On his weekly radio show on Tuesday, Aaron Rodgers said he isn’t playing up to his standards.
That’s because the standards are off the charts following a season in which he set a league record for passer rating and the Packers scored the second-most points in NFL history.
This season, Rodgers ranks eighth in passer rating (97.0), is tied for fifth in touchdown passes (10) and ranks third in completion percentage (68.8).
“I just have to do things I know I’m capable of doing on Sundays,” Rodgers said on Wednesday. “I’m not far off. I think there’s guys who would probably trade with me right now, kind of how they’re playing (and) how I’m playing. There’s plenty of guys that wish they had the kind of numbers I have. But we have to do a better job of finishing out games and I’ve got to do a better job on third downs.”
Of the myriad of problems on coach Mike McCarthy’s plate as his team is in trouble at 2-3, the play of his quarterback does not rank high on his list.
“I think Aaron’s been very honest answering those questions. You know,” McCarthy said. “I think you have to look at the whole picture. The system is built around making the quarterback successful. There’s a lot on his plate. He spoils you as a coach because you have to be disciplined to pull back just because he can do whatever you ask him. He understands run-blocking schemes, pass protections. He’s got a tremendous mental capacity. But with that, you always fear — at least I always do — guard against giving the quarterback too much. Those are the kind of things we talk about.
“We had some things go against us. We have to just keep battling and overcoming. I’m fully confident, I have great faith and belief in him more that I’ve ever had. He’s a special player and our offense philosophy will never change, especially while he’s here.”
Packers injury report
Did not participate: TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder); WR Greg Jennings (groin); DT B.J. Raji (ankle); S Sean Richardson (hamstring). Full: CB Davon House (shoulder).
Finley, Jennings and Raji all have a chance to play.
“Greg Jennings, we're going to take the full week with Greg,” McCarthy said. “That's kind of the schedule we set last week. So, I won't be really ready to answer any questions on him until probably about Friday. We felt that in the past there was a lot of testing and we didn't give it enough time to heal. The practice work is something we're going to hold off on until the last minute. I really look at Greg, B.J. and Jermichael all the same. They're going to hit it hard in the rehab throughout the week. The earliest they would possibly be on the practice field would be Friday and just because they're all veterans I would take them til game time. That's how we look at those three guys."
Finley said he has a “slight dislocation” of the A/C joint.
Texans injury report
Did not participate: S Quintin Demps (thumb/forearm). Limited: CB Alan Ball (ankle); G Antoine Caldwell (ankle/foot); NT Shaun Cody (back); RB Arian Foster (knee); WR Lestar Jean (knee); WR Andre Johnson (groin); DE Antonio Smith (ankle); RB Ben Tate (toe). Full: RB Justin Forsett (thigh); K Shayne Graham (right calf); S Shiloh Keo (neck); OLB Jesse Nading (foot); G Wade Smith (foot).
The Texans put All-Pro linebacker Brian Cushing on injured reserve with a torn ACL sustained on Monday at the Jets. He’ll be replaced by Tim Dobbins.
“First off, we have a lot of confidence in Dob,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak told reporters in Houston. “It’s a challenge for our team. That’s what this is when you lose a player like that. It’s a challenge for your team. We got a darn good football team. We know Dobbins is going to go in there and play well. Every player in our locker room is going to take on a little bit more responsibility so we’re going to spread that responsibility around. Everybody is going to take a little bit bigger piece of it and we need to respond.”
— McCarthy, after the Indianapolis game, said his team wasn’t practicing enough. Wednesday’s workout was a good step. "It's important for the scout-look team to give the offense and defense and the special teams the exact look,” McCarthy said. “Sometimes, it takes a little longer in some years than others. Every coach goes through it. It's never good enough for the coach. I'm not talking about anything that hasn't happened to me before. We're just heightening the urgency in our preparation."
— Sunday’s game will be indoors but the Packers practiced on cold and breezy Clarke Hinkle Field. “I always prefer going on grass,” McCarthy said. “The consideration, the No. 1 priority, is the players, their legs. It’s a lot better to stay on the grass then the FieldTurf. My wind guy told me to go inside. I have a simple theory: I look at the flag. The flag wasn’t fully pitched so we stayed outside. It was fine. We had some gusts. The sun came out there for awhile. It was a good practice.”
— Rodgers said there’s a fine line between preaching a sense of urgency and “overreacting” to the team’s plight. “I don’t know if you want to stress it. If you stress it, you might have that overreacting thing. You expect guys to understand the significance of this point in the season and a game like this. Just don’t try to freak out too much.”
— Texans star J.J. Watt is a Wisconsin native who played high school ball in Pewaukee and in college for the Badgers. “I’ve had phenomenal fan support from the state of Wisconsin. I love the people there, I love the state of Wisconsin, and they’ve be unbelievable to me and I think any other game of the year they’ll tell you that they’re rooting for me. But I understand. You’re a Packers fan in Wisconsin and 99 percent of the state is going to be rooting for the Packers, and that’s fine, but I also know there are a lot of people rooting for me and hoping I do well, so I appreciate those people and I love that. I love that state. There’s unbelievable people there are every time I go back, it’s phenomenal. It will always be home.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and 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 twitter.com/PackerReport.