Aaron Rodgers may be put on a preseason pitch count one day, but the Green Bay Packers quarterback hasn't reached that point in his career yet.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers isn't going to have more preseason reps than the past couple years. Since 2013, Rodgers' reps have been charted and scaled back, which is not uncommon for a veteran.
But the 31-year-old quarterback doesn't need to have his throws limited in training camp to preserve him for the team's Sept. 13 opener at the Chicago Bears. McCarthy said Rodgers' reps will be based on how the quarterback feels.
"It's a conversation," McCarthy said. "There's a point every year where the throwing might get a little too much, and then we back off. You always have to push to that point. The most important thing, he knows his body better than anybody, but we're not counting throws all the time and it's not a concern as it will be when he's later in his career.
Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre was put on a preseason pitch count when he got deeper into his 30s. Rodgers may have that fate a couple years down the road, but it's premature.
"I mean, he's still very physically fit," McCarthy said, "and so I don't feel like I need to protect him because of any type of elbow or shoulder issue, thing like that. But we just work through it, communicate and see where he's at every day."
The Packers enter training camp with four quarterbacks on their roster. They may keep three on their 53-man roster after drafting UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley in the fifth round.
While Rodgers, a two-time MVP, doesn't need to prove his worth in the preseason, he's the exception. Scott Tolzien will be Rodgers' primary backup for the first time after the team chose to not re-sign Matt Flynn this offseason. Matt Blanchard, signed after the Carolina Panthers released last season, is trying to work his way back from career-threatening injuries.
McCarthy said he likes having four quarterbacks in training camp.
"Just because the quarterback training regiments and the things we like to do," McCarthy said, "the quarterback school and the classroom and so forth, it fits better. It flows better. The competition challenging, and the different personalities, all those things I like about having four.
"And frankly, I don't think you can have enough. But it is different because of the number of team reps. That's the challenge with having four quarterbacks, the team reps. So Aaron is going to have to get exactly (what) he needs. That's obviously the priority, and it's not as much about Aaron, it's about the quarterback Aaron's connection with the other players. So that's goal No. 1."
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