GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) It is just his second year in the NFL and Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers is already associated with one of the most memorable plays in the franchise's storied history.
He has a lot to learn, too, and there is no veteran better for a young tight end to study than Dallas' Jason Witten.
Rodgers will get an up-close look on Sunday when the Cowboys play the Packers at Lambeau Field.
''Just be consistent,'' coach Mike McCarthy said about how Rodgers can build on his career-best outing against Detroit.
''Be consistent in your route-running and take advantage of your opportunities,'' McCarthy said. ''He's had a lot of opportunities. We've asked a lot of him and just want everyone to be consistent.''
Rodgers, a third-round draft pick in 2014 out of California, has had a fairly heavy workload, playing in 73 percent of the Packers' offensive snaps. It has been a necessity, in part, with veteran Andrew Quarless out with a knee injury since Week 3.
No game was bigger in Rodgers' young career than the 27-23 win last week over Detroit. He caught all eight of his targets for 146 yards. The last catch, of course, was a 61-yard touchdown on a Hail Mary pass from Aaron Rodgers on an untimed down that won the game.
The photo of Richard Rodgers jumping up and leaning back with both arms extended high in the air to catch the ball will be remembered around Titletown for quite some time.
''Richie's a very heady player - as it was witnessed on that last play - he caught a lot of balls over the middle,'' Aaron Rodgers said. ''There was space in there, and he did a good job of really working his routes and taking the time to get open.''
Rodgers had an early start in picking up football. His father, Richard Sr., is an assistant defensive backs coach for the unbeaten Carolina Panthers. The elder Rodgers played at Cal, just like his son.
The elder Rodgers is also attached to an improbable win; He figured prominently in ''The Play,'' making the last of the five laterals on a kickoff return that gave the Golden Bears the victory in the 1982 game against rival Stanford.
The younger Rodgers has taken the notoriety in stride. There have been countless congratulatory texts and messages, but talking to Rodgers this week, it was as if it was just another ho-hum game.
Asked if the performance could serve as a springboard for more production over the season's final four games, the low-key Rodgers said, ''My performance, I'm not really worried about that. I'm just trying to get my job done every week, do the little things right and get better.''
Ask Rodgers if the game gave him a confidence boost, and he shrugs his shoulders. ''I'm never really worried about my confidence, that was never a problem,'' he said matter-of-factly.
So what does he need to improve?
''Just improving, general route-running, catching the ball, blocking. Anything,'' he answered.
At the other end of his career is Witten, a 13-year pro and 10-time Pro Bowler who has seen just about everything in Dallas. He has another milestone to add on Sunday - Witten is on the verge of becoming the first Cowboy to play in 200 consecutive games.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews knows what's coming.
''He's the type of guy who will hook up across the middle and have those catches where at the end of the day, he has shoot, 60, 80 yards on seven-to-10 catches,'' Matthews said.
Longevity comes down to ''just being consistent,'' Witten said. ''This game's about consistent play at a high level and doing it week in and week out.''
It is exactly what McCarthy is looking for from Richard Rodgers.
NOTES: LB Nick Perry (shoulder) joined C Corey Linsley (ankle) as the only two Packers to sit out Thursday's padded practice. ... RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle), RG T.J. Lang (shoulder) and LG Josh Sitton (back) were listed as limited for a second straight day.
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