GREEN BAY, Wis. — Count Matt LaFleur among the many who watched his quarterback Monday night in Kenny Mayne’s final SportsCenter, but it didn’t change anything in the mind of the Green Bay Packers‘ coach.
“Aaron definitely knows how we feel about him, how he’s such an important part to our football team, such an important part to our organization,” LaFleur said Tuesday. “We’re just going to continue to try to work through this and hopefully can get him back in the building at some point.”
Rodgers wasn’t in the building — or on the practice field — for either of the first two OTA sessions that began this week, and LaFleur tried to keep the focus on the players who were. In all, 79 of 89 players on the roster were in attendance Tuesday during the first session that was open to the media.
Veteran safety Adrian Amos — one of three players the Packers made available for questions Tuesday, along with Kenny Clark and Aaron Jones — said, unlike his coach, that he did not watch Rodgers’ first interview on the subject since the news of the quarterback’s standoff with the team broke in April.
However, he believes there’s still a chance Rodgers could return.
“I haven’t heard him say anything other than that, so I expect him to be,” Amos said. “But I’m not going to go home and cry if something else happens. I’m just playing it day by day, but of course, you want one of the greatest — if not the greatest — quarterback ever on your team. You want him out here.
“But everybody has to go about their business, and I’m not going to knock anybody for getting what they feel like they deserve.”
Jones, who re-signed with the Packers for four years and $48 million shortly before free agency began, said Rodgers never gave him any indication that he would not be back this season. Even if he had, Jones said it likely would not have influenced his decision to re-sign.
“This is home,” Jones said. “I love my coaches, my teammates, the community, the system.”
That made it perhaps more difficult for Jordan Love, who handled the No. 1 quarterback duties. Without Rodgers and recently signed Blake Bortles, who was present but not practicing, Love and Kurt Benkert split the quarterback repetitions. However, Love received the bulk of them in 7-on-7 drills and in a brief 11-on-11 period that was conducted at half-speed.
Unofficially, Love completed 14 of 20 passes in the only competitive periods (which were 7-on-7 without a pass rush). He often went through his progressions before throwing and went deep only once — overthrowing Reggie Begelton. During an individual period, he hit tight end Robert Tonyan for a 35-yard completion down the seam and generally seemed to have more zip on his passes.
“You can tell he put some work in this offseason on his own,” LaFleur said. “I think the ball is really jumping out of his hands well right now. You know, it’s Day 2 of OTAs, and all we’ve really done is thrown routes on air. We had some 7-on-7, but you guys could see the team periods, they’re not full speed. We’re excited about some of the progress we’ve seen with him, but certainly there’s a long way to go there.”