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GREEN BAY - Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt predicted Aaron Rodgers would be rusty when he came off injured reserve to play against Carolina, so he wasn’t completely surprised when the Green Bay Packers quarterback threw three interceptions.
All three were underthrown and two of them would have been touchdowns if Rodgers had put the right touch on the ball. Van Pelt said it was mostly a result of Rodgers not having the repetition of throwing those routes week after week.
Rodgers had practiced for two weeks before the game and made some strong throws, but he lacked the consistency he had before breaking his collarbone in Week 5 at Minnesota.
“You hear him say he’s going to miss some and make more than he does, and unfortunately those two that he underthrew could’ve been potentially big plays,” Van Pelt said Thursday. “Just the rust. Not doing it every day for a stretch of time.
“We knew that was going to be the case with some throws; unfortunately, it was those two that were intercepted there.”
Rodgers started to heat up in the fourth quarter and looked to have the team on the way to a game-tying touchdown when receiver Geronimo Allison fumbled the ball after a short catch. It’s possible Rodgers would have misfired again, but he completed 13 of his final 17 pass attempts and had 1 minute, 50 seconds left to score.
“I think that’s why he’s bummed out,” Van Pelt said. “I think he feels like he let the team down, which is not the case. I told him that, that we’re better obviously when he’s playing, so that’s the unfortunate part of it for him not to be able to come back and play a game after that.
“But knowing him, it’s going to drive him through the offseason.”
Van Pelt agreed with the decision to put Rodgers, whom he said was very sore after the game, back on injured reserve.
“I had concerns there as well,” Van Pelt said. “Obviously, the doctors thought it would be best to shut him down and I was OK with that.”
Capers not looking ahead: Even though there’s a chance he and the entire Packers defensive staff will be fired after the season finale Sunday, defensive coordinator Dom Capers said he was only focused on the Detroit Lions this week.
“My plan right now is to try to get the guys ready to go win a game,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned through a long career is you don’t want to spend any time in this business concerning yourself with things that you don’t have any control over, you know?”
“You put the blinders on, you go to work, you try to be consistent in the way you do things and try to get guys ready to play.”
Injury report: When an unidentified player had to come off the field with a minor injury Thursday, coach Mike McCarthy decided he had seen enough and cut practice short.
He went into the day with 46 players able to take part in some form of practice, but with the new injury he decided not to push his luck. The Packers have one last practice Saturday before they leave for Detroit.
Added to the injury report was defensive tackle Mike Daniels (shoulder), who was able to take part in practice as a limited participant. The player who dropped out doesn’t have to be added to the injury report until Friday and only then if it’s something that would limit him.
For the second straight day, these seven players sat out: receivers Davante Adams (concussion), Jordy Nelson (shoulder) an Allison (illness), linebacker Nick Perry (ankle/shoulder), guard Jahri Evans (knee), running back Aaron Jones (knee) and tight end Richard Rodgers (shoulder).
Excused absence: Wide receivers coach Luke Getsy wasn’t at practice, but it wasn’t because he had left for the offensive coordinator’s position at Mississippi State.
Getsy and his wife, Tina, had a baby Thursday.
A report this week said Getsy was expected to take the coordinator’s position at Mississippi State after the season. He did not take part in offensive assistant coaches interviews with the media Thursday and has yet to confirm the report.