The rain kept the Green Bay Packers inside on Wednesday, but that didn’t mean practice was nice and dry.
The daily ball-security drill featured passes to all of the running backs, receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs. The balls being fired their way were dunked in buckets of water in anticipation of a rainy Sunday home opener against Detroit.
“Correct and, also, we haven’t done it in a while,” McCarthy said before Thursday’s practice. “It’s another opportunity to emphasize taking care of the football and make it tough on our players.”
It seems like a worthwhile way to spend 5 minutes of practice. Not, however, to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. While most of his Wednesday interview session with reporters revolved around his struggles and the offense’s struggles through two games, the strangest exchange had to do with his hatred for that drill. While he generally tiptoes around issues such as play-calling or missed assignments, Rodgers minced few words about the drill.
“It’s a silly drill,” Rodgers said. “It’s one of my least favorite drills in the game. I did it today as a favor to the coaches because I don’t like that drill because it’s unrealistic. If it is an actual rain game, the ball comes into the umpire, he wipes it off and puts it down. You don’t dunk a ball directly in the water and then try to throw it. So, yeah, it’s an unrealistic drill, but we do it and I participated today.”
Rodgers fumbled three times in Sunday night’s loss at Minnesota, including a killer fumble that ruined a drive that had reached Mason Crosby’s range for a game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter. This wasn’t about ball security for Rodgers, though, as he was only throwing the footballs. He generally was accurate, though one slightly errant throw hit a reporter in the ankle.
The drill isn’t just for the quarterbacks. It’s for everybody who might touch the ball on Sunday to get used to handling a wet football. Still, that didn’t change Rodgers’ opinion one bit.
“It’s for everybody, making sure they’re getting used to feeling a ball that’s been submerged in water.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.null