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Aaron Rodgers sees potential hot stretch for Packers' offense 'right around the corner'

QB’s thumb injury not a concern for Sunday’s game vs. Jets at Lambeau Field

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – Immediately after the loss in London, quarterback Aaron Rodgers admitted he wasn't sure how close the Packers were to playing a complete game.

On Wednesday, speaking specifically about the offense, he sounded a bit more optimistic that the unit's penchant for alternating good and bad halves of football would work itself out soon.

"I expect that typical stretch coming up at some point where we get really hot," Rodgers said. "Hopefully it starts this week. But I think that's right around the corner."

The comment came after Rodgers missed practice to rehab the thumb on his throwing hand, which was sore following the hit he took on the final play of the loss to the Giants while trying to launch a Hail Mary.

Rodgers said the thumb continues to feel better every day, and he hopes to get back on the practice field Thursday. There's no concern about his availability for Sunday's home game vs. the Jets.

The positive mindset regarding the offense could just be Rodgers trying to speak a higher level of play into existence, as he's been intentional in recent years about using words to manifest them into reality. But he also wouldn't say it if there weren't something more behind it, which suggests the review of last Sunday's game film showed him the offense is getting closer to a higher level of efficiency.

That's not to say there isn't plenty of work to do, as he referenced "a lot of details" to shore up on the downfield throws the Packers have had trouble hitting. Those particulars include timing, instinctive adjustments to the routes, and receivers getting to the right spots.

He also mentioned leaning on some "staples" offensively, or plays involving running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon that the unit can be confident in, and which provide a basis for other concepts and variations. Those aren't just running plays, either, but also pass plays involving the backfield duo.

It sounds like a lot that still must come together, but Rodgers suggested once some explosive gains start coming from within the framework of the offense, rather than solely from the improvised, extended plays, things could really take off. But at the same time, there's a fine line between finding the big play and forcing it.

"We just want to be efficient," he said. "However we're getting the ball down the field is how we're going to do it. We'd obviously like to hit some of those chunk plays. A lot of them have been off-schedule stuff, second-, third-window stuff, on-the-move stuff.

"We've got to start hitting some of those in-the-pocket things when we get opportunities, but a lot of it's just been the little details on some of the routes and me and the receivers not being on the same page."

The Jets' defense will present plenty of challenges this week to the rhythm and consistency on offense the Packers seek.

New York is 10th in the league in yards allowed, tied for 18th in points, but the bigger story has been its pass defense – up front and on the back end.

Over the last three games, the Jets' pass rush has racked up 32 quarterback hits, including 16 last week vs. Miami. The Jets' seven interceptions also are one off the league lead, with six different defenders recording a pick through the season's first five games.

"The first thing you notice when you put on the tape is just the effort that they play with," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "Those guys are flying around, it's very aggressive – the way they teach the defensive line, the way they come off the ball, how they attack the football."

Given the state of the offense – which was highly productive in the first half at Tampa Bay, the second half vs. New England, and the first half again vs. the Giants in London – and the fact that this week's opponent is from the AFC, this is one of those weeks where the focus feels more internal than external.

The game will be more about the Packers doing what they do well – and consistently well. If that can be accomplished, it can override what an unfamiliar foe brings to the table.

Rodgers insists he isn't frustrated or thrown off by all the ups and downs on offense, and the optimism expressed Wednesday reflects that. If a few bumps start to smooth out Sunday, it should only be a sign of more to come.

"I know this game, there's ebbs and flows to it. It's not going to affect my confidence," he said. "It actually makes you overcommunicate I think because you care about it so much and you want to have success.

"But I think we're real close to getting this thing going and hopefully it starts this week."