GREEN BAY - Now in his 14th NFL season, there's very little Aaron Rodgers can do on a football field that surprises anyone anymore. At this point, the Packers quarterback has made every possible throw in every imaginable situation.
Yet, the two-time NFL MVP still had players, coaches and fans dropping their jaws in unison with his final throw in a two-minute period midway through Thursday's training-camp practice at Nitschke Field.
With eight seconds on the clock and the first-team offense facing fourth-and-10 at the 26-yard line, Rodgers drew the defense offside with a hard count to earn a free play.
With flags down and Rodgers rolling left out of the pocket, everyone expected him to dart a pass in that direction of the end zone. Instead, Rodgers – without looking – put a 30-yard pass in the only place receiver Geronimo Allison could catch it in the right corner of the end zone.
Allison didn't make a big deal out of the play after practice. Sure, the pass would be somewhat extraordinary for the average quarterback, but not Rodgers. Those plays are to be expected – even in practice.
"That's the thing, he's not normal," Allison said. "He's human, I understand that. But he's special, and he makes people around him special. And when he does stuff like that, it's only right on our part that we make that play and finish that play. That's what makes the whole thing special. If that play doesn't get made, we're not talking about it."
Allison admits two seasons spent learning Rodgers' tendencies helped lead to the touchdown connection. As a rookie, Allison probably would have been more likely to trail Rodgers left in a scramble drill than stay in his area on the right side of the field.
For his discipline and patience, Rodgers rewarded Allison with the biggest play of Thursday's padded practice. The third-year receiver said he couldn't remember catching another no-look pass like it in his football career, though the veterans on Green Bay's roster have seen this act before.
"That's who he is. We expect those plays to happen," said eighth-year receiver Randall Cobb of Rodgers. "When they happen, you shrug your shoulders and go on to the next period because you've seen it so much. That's what makes the whole thing special. I think it can be eye-opening for the rookies to understand being in a certain play at a certain time."
Rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander, who was in coverage on the play, held a tight poker face when initially asked about Allison's touchdown.
"I can't recall," Alexander said. "I'm not sure. I forgot."
When pressed about the throw, Alexander finally showed his cards in a playful manner. Off to a solid start to camp, it's those type of plays the rookie first-round pick knows he can learn from.
"The throw was crazy, the throw was wild," Alexander said. "That's the thing that was actually a big teaching tool for me that that happened. I wasn't expecting it, at all. I'm glad it actually happened.
It's still been a pretty good week for Alexander, who picked off Rodgers in practice earlier this week. He had no issues recalling that particular play.
"Oh yeah, I remember that," Alexander smiled.
There was no time for celebrating for Allison. As two-minute ended, the Packers immediately transitioned over into another team period during the eventual two-hour, 30-minute practice.
However, there was enough time for Rodgers to say a few words to the young receiver.
"He just told me that's a good job," Allison said. "That's the way to be alert."
"I just told him thank you. I appreciate it," Allison said. "On to the next period."
Click, click boom: JK Scott continues to put on a show early in training camp. The rookie punter averaged more than 50 yards and 4.5 seconds on eight punts during the team's punting period.
His best effort traveled 60 yards and averaged just a tick below five seconds. A week into camp, Scott has displayed the leg strength that made him a fifth-round pick in this year's draft.
While Scott doesn't have any competition currently on the Packers' 90-man camp roster, the 6-foot-5, 208-pound punter still attacks every practice with the same mindset in his march to the regular season.
"There's always going to be competition. The way I've been going at it," Scott said. "Whether I'm competing against 10 guys or no guys, I literally turn over every single stone I can to get better every single day. I'm really competing against myself. I have a certain potential in me as far as punting goes and I'm just maximizing that."