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Insider: Thumbs up to Rodgers on scout team, down to rookie WR Johnson

Aug. 26, 2013
 

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws Monday during training camp practice in the Don Hutson Center. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Charles Johnson catches a pass Monday during training camp practice in the Don Hutson Center. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media

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Thumbs up

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will at most play only one series Thursday night against Kansas City in the preseason finale, and there’s always the chance he won’t play at all. In practice Monday, he took no snaps during the offense’s game-planning portion of team periods and, even more unusually, he worked regularly with the scout-team offense. Normally, the scout-team offense has plenty of passes hit the ground or intercepted. But with Rodgers and some starters on the scout team, they presented a mismatch even though they were running the Chiefs’ scheme. Rodgers hit several big plays, most notably a long touchdown pass on a post pattern to receiver Jordy Nelson over cornerback Loyce Means and safety M.D. Jennings. “(Rodgers) had some good players out there with him,” said Ben McAdoo, the Packers’ quarterbacks coach. “It was nice have to Jordy and Randall (Cobb) back out there too making plays.” Rodgers also hit Cobb on a hot read for a possible big gain in a blitz period; tight end Jermichael Finley on a seam route; rookie receiver Tyrone Walker on a back-shoulder throw; and Cobb on a seam route for a touchdown in a red-zone period. Rodgers admitted to bending the rules to gain retribution against defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who sometimes early in camp scripts defensive calls he knows to be effective against a given pass. “There was a run play I checked to a pass, and then you’re not supposed to change any of the routes,” Rodgers said, “and the one I hit Randall for a touchdown on, I wanted to work on that route with Randall since we haven’t had a lot of reps together. So I kind of changed that one, too.”

Thumbs down

Rookie receiver Charles Johnson has several great physical characteristics for a receiver, but considering how rusty he looked Monday, it’s hard to see how he has any chance to make the 53-man roster. Johnson missed the first 3½ weeks of padded practices because of a knee injury before returning late last week. He played 12 snaps against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night, with only one targeted pass (no receptions), and figures to play far more in the preseason finale against the Chiefs. But in practice in shells Monday, he dropped two of the three on-target passes thrown to him in team drills. “The good news is we have another day of practice and another preseason game,” said Edgar Bennett, the Packers’ receivers coach. Johnson has a great combination of size (6-feet-2, 215 pounds) and athleticism (4.39-second 40-yard dash, 39½-inch vertical jump). But he appears headed for the practice squad, because most of what the Packers know about him is from his college videotape.

Did you notice?

• ESPN reported Monday that teams have been calling the Packers inquiring about a trade for young tight end Brandon Bostick, a converted receiver from college who spent last season on the Packers’ practice squad. Bostick flashes athletic ability, but on the last play of practice Monday he had one of the worst dropped passes of camp when on first-and-goal from the 5, Rodgers hit him in the chest in the end zone. Nelson informed tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot that the penalty for dropping that easy of a catch is 100 push-ups. “Not that we expect him to be a mauler or brawler out there,” Fontenot said, “but he has to be more productive (as a blocker).”

• McCarthy kept open the possibility that Cobb (biceps) and Nelson (knee) will play Thursday. Neither has played in a preseason game this year. Cobb has been in and out of practice because of a biceps injury, and Nelson returned this week after missing nearly three full weeks because of knee surgery. On Monday, Cobb wore only a small protective rubber sleeve on his biceps. “As far as some of the guys that haven’t played, like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, it’s important for them to play and get back on the field,” McCarthy said. “It’s going to be hot in Kansas City on the grass and great environment to get some of those guys back out there.”

pdougher@pressgazettemedia.com and follow him on Twitter @PeteDougherty.

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