Rodgers not concerned about training camp INTs
Aaron Rodgers threw five interceptions last year, setting an almost impossible efficiency standard on his way to league MVP honors.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback has already matched that total in six training camp practices.
Rodgers' fifth came Thursday when undrafted rookie LaDarius Gunter outjumped receiver Jeff Janis for a pass deep downfield. It was Gunter's second interception against Rodgers in training camp. Cornerback Sam Shields, safety Morgan Burnett and first-round rookie corner Damarious Randall have one apiece.
Coach Mike McCarthy said he's not worried about the higher-than-usual number of interceptions.
"No excuse for them," McCarthy said, "but they're graded different than they are in the game. You look at the interception, is it a decision? Is it the throw? Is it the receiver?
"I mean, he's going to do things in training camp that he might not obviously do on a Sunday, give guys chances to make plays and so forth."
Judging each play individually, there's a good chance the rash of interceptions has more to do with receiver than quarterback.
Three of Rodgers' interceptions – including both thrown to Gunter – were "jump balls" that allowed receivers a chance to make a play. Burnett's interception came on a tipped pass, and Randall's interception came in the end zone with roughly 20 seconds left in the two-minute drill.
The jump balls are especially uncharacteristic for Rodgers, who is known for avoiding risky decisions on the field. Rodgers said those passes highlight the difference between practice and a real game.
In practice, Rodgers said, he wants to know which receivers he can trust to make a play.
"I'd like to see those balls come up our way," Rodgers said. "We've had some chances on some of those, and not come up with them. We've got to do a better job of catching the over-the-top balls, whether they're out in front of us a little, or slightly behind us when (you) go back up and make the play in the air.
"That's what this camp is all about. It's about sorting those things out, seeing who is going to be sticking around for the season, and who's going to be looking for a job. You have to show it in practice in order for me to feel comfortable making those throws in the game."
Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. has been pleased with his players' ability to aggressively track the ball in training camp. On the other side, Rodgers is displeased with his receivers' ability to fight for passes.
On Thursday, he drew a line. Want to get passes in games? Catch the football in practice.
"You make some of these throws and see how the guys respond," Rodgers said, "and if they're making the plays, then they're going to get more opportunities in the preseason and probably be around for the regular season. If they're not making those plays, they probably won't be around."
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