Joint practices with the Packers this week are extra special for Zach Wilson, giving the rookie quarterback a chance to learn from Aaron Rodgers and pick his idol's brain.
Wilson isn't the only player that's going to benefit from these few days in Green Bay, though.
A few practices and a preseason game against the team that was one win away from the Super Bowl last season is going to help players in every position group on both sides of the ball continue to improve.
"I’ve said it before, this is a championship roster," said head coach Robert Saleh on Wednesday, describing the Packers. "We’re going to have challenges up and down."
Those challenges start with Rodgers, one of the best at his position and the type of signal-caller that can pick apart any NFL secondary. It just so happens that New York's unit of defensive backs is young and inexperienced, the type of group that Rodgers will typically prey upon.
"This group is pretty darn group. It’s an experienced group. Aaron, obviously, is a Hall of Fame quarterback. Davante [Adams] is an All-Pro wide receiver," Saleh said. "To be able to go against different players, different releases, different schemes, is a great challenge for them."
At one point during Wednesday's practice, Rodgers found one of his favorite targets—Marquez Valdes-Scantling—for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Reporters at the facility pointed out that the receiver was wide open on the play, a testament to how difficult it is to defend a group led by Rodgers, even in a practice setting.
"You’re going to get the best of the best practicing against him and his weapons, wide receiving corps, the offensive scheme is definitely good,” safety Marcus Maye said Wednesday. “Just practicing against it and going against it leading up to the game will be good for us.”
That in mind, it's even more noteworthy when you see players like second-year cornerback Bryce Hall defending passes from Rodgers, excelling in a low-stakes environment and continuing to develop prior to Week 1.
New York's offense can benefit from practicing with Green Bay as well. Wide receivers like Corey Davis are lining up against corners like Jaire Alexander while offensive linemen like Mekhi Becton work on blocking pass rushers like Preston and Za’Darius Smith.
"For Mekhi, you can’t draw up a better situation for him in terms of the amount of work that he’s getting from three premier edge rushers," Saleh added. "Obviously, Carl [Lawson] is premier in his own right. Then you get Za’Darius and Preston [Smith] who are both double-digit sack guys. Even for George [Fant] and [Morgan] Moses, the amount of work that they’re getting, the quality of work is priceless. You couldn’t draw it up any better for those guys."
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