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McCarthy, Packers coaches unfazed by Rodgers' inactivity

The Canadian Press

8/26/2013 8:32:21 PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will likely enter the regular season having played the fewest preseason snaps of his time as a starter.

Coach Mike McCarthy, quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo and Rodgers were mum on whether he'll play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday in the preseason finale.

Rodgers would have to play deep into the game to get his snap count up to match the previous five years, and the Packers aren't going to risk their franchise quarterback.

"We're going to make sure Aaron's ready," McAdoo said after practice Monday, when Rodgers ran the scout-team offence along with a host of other starters, indicating he may not play at all against the Chiefs. "We have a plan for it."

So far this preseason, Rodgers has played 45 snaps in five offensive series. He's completed 17 of 24 passes (70.8 per cent) for 237 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, one sack and a passer rating of 102.3.

In last week's loss to Seattle in the third preseason game, which is traditionally when the starters play the longest, Rodgers played only one series and 10 snaps.

Rodgers played six possessions and 41 snaps in the Packers' third preseason game last year at Cincinnati.

McCarthy wouldn't say whether Rodgers will play only one series or not at all against the Chiefs.

"Not to avoid the question, (but) it's important to get the work tomorrow before we set on exactly who will play," he said.

But McCarthy did say he believes Rodgers is prepared to face the 49ers if he doesn't take another snap in a game.

"I'd say Aaron's in his game ready shape. He's been very sharp," McCarthy said. "I feel very confident that Aaron's ready to go."

When Rodgers ascended to the starting job in 2008 after three years behind Brett Favre, he played 16 series and 93 snaps in four preseason games.

In the preseason finale against Tennessee that year, he played just one snap, throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings on the opening play.

The past four years, his snap counts have been almost the same every year -- 77 in 13 series 2009, 78 in 13 series 2010, 75 in 12 series in 2011 and 79 in 14 series last summer -- even though McCarthy has gone a variety of ways in the finale.

Rodgers didn't play at all in the 2010 finale against the Chiefs; he played one series each against them in 2011 (eight snaps) and played two series in 2012 (seven snaps, including three straight handoffs in the second series).

"What did Mike say? He thinks I'm ready for the season opener? Then I'm ready to play," Rodgers replied when asked if he felt he need to play Thursday night.

"It's up to Mike. If Mike wants to get us another drive or two or three, then we'll do it. We've taken a couple reps this week working on Kansas City stuff. It's up to him."

Rodgers seemed to thoroughly enjoy working on the look team in practice Monday, reprising his role from his time as a backup, and he did get some quality work in at the No. 1 defence's expense.

Not only did he go over the top of defensive co-ordinator Dom Capers' group for a 40-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, but he also made a few adjustments at the line of scrimmage -- a no-no when you're supposed to be running the upcoming opponents' plays as diagrammed on a card -- on a touchdown throw to Randall Cobb and another play.

With Cobb (biceps) and Nelson (knee) having each missed the first three preseason games with injuries, Rodgers said working with them on the scout team was valuable because they've been out so long.

"It's important for us to find some time to get some reps in. We've (only) been throwing on the side a little bit," Rodgers said.

"That's going to be our opportunities before the season starts. We're going to have to find that connection here in the next couple of weeks."

NOTES: The Packers went from three kickers to two when they released Giorgio Tavecchio, who had competed with incumbent Mason Crosby throughout camp until Zach Ramirez signed Sunday. McCarthy did not rule out the possibility of Tavecchio returning, however. "I told him in a meeting really he's still part of the competition," McCarthy said. . Crosby and Ramirez will go head-to-head in practice on Tuesday, McCarthy said. ... Cornerback Tramon Williams, out since July 27 with a bone bruise in his knee, was back in action, working on the scout-team defence. "I still don't want to go out and say that I will be there Week 1 but for me to be out here now, I think it's definitely a possibility," Williams said. ... McCarthy said running back DuJuan Harris, who reinjured his knee against Seattle, is getting a second opinion. ... Inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) was ruled out for Thursday night's game.