About 10 hours after struggling through his first two-minute drill of training camp, Aaron Rodgers led the offense to a pair of touchdowns on Friday night.
In his first attempt in Friday night’s padded practice — a 7-on-7 drill in which the offense needed a touchdown to win — he went 5-of-7 to cover all 60 yards in the allotted 1:11. Rodgers hit Donald Driver for 19 yards to put the offense in position with 12 seconds left, then found Ruvell Martin for a 20-yard touchdown against Jarrett Bush.
Later, in 11-on-11 with the offense needing a touchdown to win, Rodgers led the offense 60 yards in the allotted 1:31. He bailed out the offense by corralling two high snaps from backup center Junius Coston, scrambled twice for 17 yards and completed 3-of-5 passes. With 9 seconds left from the defense’s 23, Rodgers stepped up in the pocket and hit Donald Driver in the middle of the end zone. Again, Bush was in coverage.
Rodgers went 3-for-9 on Friday morning in an admittedly disappointing performance.
“I thought as a whole, the morning practice and tonight, the first thing is the mechanics of the two-minute,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s the most important part of the first time you do the two-minute drill as far as getting the personnel group in and everything on both sides of the ball. So, I’m pleased with the start. The production offensively was better tonight, but defensively, we’ve done a really good job pass-rushing.”
Rookies Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn shared reps in the 7-on-7 two-minute drill, with it ending on Flynn’s last-second interception by Aaron Rouse.
Brohm handled the 11-on-11. With the offense needing only a field goal to win, he led the offense from its 35-yard line in the allotted 1:54. The big play was a screen to Vernand Morency that picked up 33 yards. Mason Crosby drilled a 29-yard field goal as time expired.
McCarthy, a quarterbacks guru, praised all three of his young passers.
McCarthy was asked if Rodgers, who has scrambled often — especially in 11-on-11 periods — has been a bit antsy to get out of the pocket.
“There’s five or six plays a game where the quarterback has to move his feet. To get those reps in live football, that’s outstanding work because that’s practical. That’s very realistic,” McCarthy said.
“Is he jumping out of there too early? I don’t see that. I see him stepping up and playing within his time clock and coming out of there at the right time. ... There’s nothing that irritates me more than a quarterback that just stops and throws the ball into the ground. That’s a wasted opportunity to practice a play that you’re going to see five or six times a game.
Asked about Brohm, a projected first-round pick who sank into the late second round, McCarthy said: “He’s done the best job I’ve ever seen a young guy picking up the playbook. He had three or four live plays this morning that I thought were outstanding from where he started in how he’s using his feet. That’s the progress your looking for.”
Plus, he added, “I’m very impressed with Brian and Matt with their poise in the pocket. That speaks to their success and experience they had in college.”
In the trenches
Allen Barbre, battling Daryn Colledge to be the starting left guard, beat Alfred Malone in back-to-back reps in one-on-one pass-rushing. Earlier, Malone beat Colledge.
Colin Cole had perhaps the most impressive rep, getting underneath starting right guard Jason Spitz and bulldozing to the “quarterback.” Impressive rookie Jeremy Thompson beat starting left tackle Chad Clifton with a strong inside move.
— Crosby drilled all seven field goals, including five in a special-teams sequence that started with a 20-yard kick and gradually moved back to a 43-yard boot. The snapper-holder combination for the three short kicks was Thomas Gafford and Ruvell Martin. The top combo of J.J. Jansen and Jon Ryan held on the final two.
— It was a typical practice for tight end Tory Humphrey. In a one-on-one route-running drill, he dropped a pass but bounced back to make a nice fingertip grab against safety Atari Bigby.
— Watch out for undrafted rookie cornerback Condrew Allen. He almost had an interception while covering Johnny Quinn early in practice, then made back-to-back plays in 11-on-11, first jarring loose a slant to Chris Francies, then tipping away a deep ball for Greg Jennings.
— Undrafted rookie running back Kregg Lumpkin was dropped in the backfield by blitzing linebacker Spencer Havner. On the next play, Lumpkin took a toss, immediately cut up the middle and broke off a long run.
— Jennings beat Harris one-on-one on a long pass up the sideline. Later, Harris knocked away a pass to Jennings on a similar route.
— With the likely No. 1 kickoff-return tandem of Tramon Williams (hip flexor) and Will Blackmon (foot) sidelined, Brandon Jackson and Jordy Nelson handled the first reps. The No. 2 pair was Vernand Morency and Patrick Lee, followed by Lumpkin and Brett Swain.
— Crosby tried a surprise onside kick during that special-teams period. It trickled about 2 yards — and his attempt to kick the rolling ball again went another few yards.
— That comical moment was in contrast to the second brief scuffle this week. This one came after Driver made a diving catch in the end zone. Some linemen and defensive players apparently disagreed on whether to order sausage or pepperoni on tonight’s pizza.
— Practice on Saturday is at 2 p.m. in pads. The Family Night Scrimmage is at 6:30 p.m. Sunday and is sold out.
Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at email@example.com