Aaron Rodgers, so cool under pressure en route to being named Super Bowl MVP five months earlier, sounded positively flustered.The Green Bay Packers appear to be the only team in the NFL who have not held some sort of large-scale, player-organized workouts during the lockout. As the leader of the team, a few of his teammates have said it would be up to Rodgers to be the point man in getting the far-flung players together at the same time in the same place.
Instead, the players mostly have been content to work out on their own, even though most — perhaps all — of the veterans were in Green Bay on June 16 to pick up their Super Bowl ri “We did have a great gathering in Green Bay a few Thursdays ago,” Rodgers, during a conference call promoting next month’s American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament, said of the team’s ring ceremony. “Other than that, we haven’t had anything official. The reasoning is that guys’ schedules and the risk-reward, which I think (coach) Mike McCarthy hit on, so I’m going to allow his comments to kind of answer that question.”
Later in the call, when asked if he’d thrown to any of his receivers, Rodgers said only that he’d seen a bunch of his former Pleasant Valley Vikings (high school) and Butte College Roadrunners (junior college) teammates.
“Just kind of been sitting on my butt the whole time,” Rodgers said sarcastically.
Whether the lack of informal practices will impact the team remains to be seen, of course, and there are plenty of good reasons for Rodgers and the team’s leaders to have decided working out at home was in the individual players’ best interests.
The Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 6 — a full five weeks after 20 of the league’s 32 teams began clearing out their lockers. There likely won’t be any major upheaval on the roster. Other than a couple of positions, free agency doesn’t figure to have a major impact on the starting lineup. The rookies don’t need to win major roles and five weeks of training camp should be plenty of time to at least get them integrated into situational packages. The coaching staff returns basically intact. No major scheme changes will be made.
Thus, instead of participating in some sort of seven-on-seven drill with his teammates, Rodgers has been doing the “usual offseason stuff” of getting in shape for the season through workouts and nutrition. And while he was reluctant to talk in specific
s, Rodgers — whose career passer rating of 98.4 is tops in NFL history — said he’s been working on certain aspects of his game.
“I’ve been throwing enough to where I’m not worried about if I’m going to be ready for when this thing shakes down,” he said.
With a team that’s well-positioned in terms of youth, experience and stability, Green Bay has as good a shot as any recent S
per Bowl champion to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the New England Patriots won Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX following the 2002 and 2003 regular seasons.
Rodgers tried to throw cold water on that talk but is embracing the challenge of making a mark on football’s history books.
“I can tell you that what I’ve seen in six years in the league is teams have four- or five-year windows where if you can have your guys signed and be young enough and fortunate enough to avoid some major injuries, you can really make a good run,” he said. “I like our chances. I like the guys we’ve got coming back, the guys we’ve got coming back from injured reserve and I think we have a young enough team with enough experience to really be able to make a run consistently for the next four or five years.”
The Packers are expected to start training camp in exactly one month. That’s pending an end to the lockout and a new collective bargaining agreement.
“I think everyone has a sense that it’s going to end soon,” said Rodgers, who is the team’s representative to the former NFLPA. “It’s just a matter of how ‘soon’ is ‘soon.’ I know our representation is meeting with the owners pretty frequently and I think we’re all hopeful that we’ll be able to get something done quickly.”