GREEN BAY, Wis. – If you want to set an earlier than/later than date for Aaron Rodgers’ potential return to the Green Bay Packers, Aug. 19 might be the starting point.
According to the New York Post, the Packers and New York Jets will hold joint practices in Green Bay on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19. The teams are scheduled to play a preseason game at Lambeau Field on Aug. 21.
Rodgers, of course, is no fan of joint practices.
When the Packers hosted the Houston Texans in 2019 – ending a 14-year run without practices against another team – Rodgers was miffed. The Packers under first-year coach Matt LaFleur were installing a new offensive system. With the Texans in town, the team stuck to a generic script so as to not give away any secrets.
“I wouldn't mind if they didn't do it for another 14 years,” Rodgers said.
For his part, LaFleur understood Rodgers’ vantage point.
“You know what, there’s a lot of things that a lot of players don’t like about training camp,” LaFleur said. “And you know, from his perspective, hey, I can understand where he’s coming from in some regard because it’s not like they're playing [their full scheme]. They run about four different coverages so it’s not overly complicated. It’s not like [Mike] Pettine throwing everything at you. So, I get it from his perspective. But, at the same time, there’s 10 other guys on the field with him on each play and it was great for us, especially when you talk about our run game getting some different looks to go against. I always respect his opinion, just like I do all our players, but I do still think it was beneficial for us.”
The Jets were an obvious choice from a scheduling perspective. The Packers are home for the preseason matchup, first and foremost, and training camp is too big a deal economically to the area for the team to hold practices elsewhere. Moreover, LaFleur’s brother, Mike, is the Jets’ offensive coordinator. The team’s first-year coach is Robert Saleh, a close friend of LaFleur dating to their time together at Central Michigan in 2004. Saleh helped LaFleur get an assistant coaching position with the Texans in 2008.
There were no joint practices last year due to COVID-19.
Training camp will begin on July 27. The first true practice of camp will be held on July 31.