GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers expressed disappointment with the effort from some of the Green Bay Packers’ younger players after a frustrating period at practice.
It appears that some of the rookie wideouts are the focus of his displeasure.
Rodgers was running the scout team during one practice session on Tuesday, a sign that he likely won’t be playing in the Packers’ preseason opener on Thursday against Tennessee.
Younger players who normally may not get many reps with Rodgers got a chance to work more with the two-time NFL MVP.
There is some work to catch up to Rodgers’ high standards.
“It was one of the worst cards sessions we’ve had. I don’t know how you can make it any simpler,” Rodgers said Tuesday after practice. He was referring to how coaches will hold up an opponent’s play during the period.
“You literally have what the play would be in our terminology on the card, and the effort level was very low. Especially with what I’m accustomed to. I’ve been running that period for a number of years,” Rodgers said. “So it’s not a good start for us on the card period for the young guys.”
Rodgers is usually more diplomatic in front of reporters. He didn’t call out any players by name, but he did make sure to single out those he feels are role models, such as veterans Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Jimmy Graham.
Rodgers liked how Geronimo Allison and DeAngelo Yancey, younger receivers with previous experience with Rodgers, have progressed. He has also gone out of his way to praise the work of Jake Kumerow, a second-year undrafted free agent.
Conversely, the three rookie receivers that the Packers took in this year’s draft — J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown — may be part of that inconsistent group.
There’s a purpose behind Rodgers voicing his frustration. It doesn’t have all to do with sending a message to general manager Brian Gutekunst either as the Packers weigh roster decisions.
“No, that’s as much for you guys (the media) as it is for that guy, to let him know that I’m watching. I’m always watching — whether I’m in the play or not in the play, when we’re going back through the film,” Rodgers said.
The quarterback said fatigue may be partly to blame for the subpar play. It is relatively early in camp, when players are still building stamina and getting reacclimated to the routine.
The team is coming off its high-profile Family Night practice on Saturday. They had a day off Sunday before two more days of practice.
“Well, I’m getting older and grumpier. I’ve been at this for a long time,” said Rodgers, who turns 35 in December. “I’m tired too, we’re all a little tired. When you get a little tired, the fuse gets a little shorter.”
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said the hope is that the young receivers learn from their mistakes and correct them as the preseason progresses.
“Certainly Aaron, his comments, his example, his leadership has a profound effect on the ballclub, the offense in particular and the whole team in general,” Philbin said. “His words are meaningful.”