This Packers training camp may have a lot of new faces, but there is a certain retro vibe to it.
And that certain something is raw, unfiltered competition.
Green Bay’s first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback looks like he’s Brett Favre’s backup as he’s treating practice snaps like the fourth quarter in the Super Bowl. The Packers have been practicing for less than a week and Rodgers already looks like he is in post-Thanksgiving form.
Twenty-four-year-old AJ Dillon calls the 38-year-old Rodgers the “cool uncle.” That’s a pretty good description. Unlike Favre, who had a hard time relating to the young bucks, Rodgers is still making the next generation raise their eyebrows and look at him in awe.
“Everytime you get out there, you impress him, make sure you’re doing the right thing,” Dillon said with a smile.
Rodgers knew when he arrived in camp, a la Cameron Poe from the 1997 movie, “Con Air,” that he would be well behind. The defense, which was already very good, gained two more valuable pieces in Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt.
And as we all know, Davante Adams is gone, meaning on paper, this is a transition year. This is the year that Rodgers is supposed to lean on the running game as the offense downshifts from its high scoring and dynamic ways.
Then training camp happened. He threw dimes to Allen Lazard and Romeo Doubs and all of a sudden the offense started to believe that there was something more. And this is all happening with the return of Tom Clements to the coaching staff. A person credited with helping Rodgers throw for over 4,000 yards in his first two years as a starting quarterback — the only time that has happened in NFL history.
“Tom doesn’t realize, when I was a young player, I wanted nothing more than to make Tom Clements happy,” Rodgers said. “And it was incredible motivation for me because I would have great games in my opinion. I would have a 100 quarterback rating, three touchdowns and Tom would give me a minus performance.”
Obviously, we haven’t seen anyone do anything with pads on and just throwing passes to receivers in shorts is a far cry from what wideouts will see in the regular season. Heck, it’s a far cry from what pass catchers will see in the preseason.
But I absolutely love the competition on this team. I love Rodgers talking junk to a defense that came into camp thinking they were the top dogs. And I love seeing the offense scream at the top of their lungs as they watch the defense struggle to keep up.
It’s early, but competition is getting a victory.
Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on “Clubhouse Live” and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn