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Aaron Rodgers Explains Preference for Practice Over Preseason

This will surely rankle Shawn — and you are going to hear much more about it in the podcast later today. We all know Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play in the preseason.

Or at least not any meaningful amount of time. He threw just nine passes and played in one game in 2016. We expect nothing different this year.

We know the reason for this, although no one with the Green Bay Packers will actually come out and say it. You can’t have Aaron Rodgers getting injured in a meaningless game.

Still, there’s something to be said for playing against an actual opponent. Yes, even in a preseason game, where the defensive looks are vanilla.

Last week, Rodgers curtly explained that he doesn’t think his lack of preseason work has anything to do with regular season performance. Of course, the evidence would suggest otherwise.

Rodgers and his nine preseason snaps started off the 2016 regular season in the same subpar fashion he finished 2015. He didn’t start to light it up until around midseason. If memory serves, the Washington game, which the Packers lost, is where Rodgers personally turned it around.

That was in week 11.

Now, we’re not going to blow this out of proportion, but the questions keep coming for Rodgers.

He explained why he values practice over preseason games on Tuesday.

“Those practice reps are very important. That, to me, is more real football,” Rodgers said on Tuesday. “If you look at the game the other night against Philly, I think they brought maybe one or two pressures. One on the last drive. And maybe one early in the game on a third-and-short. That’s not a realistic game plan. They played one-high man, a little bit of one-high zone and some two-high zone.”

And that’s a realistic point.

But as Shawn will explain, no practice is a game, regardless of whether it’s a fake game or not.

We can debate this all day, but it will ultimately come down to how Rodgers and the Packers start the regular season. Their early schedule isn’t easy, but if they rip through it and Rodgers plays well, then that will be end of discussion.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Kato August 16, 2017

    That is exactly it. If he comes out and at least plays halfway decent it will be a moot point. But if we see some inaccuracy, bad timing, bad communication on offense then any criticism of the packers, including McCarthy and Rodgers will be well deserved. You can’t play this game scared. Injuries can happen at any time. Teddy Bridgewater dislocated his knee on a simple dropback. Jordy tore his ACL on a non contact play. Hell, people tear their ACLs simply getting out of their chairs.

    1. PF4L August 16, 2017

      Rodgers is a competitor to highest degree, if given the green light, he’d be in ready to go. I highly doubt Rodgers is the one who is scared. With that said, i pay no attention to what Rodgers says about this. Mike will dictate how much Rodgers does, or doesn’t play. So when asked by the media, Rodgers isn’t going throw McCarthy under the bus and tell them Mike won’t let him play.

  2. Howard August 16, 2017

    I still believe you try to work the kinks out/ knock off the rust with your offensive lines and running backs in the 1st preseason game before you put in your #1 QB. Make sure you can correct any deficiencies in pass protection and pass protection adjustments that may show up in the first live action. After the first preseason game then you have games 2 and 3 to get in around 2 or 3 quarters of play.

    The Eagles may not have provided a close to realistic game plan or pressure package to the game. That doesn’t mean other teams won’t. The Packers brought a lot of pressure looks to the Eagles.

    Practices are scripted. Games are not. What a team expects from an opponent in a game does not always play out like it may in practice. It is good to get use to not seeing what you expect to see and make those adjustments as a team, on the fly, even if it means you expect to see pressure but don’t.

    The one major thing that is not realistic about practice and rightfully so is the QBs wear a red jersey. The fact you are not going to be hit and know it is not realistic and could create problems when real action starts. Veteran QBs like Rodgers have more experience in making that adjustment

  3. Empacador August 16, 2017

    Anyone wanna take bets on whether they start out slow or not again this season? My money is on slow simply because I think the last time they were not slow was 2011. Sure they started out 6-0 in what, 2015, but there was something “off” then, before the wheels fell off for 20 or so games.

    1. PF4L August 16, 2017

      I think it’s possible the Packers are best case 3-2, worst case 1-4 after week 5. Unless some miracle happens, i think the Packers defense are sitting ducks. I also think the rest of the league knows it. But time will tell.

  4. PF4L August 16, 2017

    Well, i personally would like to see him play. At the same time, Rodgers is the heart and soul of this team. Without him, they have no chance. The Packers don’t need some kid looking to make a name for himself by trying to take Rodgers out.

    With that said, and i’m repeating myself. It’s not Rodgers call if he play’s or not, it’s McCarthy’s.

    As far as the “slump” in 15 and part of 16. I don’t see him not playing in pre-season the cause. there were bad throws by Rodgers to be sure, but everything, O-line, receivers, The whole offensive train came off the tracks that season.

    In 2016…what i remember is a offense where no one had any urgency, the line and receivers were playing like it was a run through, Jordy had a slow start which is understandable. Monty can say Rodgers didn’t turn it around until week 11. But if alzheimer’s hasn’t set in yet, i remember after the Dallas game in week 5 Rodgers throwing 30 tds to 3 interceptions the rest of the season. I’m not an expert, but i’m pretty sure that’s not too bad.

    1. Empacador August 16, 2017

      That’s why I didn’t even bother bringing Rodgers into the equation. What he does in preseason is irrelevant to whether the Packers start slow or fast. He doesn’t play defense or special teams, the usual culprits.

      1. PF4L August 16, 2017

        Whether it’s Saturday, or game 3, at some point we’ll probably see Rodgers, but i doubt for very long.

        This is just a guess, but maybe when McCarthy looks at this, he thinks…ok, what is the upside playing Rodgers, and what is the downside. The downside is he could miss a portion, or the entire season if injured. So with that said, as much as i dislike McCarthy’s style and personality, i understand it. McCarthy know’s where his bread is buttered. But if i was my call, i’d want to get him in about 7 or 8 series in the 1st 3 pre-season games.