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Aaron Rodgers: 'I've gotta play better, and we've gotta play better'

Packers QB says communication with McCarthy remains open, relationship is fine


GREEN BAY – Whatever frustrations there were about the Packers' offensive performance last Sunday vs. Buffalo, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy have talked them out.

"Mike and I talk all the time," Rodgers said Wednesday, three days after he was publicly critical of the offense's performance despite a 22-0 victory over the Bills.

"We have a great relationship. There's always been great communication between us, even if there is things we need to talk about that are tough subjects. We've never had a problem finding time to talk, and that's the way it's been for 10-plus years."

Rodgers reiterated what the head coach said on Monday, that there are no issues with their relationship. He didn't get into any details of the conversations the two of them have had over the past couple of days, but neither player nor coach indicated they were anything out of the ordinary.

Both know they're two hyper-competitive individuals who have enjoyed a lot of success together and want nothing more than to keep winning.

"Communication is the basis for a good relationship, wouldn't you say? I think it is, for any relationship," Rodgers said. "It starts with good communication and being honest with each other, and then hugging it out afterwards.

"There's frustration in this business, and that's what Mike always says, conflict is good. You've got to keep the conversation going, we have to find ways to be more efficient on offense."

Rodgers isn't sparing himself from the criticism. He talked about needing to trust that tight end Jimmy Graham, with his large frame and catch radius, is more open at times than he might appear. He also called upon himself to "lean a little more towards" Davante Adams in his reads and progressions to give his No. 1 target more chances to make plays.

"Like I said Sunday afternoon, the numbers might have looked good – 420 yards, 50 percent-plus on third down – the execution wasn't where it needs to be," Rodgers said regarding Sunday's statistics.

"I'm always going to hold myself and this offense to a higher standard. I've gotta play better, and we've gotta play better. Last week was unacceptable. Put the ball on the ground too many times, threw an interception. We've gotta play better."

The Packers were back at Clarke Hinkle Field for practice ahead of the Week 5 matchup with the Detroit Lions.

It could start with Rodgers getting healthier. He's planning to practice on Thursday for the second straight week after only practicing on Saturday for the first two weeks after his knee injury.

In the Buffalo game, Rodgers also took a number of snaps from under center rather than working exclusively in the shotgun or pistol, which he did for two weeks. The Packers produced their best rushing game of the season, as running backs Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery combined for 110 yards on the ground.

"I wanted to give more of a threat of the run, and if I'm able to move similar to how I moved last week, it allows us to do some action stuff and some movement stuff as well, which is a lot harder fake-wise when you're in the pistol or the gun the entire time," Rodgers said. "If I'm feeling good, I'd like to be back out there under center and give us a better run-pass look."

The downside is for this week's trip to Detroit, the status of No. 2 and 3 receivers Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) is uncertain. That could mean another hefty workload for rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had his ups and downs against Buffalo, and/or more snaps for fellow rookie receivers J'Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown.

Rodgers said he's seeing progress, and the offense has been in similar situations previously and found a way. Thursday's practice, with Rodgers out there, will provide an important opportunity for the young receivers to get ready.

"We went to Atlanta a couple years ago, and G-mo, Trevor (Davis) and Jeff (Janis) all got touchdowns. So we've done that before," he said. "There's just an expectation of preparedness when you hit the field."