GREEN BAY - Perhaps there is no better example of how long it takes to learn an entirely new NFL offense than to hear how Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has spoken about learning Matt LaFleur’s new system.
Rodgers first received the playbook April 8, when voluntary workouts began. He first put some of those plays into action during a minicamp 15 days later.
“This is definitely the most I’ve actually had to study in the offseason out of all the years because it’s a brand-new system,” Rodgers said April 23. “It’s like learning a new language.”
After another four weeks away from the field, Rodgers and most of the offense took to Clarke Hinkle Field for the first organized team activity Tuesday, and the 15-year veteran had this to say about where he’s at in digesting the playbook:
“I’d like to think I might be a half step ahead of (teammates) with my ability to recall things and learn things quickly, but I can’t say I’m an expert of this offense at this point,” Rodgers said. “It’s going to be a work in progress throughout the OTAs and minicamp. But it’s been a fun challenge to study more in the offseason.
“I’m spending time watching my iPad, studying my iPad at night, studying my notes and trying to come in here prepared every day because it’s important that I can lead from an aptitude standpoint with the offense even if I still don’t understand the intricacies of certain reads or concepts; being able to get guys lined up in the right spot is an important part of my job.”
Rodgers said it took him three years to get Mike McCarthy’s version of the West Coast offense down pat, but the 35-year-old quarterback feels that background and his experience has shortened the learning curve when it comes to finding a comfort level.
“Kind of personally I’d like to feel really good about it by the end of minicamp leaving here in June and feel good coming back in training camp and being able to spit plays out formationally with motions and concepts quickly and understand all the checks and intricacies of the offense,” he said. “That’s kind of the expectation.”
Amos eyes flexibility at safety
In theory, rookie safety Darnell Savage Jr.’s speed and veteran safety Adrian Amos’ playmaking around the line of scrimmage form an ideal pairing on the back of the Packers’ defense.
They are complementary traits, with Savage’s rangy coverage ability fitting nicely with Amos’ staunch defense in the box. Maybe the season will play out that way, but Amos believes their roles could blend together.
“I don’t think it’s one thing that either one of us really can’t do,” Amos said, “but watching some college tape, obviously, he plays very rangy in the back end and things like that. … I won’t just say one way or another. I feel like both of us can play both things, so I feel like we can complement each other. Playing down over the tackle and on the back end, showing range and things like that.”
The Packers traditionally want their safeties flexible enough to play inside the box and away from the line of scrimmage. It’ll be interesting, given their specific skill sets, to see how much they crosstrain Amos and Savage this offseason.
“I don’t consider myself just a down or a back (safety), or anything like that,” Amos said. “I feel like we’re going to work together, and we’ll see where both our strengths lie, what we want to do. Hopefully, what you want is both of us can do both things, so that coming out every Sunday nobody can get a beat on who’s doing what.”
Adams sits out practice
Davante Adams did not practice in Tuesday’s session of organized team activities, but LaFleur said he’s not concerned about his top receiver’s absence.
LaFleur said Adams was out for a “precautionary” reason, but did not elaborate on whether his Pro Bowl pass catcher was injured.
“I think it’s good,” LaFleur said. “We do have some young receivers, so that’s a great opportunity for those other young guys to really get a bulk of the reps. I think everybody in here is pretty comfortable with the player that Davante is. We know what he’s all about.”
Along with Adams, defensive tackle Mike Daniels and running back Tra Carson were present but did not participate. Safety Josh Jones, tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Greg Roberts were not present for the voluntary practice. Cornerback Kevin King, who was present but did not participate in the team’s voluntary minicamp last month, did individual drills Tuesday.