Richard Rodgers made a brilliant one-handed catch at the sideline on a pass from Scott Tolzien on Tuesday.
That play, however, wasn’t what stood out to Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy when asked about his second-year tight end’s training camp.
“Richard Rodgers has definitely taken a step from last year,” McCarthy said following Tuesday’s practice, the fifth of training camp. “The thing that I really like what he’s doing, he’s had some dominant plays on special teams. He blocked two punts today as far as the punt rush. He’s doing some really, really good things. He’s taken a step offensively in the passing game and completely understands it. You think about where he was this time last year. He’s comfortable and he’s catching the ball very well. He’s off to a good start.”
On the catch, Rodgers joked that it would have been easier had he been faster.
"We had a check before the snap and I had a feeling he was going to throw it to me and the ball was going to come out quick," Rodgers said. "I just came out of it and I knew I could make a play on it once I saw it in the air."
Rodgers caught 20 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns during a decent rookie season. His catch count ranked fourth among rookie tight ends. He had two receptions in the first six games but 18 in the final 10, including five in the regular-season finale against Detroit. He added four more grabs in the NFC Championship Game against Seattle. With Andrew Quarless’ early absence from training camp, Rodgers has been working with the No. 1 offense.
For some young players, a catch like that would provide a boost of confidence. That's not the case for Rodgers, though. Making a catch like that is the expectation, he said.
"I try to catch everything that comes my way," he said. "If it’s in my vicinity, I try to catch it. That’s really all you can do as a receiver or tight end."
Old injuries: WR Adrian Coxson (concussion) WR Ricky Collins (heel), RB John Crockett (ankle), LB Clay Matthews (knee), WR Jared Abbrederis (concussion), OLB Mike Neal (abdomen/hernia).
McCarthy said he hadn’t discussed Matthews’ injury with the training staff.
New injuries: OLB Adrian Hubbard (groin), OT Vince Kowalski (concussion).
Running back Eddie Lacy took limited reps with what McCarthy termed foot soreness. Lacy did participate in a team run period but was out for a late no-huddle period, with James Starks taking the first-team reps.
Returned: G Matt Rotheram (ankle).
The Packers will not practice on Wednesday. They get back to work with 8:20 a.m. practices on Thursday and Friday leading to Saturday’s Family Night practice in sold-out Lambeau Field.
During a punt-return drill, Micah Hyde, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson were the three serving as returners. ... During a series of six short-yardage plays, the offense and defense each won three times. ... Linebacker Joe Thomas, a blocker on the No. 2 kickoff-return unit, had perhaps the biggest hit of training camp when he collided with fellow linebacker Josh Francis, a blocker, and knocked his helmet off.
THEY'RE NO. 1
For what it's worth, The Associated Press placed the Packers atop their Pro32 rankings. Green Bay received six of 12 first-place votes. Seattle (four first-place votes) and New England (two) are second and third. For the rest of the rankings, CLICK HERE.McCARTHY SAYS
On getting his players to pick up the tempo during a tackling period early in practice: “Everybody has a responsibility. Obviously, I’m in charge of the tempo and the structure of the practice and from that the coaches, the support staff, the training staff, everybody has a role. So, definitely the tempo was not where it needed to be to start the team fundamentals and that’s a transition period and that’s something you always look for because you go from teaching phases into a team fundamental drill.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.