By know you’ve probably heard of the “dress rehearsal” game. This week Green Bay takes the show on the road this year as they head to Winnipeg, Canada, and may not have their biggest start take the field.
On Tuesday, head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters whether or not quarterback Aaron Rodgers would play against the Raiders was “to be determined.”
A week earlier Rodgers was scratched from a start in Baltimore due to back tightness. A couple days later, back in Green Bay, the leader of the Pack was not on the field for practice.
He has since returned to the field on back-to-back days and is seemingly feeling better.
“Sometimes you can sleep on it weird, wake up, and it bothers you. Come into the weight room and do something, or a throw. The one day last week when it, last week Tuesday, it was a little colder than the other days. Sometimes when it goes from hot to cold a little bit it can lock you up a little bit. I don’t think there was any specific moment, but I feel good now,” said Aaron Rodgers.
The question of whether or not he needs those preseason reps is the big one.
“Kind of right where I always am. The practices are so much more important than the preseason. The looks that we see, like on a day like today, are invaluable reps. The best reps I’m going to see all summer are in practice. Matt wants us to play, we’ll go out and play and compete. If not, I feel pretty good about where we’re at,” said Rodgers.
“I don’t think it’s going to make or break us, one way or the other. Again, I’ve got so much confidence in him and I know our guys do as well. I think we’ve got a lot of good work. I’m not overally concerned either way,” said head coach Matt LaFleur.
There should still be plenty of time for the starters on the field against Oakland. LaFleur said running back Aaron Jones should be good to go in his first preseason game of the year.
Jones missed part of camp and the first two preseason games as he works his way back from an hamstring injury.
“It’s very important. We haven’t been in a game since last season, well I haven’t. So, it’s very important to get the speed and tempo down. Just get the offense down, and get as many reps as I can,” said Aaron Jones.
One of the guys blocking up front, veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga, said on Tuesday getting out of the game healthy is goal number one against the Raiders. That goes for any player stepping on the field, and especially the starters.
“Yeah, it would be great if we had everyone to get the mechanics of it, against a different team than our own. That would be great, but I don’t think it’s mandatory. For me personally, getting reps last week against Baltimore was great for me. Getting reps this week, that will be great too. I find those personally valuable to me. Just to get into a game situation,” said Bryan Bulaga.
During that game situation the Packers have plenty to work on north of the border. On offense it’s a third opportunity to work with Matt LaFleur’s system against another opponent. Jones being available may help Green Bay get a better idea of what the running game will look like come week one.
On defense tackling will be a point of emphasis. In two preseason games Green Bay’s defense has missed a total of 43 tackles in the first two preseason games.
At the end of the day, though, the goals against the Raiders are pretty simple for the Packers new head coach.
“Finishing plays. Really on both sides of the ball,” said LaFleur.