bring on the reg season!

The tackling technique of a couple of secondary players (that should know better) resulting in chunk plays piqued my interest.

...... next week I'll be interested to see if Mike Pettine opts for the ringside seat against Oakland and cuts a b-line to one k.mack at the end of the game !!!! (joke - kind of!)

PatrickGB's picture

With the “Persian Diversion and Great White Whale” manning the edges of the oline, I have no fear that Aaron will find our bigger, faster, stronger receivers streaking down the field and in the end zone! GPG

porupack's picture

That's quality, and needs to find a way to the locker room bulletin board somehow.

porupack's picture

I wouldn't want ARodgers to waste any preseason action with JGraham if he is limited to 2 possessions. There is of course some value, but not compared to the priority to get those young WRs evaluated and he has 6-15 plays to give them the opps with the high standards QB #1 can provide. That is maybe 2 targets each if Cobb and Adams sit.
Can MVS and ESB follow up with Act II against the steelers #1s? The priority to evaluate MVS, ESB, plus JmM and Kumerow is for big looming decisions ahead.
Also, why give division foes any prep tape on JGraham if can be avoided. JGraham is a pro and they can mesh practically from the practices. Unveil that weapon out against Vikings, even though everyone has tape on Graham from NO and Sea, just no hints as to how GB will use him.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Doesn't matter if you use Graham or not in the preseason. The Packers are going to use his height and jumping ability. Good luck trying to stop the back shoulder throw on a 6' 7" guy. As for the rookie receivers I'm hoping Adam's, Cobb, and Graham dominate along with our RBs. That way we have time for them to develop and Allison can hold up the #4 WR job unless MVS has a repeat performance and pushes him down the depth chart. Can't wait to see the Packers Steelers game.

Chris Peterson's picture

Very good points. Don't want to show too much. Just want Aaron to get a feel for throwing him the football. And I want to see how he does with some of the young wide receivers. I really like Jake Kumerow. Would like to see him get more work with Aaron.

4thand10's picture

I fully expect to be screaming...... J I M M A Y after a TD bomb in the first Quarter and a strange "he's.... baaack" look on a bewildered Steelers dbs face. Aside from that, I do hope the rookies step up even further. Burks, A Thomas, MVS, St Brown. J Moore especially, I want to see if he can do anything. And of course... Kumero Uno. I'd like to look at King and Alexander in game play. I'm excited to watch tonight.

Mojo's picture

Actually just wanted to make a couple unrelated observations.

The new turf at Lambeau held up well last week from what I could tell. In the past, even though it might look nice even in December, it played horribly in terms of giving way under players. It has been going on for years. This caused a lot of slippage and potential injury to the players. And since we play there more than anyone else it would behoove us to have a field that our highly paid highly talented players can depend on.

Another thing I wanted to mention was James Lofton. Last week, he got a few names mixed-up, but otherwise I found him lighthearted, witty, engaged, knowledgeable and quite enjoyable as an analyst. We'll see if he can continue to impress if tonight's game turns into what can typically happen in preseason - a dull fest.

4thand10's picture

I liked him as an analyst. Agree with your sentiments. I partial though, I remember watching him play for the Pack :-)

Oppy's picture

Rich Gannon was far better than Lofton IMO.
I get it, Lofton has that Packers connection...
Gannon was far better.

Rak47's picture

In the booth yes, on the field no! Lofton is not as good as Gannon in the booth oppy, but that doesn't mean he's not good. Few are as good as Gannon as an analyst.

Rak47's picture

We'll disagree on that one oppy, Packer connection aside I don't think a guy who couldn't beat out Sean Salisbury and Tommy Kramer should rank in the same stratosphere as Lofton. While Gannon improved with age and better coaching Lofton started from day one while Gannon showed almost nothing his first 8 years in the league.

EdsLaces's picture

Get Rodgers outta there quick . I wanna see Burks Jackson MVS And Alexander put in work though...

Old School's picture

As long as Aaron Rodgers stays upright and healthy, we're going to have a very good offense and we'll certainly be in the hunt after Thanksgiving.

The more we run, and the better our blockers are, the greater the likelihood of having Aaron Rodgers upright and healthy.

Don't expect too much from the defense early on, but we do have a lot of good players out there. And Capers is gone, so I think we'll be average-ish on that side of the ball.

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