GREEN BAY — Aaron Rodgers is expected to make his 2014 debut on Saturday.
After Rodgers missed the preseason opener at Tennessee that was played in a drenching rainstorm, Saturday’s game at St. Louis is more about seeing what the other guys around Rodgers do more than anything else.
“Really I’m more interested in what happens on the other side of his performance, particularly in the passing game,” coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. “But Aaron, he needs to get out there and play just like we do every year.”
The plan calls for Rodgers to get the most playing time in the second and third preseason games, though with relatively limited snaps.
“No, that was about the right amount,” he said with a slight smirk when asked about whether he needed more time this year.
Rodgers did more yoga as part of his offseason routine, something that the 30-year-old quarterback has said helps with flexibility as he gets older.
The 2011 NFL MVP might be having one of his best training camps yet of his nearly decade-long career.
A year after a left collarbone injury knocked him out for much of the second half of last season, Rodgers seems as sharp as ever in practice.
Yet it’s quite understandable what the top goal is for Rodgers and the Packers in August.
“I’d like to stay healthy. That’s kind of the goal there,” Rodgers said. “Last year we didn’t score a touchdown, so my No. 2 goal is to score a touchdown.”
But really, he is looking forward to playing.
There is a new center to break in with JC Tretter, and young receivers who need time to replenish depth following the offseason departure of reliable veteran James Jones as a free agent to Oakland.
All this against a Rams defense that figures to be good this year.
“It’s a real good defense,” Rodgers said. “It’d be nice to take a couple hits maybe, legal hits. This is the time of year we’re trying to get to be playing the right way and get in and get out.”
There has been more time available lately for lesser-known receivers to make an impression after recent injuries to Jordy Nelson and rookie Davante Adams.
Nelson did return to practice Tuesday for light duty after missing a couple of days with a sore hamstring. Adams remained out with a wrist injury which McCarthy didn’t think would be a long-term issue.
Second-year player Myles White has seized on the opportunity to stand out with his play, so much so that Rodgers has nicknamed him “Myles Mayweather,” after champion welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The 6-foot, 190-pound White chuckled when informed that Rodgers had disclosed his new nickname. Fittingly, White is a Mayweather fan.
“I’m not the strongest guy, or the biggest guy, so I need to be a beast. I need to be annoying, you know what I mean?” White said. He declared he wasn’t initiating contact.
“Yeah, I’m sure everyone in the history of any fight has said that you know. It’s never been their fault,” White said with a smile. “These weren’t my fault for real, seriously.”
Also on Tuesday:
In a rush, Nelson wasn’t too chatty when approached by reporters about his hamstring. A hamstring injury sidelined Green Bay’s No. 1 receiver for a few games in 2012.
“I’m not talking about it. We’re good,” Nelson said.
Asked about his prognosis after appearing to be limited Tuesday, Nelson replied, “I have no idea. We’ll continue to work at it … I’m good. Appreciate it.”
MAKING AN IMPRESSION
The young Packers, especially the 2014 draft class, have impressed Rodgers. That’s a good thing when a prospective Packer gets on the good side of the team’s longest-tenured player. This year’s class is headed by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was taken in the first round out of Alabama.
“You have to earn a spot on this team. I think you’re seeing it with this draft class, the maturity about them, the lack of the entitlement that maybe we’ve seen in some other draft classes,” Rodgers said. They’ve come in and worked really hard. It’s going to be a tough cutdown.”