GREEN BAY, WIS. — It might take some time before anyone, including Aaron Rodgers, knows exactly what the Green Bay Packers‘ offense will look like this season under first-year coach head Matt LaFleur. But Rodgers said it has nothing to do with his skipping all the preseason games.
“I think everybody needs to understand this is going to be the first iteration of our offense, and because it’s a new scheme and there are new pieces, this is going to grow from this point,” Rodgers said Sunday. “I’m excited about the stuff we have in and the stuff we’ve been working on in camp. There’s going to be even more. I think that’s the exciting part. I like the foundational start for this offense. I think it could be tough to stop because of the stress it puts on defense with their eye control and pattern-reading and reading the alignments. But we have a lot of room to grow from what we put on the field on Thursday.”
That follows what general manager Brian Gutekunst said earlier this summer — that it might take half the year to know what they have on offense.
And what LaFleur said on Sunday.
“I’ll have a better answer for you here in a couple weeks about where I think we are,” LaFleur said.
It’s the first time in Rodgers’ career as a starter that he’s not running a Mike McCarthy-led offense. Although LaFleur’s system also is based in the West Coast offense, it features more pre-snap motion, tighter formations and more play-action.
“We’re throwing new things at them with personnel groupings and motions and alignments and movement and adjustments that they haven’t seen from us,” Rodgers said. “So I’m excited for the opportunity. I’m obviously really hopeful that we’re going to go out and play really well, but I do really feel like this is just the beginning for this offense and there will be a lot of room to grow regardless of our performance on Thursday. Which, for myself and our squad, I expect us to play really well. But I think there’s going to be a lot of room for growth within the scheme as we go on in the season.”
Rodgers was supposed to play in Week 2 of the preseason but was a last-minute scratch because of back tightness. He was supposed to play in Week 3, but LaFleur pulled all of his starters because of issues with the field in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Rodgers played only seven snaps in one preseason game last summer, but he wasn’t learning a new offense.
“If we go out and light it up, it’s not because we rested in the preseason,” Rodgers said. “Our performance will be based on our preparation this week, our experience and the way we execute on the field, and same for them. If they go out and play great, their offense or their defense, play great on one side of the ball or play bad on one side of the ball, it’s about execution in an intense environment, first game of the year. We’ll be ready to play, and we hope we can execute against a really good defense.”
Rodgers said he and the offensive brain trust — LaFleur, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy — have spent a myriad of hours together working on game plans. Rodgers referred to the sessions as both “creative” and “collaborative.”
“I will say this, that I’m pretty confident in that group of men that is going to go out there Thursday night,” Gutekunst said. “As you guys know in an NFL season, that first quarter, those first four games, there’s a lot of feeling out and a lot of teams are trying to kind of see what they’ve got, see how they’re going to play in the first four games, so I think that will be normal for us. But I’ve got a lot of confidence in those guys, that the challenges that arise, they’ll be able to meet them.”