GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers has been as sharp as ever throughout training camp the past month, and the two-time MVP quarterback isn't surprised.
That's not some arrogant, of-course-my-game-is-good train of thought either.
Rodgers told the media Wednesday he spent his quarantined offseason "finding my center" personally and studying his own career film during stretches of success. All that combined with a genuine excitement for reuniting with his teammates after several months apart put him in the right frame of mind for training camp.
"Taking a critical look at my play the last few years and then going back to some previous years about what I felt like when I was playing really, really well, (I asked) what was I doing slightly different than what I've been doing the last five years?" Rodgers said. "I picked up on some things and tried to start incorporating them into my daily routine, and you pair that with a positive attitude and a comfort in the offense, it's not surprising to me how camp has gone."
Earlier in camp, Rodgers mentioned seeing some playbook installation film from back in 2010 that prompted him to carry a detail or two out to the practice field. But this is the first time he'd mentioned studying himself in the offseason when there was no on-field work and only virtual meetings with his coaches and teammates.
As he noted, being in the second year of Head Coach Matt LaFleur's system has played a big part, too. After a few interceptions in the early days of camp, Rodgers became awfully tough to stop on the practice field. A strong daily run through 11-on-11 periods culminated in an impressive showing inside Lambeau Field on Sunday when the No. 1 offense ran roughly 50 plays against the No. 1 defense.
Rodgers converted a number of third and fourth downs with quick, pinpoint throws, following up a 2019 season when third downs were an issue for the offense as a whole. His emphasized his added comfort level in the offense has produced better footwork, which has led to a faster progression through his reads, which then leads to better timing, balance and accuracy.
There's been a chain reaction to it all, proving how the elements of his game work hand in hand.
"I think he's done an outstanding job throughout the entire camp," LaFleur said Wednesday. "I couldn't be more pleased with how he's playing right now."
Rodgers likes what he's seen from several offensive teammates around him, too.
He barely mentioned, if at all, mainstays like Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley in his remarks, because he took more time to point out others he senses stepping forward – from Lane Taylor making a strong comeback bid to start at right guard to Jamaal Williams reshaping his body to Marquez Valdes-Scantling cranking up his play and being the young receiver who's impressed him the most.
On Lane Taylor : "There's been many times that we've stopped the film in the QB room and just kind of watched back Lane getting out and blocking a guy downfield, or Lane running on screens and just marveling at how good he looks."
On Williams: "He's been extremely explosive in the run game. He sets a great example of how to finish every single time he touches the football."
On Valdes-Scantling: "I know Matt said this at one point, this is the new standard for MVS. I'm proud of the way that he's gone about his business. I thought he had a fantastic Sunday and made a bunch of plays, some heady plays, and just some plays he's supposed to make."
He acknowledged the injuries to Billy Turner and Rick Wagner have left right tackle a bit unsettled, and there are some depth spots at various positions that have to be decided at cut-down time on Saturday, but it's clear Rodgers is in a positive mindset about his own play and the offense's as a whole.
It's been different for him not to have any preseason games, and it'll certainly be strange to be playing at least the first couple of games this season without any fans.
But as Rodgers this year joins fellow quarterbacks Bart Starr and Brett Favre as the only players in Packers history to play 16 seasons in Green Bay – which he called "great company" – he firmly believes there's more to add to his legacy.
"It's been a great run to get to this point," he said. "I've had so much fun and we've accomplished some pretty awesome things, and hopefully we've got another couple rides."
The Green Bay Packers practiced on Ray Nitschke Field on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.