"I missed the guys and missed the camaraderie and the chemistry that we have and really the structure, too, as crazy as that sounds," Rodgers said on Sunday. "You miss when you've got to be at a certain place at a certain time and being on a schedule. It's a long day, but it's nice to be able to get back on the field."
Rodgers didn't put together any player-organized practices but that doesn't mean he was working on his golf game all summer. While he wouldn't say who he was throwing to, he said he split his time between his hometown of Chico, Calif., and San Diego. He said he threw as much as he usually does and proclaimed himself in "tip-top shape." Coach Mike McCarthy said there would be no pitch count, figuring Rodgers is young enough to handle the workload.
Rodgers' arm has looked live at both practices and he looks good on his feet while bobbing and weaving out of harm's way. He's certainly not in midseason form, though. He threw a couple of interceptions on ill-advised throws but also made some great throws, including a bomb up the right sideline for a touchdown to Greg Jennings.
"With a rookie, you really start to the potential once he stops thinking so much," Rodgers said. "And right now, and for the first few weeks, it's going to be a difficult learning curve for him trying to figure out our offense. The nice of having Daryn on there is his consistency of playing every week and really understanding the offense. We'll have to find somebody, either Derek or T.J. (Lang), and to make sure we sure we have a guy who is mentally sharp because our offense is so diverse in what we're trying to do. And we can do a lot of things at the line of scrimmage if we want to and a lot of different calls. He played tackle last year and he's going to have to quickly understand how to play guard in this offense. I think the talent is there, the big body is there, he needs to get to the point where he is not thinking as much. It's going to take some time but I think we're all very optimistic about his future here."
From Disney World to Letterman to golf tournaments, Rodgers has been a man in demand. In that sense, he's happy to be back at work.
"I just like being one of the guys," he said. "I enjoy my private life and keeping a separation between my personal life and my public life. Those lines get a little gray once you have some success on the field. I enjoy the opportunities, I really do, those are fun, and the platform I've been given because of the success that our team has had, but I'm a homebody and I enjoy my private life."
Welcome back, guys
The Packers made two big moves re-signing unrestricted free agents Jones and Kuhn to three-year deals. Both players are coming off of career seasons and will be expected to be major contributors.
"I think James' best football is ahead of him," McCarthy said. "Any time you're able to keep your weapons intact as an offense, I know the quarterback, the offensive staff and everybody feels very good about getting those two guys left."
With Brandon Jackson leaving for Cleveland, Kuhn enters camp as the third-down back, McCarthy confirmed.
Not good enough, not surprisingly
— It's a good thing Sept. 8 is more than a month away. Mental errors, pre-snap penalties, fumbles were numerous during the second practice of training camp.
"I wouldn't feel great if we had to go play a game tomorrow," McCarthy said. "I think that's natural. I thought tonight's practice was very similar to yesterday's practice. There were a lot of positive things that went on throughout the practice. The mental errors were actually a positive; there weren't very many. The last two periods, I thought we faded. Is that a sign of conditioning? Is that a sign of the focus? There is normally a trend early in camp because there is a lot of overload of information, particularly with the new guys. (Monday) will be a big challenge. First day in pads and and it's another day of instillation. You do have some highs and lows when you go through the instillation period. We'll get the tempo when we need to. It's not there yet."
— Jermichael Finley's comeback continued with his first live reps of the summer. He did six reps in the seven-on-seven passing drill. The hope is to get him in the live, 11-on-11 periods on Wednesday.
— Andrew Quarless (hip flexor), along with linebacker Diyral Briggs (hamstring) and rookie nose tackle Eli Joseph (hip flexor), have not passed their physicals. Quarless should be back by the end of next week, McCarthy thought. He wasn't sure about the others, though.
— Derek Sherrod again was the starting left guard, though he took some first-team reps at left tackle as the Packers appear to be pacing Chad Clifton. When Sherrod was the left tackle, T.J. Lang was the left guard. Speaking of Lang, McCarthy said he was "impressed" with the way he's come back after having most of last season ruined by a wrist injury that required surgery.
— Third-round running back Alex Green took the first rep with the No. 1 kickoff return unit. Second-round wide receiver Randall Cobb took the first rep with the No. 1 punt return. Cobb broke a long kickoff return, with the crowd at Ray Nitschke Field roaring its approval.
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