GREEN BAY – While Aaron Rodgers can appreciate his coach’s concerns about the sloppiness of Monday night’s practice, the Green Bay Packers quarterback made it clear that he’s not overly worried.
And how did Rodgers get his point across? With his best Allen Iverson impersonation.
“Practice? We're talking about practice?” Rodgers said, smirking. “Not talking about the game, talking about practice, right? Uh .., practice?"
After watching his top two running backs fumble a combined three times (two by James Starks, one by Ryan Grant) and deciding to end practice early so the players could get their ball-skills drills in post-practice, McCarthy took the rare step of criticizing his players for their practice work Monday night.
“I don’t want to disrespect any of my players here, but we look great on paper. There’s no doubt about it,” said McCarthy, who pushed the final period of practice, a goal-line session, into Tuesday’s practice. “But we’re not close to where we need to be as a football team. We realize that. We have a lot of work to do. So I’m not going to throw out any bouquets tonight.
“Yes, we’re very talented; we have players that have done a lot here in the past. It’s exciting when you can put that many skill position players on the field. I agree with all that. But the reality is if you don’t take care of the football, if you don’t take the football away, if you don’t tackle, if you don’t make blocks, you don’t get off blocks, you don’t handle the adjustments that a defense gives you … it doesn’t make for very fundamental football. We need to step it up in the area of fundamentals.”
Rodgers acknowledged that the defense got the better of his offense but chalked up some of it to the difficulty of the installations the offense is working on.
However, he did make one interesting point, suggesting that some of the offense’s late-practice issues were the result of some of his teammates not reporting in tip-top shape after the offseason was wiped out by the lockout.
“The only frustration I have is when there’s repeat mistakes. There’s not a whole lot of grace for that,” Rodgers said. “The physical mistakes – (like) the depth (of a route) being off – that’s going to happen. But not lining up in the right spot or false-starting or just not understanding stuff that you can read in a book … to me, this is a self-motivated league. In order to be successful, you have to be willing to put the time in on your own.
“And part of that is coming into camp in shape. I think you saw last night, we got tired last night and there was a lot of mental mistakes. So we’ve got to pick up the urgency, I think.”
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