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Packers QB Aaron Rodgers credits 2010 film study for recent surge in big plays

GREEN BAY - Aaron Rogers was in no mood to divulge details, but he admitted to two things Monday. 

Yes, he has been practicing quite well in this training camp. 

No, it isn’t a coincidence. 

Rodgers recently watched some of his film from 2010, he said. He noticed one detail in his game that needed correcting, though he provided no more specifics. 

“It kind of hit me,” Rodgers said. “And I know it was 10 years ago, but the next day I went out to practice and started working on what I saw on the film, and the last couple days kind of happened.”

The last couple days on Ray Nitschke Field have been vintage Rodgers. He led the team into scoring position in a two-minute drill Sunday, including a clutch, third-down throw early in the drive to tight end Robert Tonyan, who was tightly covered by rookie safety Vernon Scott. The two-minute drill culminated a day that included a few long touchdowns and other receptions, including a pair to Davante Adams. 

It’s nothing new for Rodgers to play at a high level. Even still, the frequency of big plays has been notable. 

“It is interesting,” Rodgers said. “It’s just a good reminder for all of us the tape of yourself can often be the most important to watch, because you can always pick things up. I won’t get into exactly what I saw, but it definitely has helped me the last couple days.” 

Still competition on the line

Coach Matt LaFleur would not go so far as to say tackle Rick Wagner’s injury is making his decision on the right side of the offensive line for him.  

Still, in a short training-camp window, Wagner’s continued absence has halted rotations at right guard and right tackle. Without Wagner, right tackle Billy Turner has rotated less frequently at right guard, and right guard Lane Taylor appears to have an inside track to a starting job.

LaFleur is not ready to name starters, however. 

“It definitely doesn’t make the decision for us,” LaFleur said. “Certainly, it makes it more difficult on us in terms of when exactly he’ll be back, and when he’ll be full speed to go. It makes it more challenging, but we’re still competing.” 

Preston Smith keeping busy

Coming off a career-best season of 12 sacks, outside linebacker Preston Smith said he didn’t change much to his offseason routine to get ready to replicate a workload that included 980 snaps last year, and he said he wanted to maintain his listed playing weight of 265 pounds.

“I just try to work on that stuff, work on my flexibility to get me back loose and repeat the cycle every year, you know,” he said Aug. 7. “It’s all about taking care of your body, putting the right stuff in your body and make sure you get the right stuff out of it. So, I train and I ate right and I did the right stuff off the field as far as massages and recovery. I did a lot of good stuff off the field so just to get ready for this season upcoming and mentally I already know what to expect. I played a lot of snaps last year, I’m ready for it. I played snaps the year before that, before I got here.

“So, I’m ready for the long haul and that’s what I condition myself for and that’s what I mentally prepare for every year.”

That long haul has already started, however.

Through the first eight days of camp, the 27-year-old has yet to get a breather on the field, taking every rep in individual drills and team periods.

Smith does look like he has added weight, but outside linebackers coach Mike Smith said there was no emphasis for him to do so regarding any potential work with interior rushes, like Za’Darius Smith and Rashan Gary have on film.

“No, didn't want him to bulk,” Mike Smith said. “I mean, those guys are professionals. They know where they need to be. I mean, obviously everybody's gonna be a little bit different right now because of ... they weren't around in the spring, all that stuff. We all know what was going on with that. So you're not gonna get the same conditioning or guys lose a little more weight than they should, gain ... but Preston's fine. I'm not gonna tell him to put weight on cause he's gonna rush inside. We all rush inside. I mean, every pass rusher I've ever coached before rushes inside. When you start rushing inside, you've got slower guards. They're still good players, but they're slower, bigger, they're stronger. And they've got to put up with some guys that are quicker and faster and that's just a mismatch. Those are the mismatches that we look for as coaches, is where can I put Preston this week? Where can I put Z this week? Where can I put Rashan? That's the mismatches that I look for.”

Za’Darius Smith, Alexander return

The Packers held a walkthrough Monday after a long, physical practice Sunday and had nearly a full complement of players with the return of outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander. Smith last practiced Aug. 18 and Alexander had missed the last two days with undisclosed ailments.

Rookie offensive linemen Jon Runyan also returned after leaving the live tackling session early after getting his right leg tangled up in a pile.

The only players to miss practice were Wagner (left arm), defensive tackle Montravius Adams (toe) and safety Raven Greene (undisclosed).