Aaron Rodgers predicted, following Thursday night's preseason win over the Bengals, that the Packers are "going to be ready" for the start of the regular season. Rodgers sure appeared ready for the start of the regular season in Sunday's practice.
The Packers quarterback had the look of his 2011 MVP self on Sunday, as he showered the field with completions.
He hit Jordy Nelson and James Jones in stride with deep passes that fell just beyond the reach of defenders as the ball nosed down into Nelson's and Jones' waiting hands.
Rodgers hit Randall Cobb in stride with a strike over the middle, then followed with a dart to Diondre Borel along the sideline and a quick look-in to Cobb that was out of Rodgers' hands and into Cobb's hands in the bat of an eye.
Are the Packers ready for their regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers? If the play of their quarterback is any indication, the answer is yes.
"I thought it was a very good practice. Our work was extensive and it was a very good practice," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said following a two-hour-plus workout that rain forced inside the Don Hutson Center.
It was a practice that could be the last for 10 players, as the Packers must pare their roster by that number by Monday to reach the mandatory reduction to 75. The Packers could reduce the numbers of players they release, however, by assigning a player or players to the injured reserve list.
Running back Brandon Saine returned to work following a two-week recovery from a hamstring injury, and Cedric Benson continued to flash quickness and power at the position.
Defensively, Jarrett Bush continues to hang onto the right cornerback spot on the No. 1 defense, and he distinguished himself on Sunday with a pass-defensed in coverage against Borel. The competition in the secondary, however, is intense.
"This is an important game for a number of individuals," McCarthy said, referring to Thursday's preseason finale against the Chiefs. The Packers must cut their roster to 53 on Friday.
"The defense, as a whole, everybody took a step forward," he added of the Packers' 27-13 win in Cincinnati. "Those grades are as high as I can recall. There'll be decisions made in the secondary off this Kansas City game."
Linebacker would seem to be a position at which several players made gains last Thursday. Erik Walden was the star of a goal-line stand. Jamari Lattimore returned an interception for a touchdown. Dezman Moses had a strong game at linebacker and on special teams, and McCarthy said first-round pick Nick Perry "played well."
"San Diego, he came out strong. Cleveland, he took a step back. We've maxed out trying to get him ready and he's responded," McCarthy said of Perry, considered to be the Packers' main addition for improving the team's pass rush.
Tight end is the Packers' challenged position currently. Injuries have forced D.J. Williams, DeMarco Cosby, Tom Crabtree and Ryan Taylor to the sideline. The situation required Lattimore and fellow linebacker Vic So'oto to play as tight ends on the scout team on Sunday.
"That's where we are as far as the tight end position," McCarthy said.
It should be noted that So'oto beat the coverage to catch a couple of passes in Sunday's practice. Related links