Aaron Rodgers sees pieces falling into place on offense 

With or without the preseason, Packers quarterback feels confident heading into the regular season

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – As the Packers wrapped up their penultimate practice of training camp on Monday, David Bakhtiari pulled Aaron Rodgers aside to ask his quarterback a question.

"It's looking pretty good out there, what are we doing differently?" the three-time All-Pro left tackle inquired.

Rodgers, pleased with the tempo and efficiency of practice, knew exactly what it was. The offense has been installed and the key components are in place – now, it's just playing football again.

"I said, 'Well, we're kind of finally running all of our stuff,'" said Rodgers after practice Monday. "It's all kind of in at this point. The package to choose from is a lot bigger and it's been fun to see the execution and guys making plays. I like where we're at, offensively."

In all likelihood, Rodgers and the rest of the Packers' preferred starters will sit out Thursday's preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving the two-time MVP among only a handful of starting QBs who didn't play in the preseason.

Yet, neither Rodgers nor Head Coach Matt LaFleur is fretting over his first in-game snap of 2019 coming against the Bears. For Rodgers, he feels his best work has come in the meeting room and practice field over the past four months.

"I think the preparedness is where it needs to be," Rodgers said. "I think the key, for us, is there's going to for sure be situations that come up with the new play-caller and quarterback relationship, where we're going to have to work through some things to get on the same page. But we've had a lot of great conversations."

This recent run of Thursday night games also has enabled the Packers to shift seamlessly into their in-season schedule, providing a relatively normal routine for the veterans leading into next Thursday's season opener against the Bears.

Another factor working in the Packers' favor is an offense operating at almost full health, with running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams returning to practice from hamstring tweaks in recent weeks.

Tight end Jimmy Graham (finger) and center Corey Linsley were the only starters missing from Monday's practice. General Manager Brian Gutekunst said last week the team believed it dodged a bullet with Graham's injury, while Linsley said after practice that he fully expects to play Week 1.

Having been a part of the offense since organized team activities, Linsley has seen strides from the offense and reason to believe it can hit the ground running without extensive preseason reps.

The Packers practiced to prepare for their matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I think we have a lot of confidence. You have to play with confidence," Linsley said. "We're looking to go into this season starting fast and continuing on that pace, but always having that mindset that we can grow and continue to get better, and continue to get better."

While Rodgers, Jones and Williams likely won't see the field this preseason, Green Bay's starting offensive line and receiving corps played two series against Baltimore two weeks ago, providing some added comfort with LaFleur's scheme.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga, now in his 10th summer in Green Bay, said his head was "spinning" a little when the offense was first installed in the spring but understands now how all the pieces fit together.

"I feel really good about where we are and what we could become this season," Bulaga said. "The more you run it, the more you run it against unscouted looks, different looks, not only from our defense but other defenses around the league, and you see it on tape and you see the adjustments that need to be made, I think we're comfortable with the way it's been coming along."

LaFleur is confident the Packers' starters will be ready for Week 1, crediting the joint practices Green Bay held against the Houston Texans earlier this month and the team's competition periods that were prevalent throughout training camp.

Regarding Rodgers being among the few NFL quarterbacks yet to play this preseason, LaFleur believes every NFL team must do what's best for its own situation. Based on his conversations with Rodgers, LaFleur feels good about where things are with both the quarterback and the offense.

Rodgers agrees. The key for him is communication, and since the spring, Rodgers has had a steady stream of conversations with LaFleur, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy and football technology analyst Connor Lewis about the sequencing of plays, situational play calls and certain areas of the scheme Rodgers really enjoys.

That gives Rodgers all the confidence he needs to be ready for Week 1.

"That's the beauty in it. We talk about a ton of stuff in," Rodgers said. "We have to go out and execute it and be on the same page. I don't expect any bumps in the road; just a couple pebbles we have to drive over."

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