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5 things learned at Packers training camp – Aug. 9

Aaron Rodgers gets a vet day, excited to watch Jordan Love in San Francisco

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – The Packers went full speed in their shoulder pads during a closed practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Tuesday.

Here are five things we learned.

1. Aaron Rodgers (sort of) had a veteran rest day.

At the discretion of Head Coach Matt LaFleur, Rodgers worked with the training staff inside the Don Hutson Center in lieu of practice.

It's something the Packers have occasionally done with their veteran players over the past few seasons. Tight end Marcedes Lewis typically will take a practice off after three days, while receiver Randall Cobb worked in a limited capacity on Monday.

Although he wasn't on the practice field, Rodgers still managed to work up quite a sweat.

"I told Matt … I'm never going to ask for a vet day, but I think I am the oldest player on the team," said Rodgers at his locker afterwards. "That being said, the work that goes on in the Hutson Center when they're outside is probably more strenuous than the practice, so not exactly a vet day when it comes to the cardio."

Jordan Love and Danny Etling handled all the quarterback snaps during the 90-minute practice in preparation for Friday's preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

The defense had another good day, with cornerback Eric Stokes picking off Love on the third play of the first team period.

However, Love bounced back with a pair of completions to Allen Lazard and Samori Toure before making the play of the day with a well-thrown 20-yard touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs off a corner route in a red-zone period.

Rodgers has seen a difference in Love through the first two weeks of camp, crediting both the young quarterback's growth and Love's work with returning position coach Tom Clements.

"As much as anything this year you've seen the fundamentals really start to come together," Rodgers said. "Year 3, 2 to 3 is always an interesting year for development from a quarterback. I know I took a big jump, 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. Tom Clements I think deserves a lot of credit for harping on the fundamentals and the way that he always did for me as a young player, and it seems to sticking for Jordan."

2. Rodgers confident LaFleur will do "what's best for the squad."

While nothing has been finalized as far as preseason snaps for any of Green Bay's starters, Rodgers echoed his past comments about not feeling it's necessary for him to play in the preseason.

The biggest reason for that is the limited playing time he and the veterans are likely to see even if they were to suit up.

Rodgers has not played in a preseason game during LaFleur's first three seasons as head coach. His last exhibition action came on Aug. 16, 2018, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rodgers led one five-play, 40-yard scoring drive, completing 2-of-4 passes for 35 yards with an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham.

While some questioned what impact sitting starters had during the Packers' 38-3 loss to New Orleans in Week 1 last year, Green Bay still wound up winning 13 games in the regular season and claiming the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

"If somebody gets hurt, [it's] 'I can't believe they played our guys.' But if we go out and have a stinker, [it's] 'I can't believe they didn't play them,'" Rodgers said.

"You've just got to do what's best for the squad, and Matt's going to do that. He's going to lean on the leaders of the football team and if he feels like we need to go out and play, we'll go out and play. But I don't want to just go out and play three plays. That, to me, is a waste of time."

3. Rodgers will be cheering on Love Friday night.

Every day Rodgers sees more and more parallels between his story and Love's, as former first-round picks who sat their first three seasons behind a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Knowing how important the preseason was while shadowing Brett Favre during the early part of his career, Rodgers is pulling for his pupil to play well in Santa Clara on Friday night.

"The tracks are looking more similar by the day, him being in his third year and me waiting behind Brett for three years," Rodgers said. "Something clicks in at some point and the game slows down and you make the plays that you know you're capable of making. I look forward to watching him on Friday and against the Saints, as well.

"I think he's had a really nice camp, made some good throws, more consistent with his fundamentals, and I hope he goes out and balls out."

4. The Packers' defensive line is setting the tone up front.

With Jarran Reed looking the part early and first-round pick Devonte Wyatt showing his pass-rush potential during Family Night, the Packers' defensive line is in the conversation for the deepest position group on the entire roster.

LaFleur has felt that have a domino effect through the first two weeks of training camp.

"I've noticed a noticeable difference just how we finish on the ball carrier," LaFleur said. "You're seeing all guys, whether you're on the back side of the play, front side, wherever you are, linebacker, DB, defensive linemen, they are running to the football."

5. Romeo Doubs is appreciating the opportunity to work against Jaire Alexander.

During Monday's one-on-one period, Doubs was pitted against the All-Pro cornerback. While Alexander pitched a shutout against the rookie, Doubs took a lot from the reps.

"Of course, Ja being one of the best corners in the league. Just to give me a taste of what it's gonna be like throughout the course of this season going up against some good corners and great corners, as well," Doubs said. "I just wanna make sure that if I lose reps or if I win reps against him that I just be able to learn at least because good or bad it's gonna always come."

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