Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers frustrated with drops, inconsistency by young receivers

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The expiration date of Aaron Rodgers’ patience with the Green Bay Packers’ young pass catchers must have been August 16th.

For the first time since losing Davante Adams this offseason, Rodgers expressed frustration with the group.

“The young guys, especially the young receivers, we have to be a lot more consistent,” Rodgers said. “Many crashes, many wrong route decisions, drove the wrong route. We have to get better at that.”

The frustration wasn’t directed at Allen Lazard, who Rodgers believes is a legitimate No. 1. Nor was it aimed at Randall Cobb, whom Rodgers called one of the top slot receivers in the league, or Sammy Watkins, the free agent pickup who Rodgers said was having his best day.

However, Rodgers’ tolerance for the others seemed to have waned after Tuesday’s penalty-filled practice session against the New Orleans Saints, which also included a drop from rookie Romeo Doubs in what Rodgers called his best shot of the day.

Mistakes also led to three interceptions from Jordan Love in Friday’s preseason opener in San Francisco.

“It’s coming,” Rodgers said of the regular season. “Yes, it is imminent. It really is. We’ll play our best guys when the season starts. And whoever these guys are, these guys are gonna get the reruns. It’s the guys I trust the most and the guys the coaches trust the most. Much is just the simple responsibility on the offensive. Well ahead of body positioning and movement and throwing and all that stuff, are you in the right place at the right time? Are you going the right route? ?”

As prolific as Doubs was, hitting repeated hard catches in practice and a 33-yard touchdown against the 49ers, the fourth-round draft pick was also plagued by drops, including two in the preseason opener. He slipped one through his hands on Tuesday after beating Saints cornerback Bradley Roby deep on the right touchline.

When asked if he would be speaking up about the play as part of his critique, Rodgers said, “No, not necessarily, but that was my best shot of the day.”

However, Rodgers didn’t hesitate to absolve Love of responsibility for his interceptions against the 49ers, calling the first to Tyler Davis a dropped pass, the second to “not a great route, not a great finish from Romeo” and the third to Amari Rodgers as ” a contested ball [to] a guy driving the wrong route.”

Rodgers added, “You keep dropping the ball, you’re not going to be out there. It will be the most reliable guys out there. The preparation and the responsibility for the job are most important. There will be physical flaws. like we discussed but if you go out there and drop the ball and someone else behind you is in the right place all the time and catches the ball, this guy is going to play.

Rodgers and the No. 1 offense had little success against the Saints’ defensive starters on Tuesday. In their only two-minute exercise, however, they managed a game-winning field goal.

“The offense is growing,” Lazard said after practice. “It comes and everything. We had a lot of false starts today, a lot of missed signals and stuff like that, which isn’t the standard that we’ve had, especially in recent history. So I think there’s a lot to improve from that point of view. But overall I think we did well.”

There will be more options for Rodgers.

Christian Watson — the Packers’ highest drafted receiver in 20 years (34th overall) — has yet to participate in full-speed 11-on-11 drills. He was activated from the physically unfit list on Sunday following off-season knee surgery and needs to catch up to get on the same page with Rodgers.

Tight end Robert Tonyan, coming from a cruciate ligament rupture, was also activated by PUP on Sunday but was not cleared for full-team practice. Ditto for offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins (ACL), who could be the new starting right tackle.

“Christian, he’ll be a work in progress,” Rodgers said. “It’s good to see him out there, good to get him through the walk-throughs. I told him I’m going to test him every day on the reps he has in there to try and get him thinking about the right things when he’s out there and Bobby is itching to go. So it’s encouraging because – what do we have, four weeks to the first game or something – I think all of them could have a legitimate opportunity to play.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34409278/green-bay-packers-aaron-rodgers-frustrated-drops-inconsistency-young-receivers Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers frustrated with drops, inconsistency by young receivers

Emma Bowman

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