Packers beat Los Angeles 24-10 in preseason finale

Brett Hundley threw one touchdown and ran for another as the Green Bay Packers finished up the preseason with a 24-10 win against the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night.

Starting for Aaron Rodgers, Hundley played the entire first half, finishing 11 of 21 for 99 yards and the one score. For the preseason, the third-year quarterback threw for 482 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for two more scores.

“I thought he did some good things, made plays,” coach Mike McCarthy said afterwards. “It’s exactly what Brett needed. He needed to play, he needed reps, and we got that done.”

Hundley was replaced by rookie Taysom Hill, who continued to impress. He was 4 of 4 on the night, including a 25-yard touchdown to Aaron Peck, while also rushing for 19 yards. Second-year pro Joe Callahan came in to finish things off.

After not working much on the running game in the first 3 ½ games of the preseason, McCarthy went ground-and-pound in the second half on Thursday. And it resulted in some solid work for the three rookie running backs – Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays. The trio combined for 97 yards, including 48 for Jones.

Twenty-eight players sat out of Thursday’s game, but several members of the starting secondary did suit up and play. Among them was cornerback Davon House. He had missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, but started and played one drive against Los Angeles. The free agent signee said he expects to be good to go for the opener against Seattle on Sept. 10.

“I’m ready,” House said. “I’ll be out there.”

The Packers attention now turns to making roster cuts. They must go from 90 players to 53 by 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Former Packers WR Greg Jennings says Brett Favre quit on the team in a 2007 game

Greg Jennings is at it again.

The former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, who has taken shots at quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy in the past, turned his attention to Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre when he was on FS1’s ‘Undisputed’ on Wednesday.

While discussing Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s decision to say it didn’t matter who played running back with Ezekiel Elliott’s looming six-game suspension, Jennings referred back to a 2007 game against the Cowboys when Favre got knocked out early, allowing Rodgers a chance to show he could play at a high level. Jennings said, like Prescott, he gave words of encouragement to Rodgers while likely thinking he’d rather have Favre behind center. That’s when he veered off course.

“I’m going to be honest right now. I thought Brett quit on us,” Jennings said of Favre, who injured his elbow in the second quarter. “He [had] told me to shoot up [with painkillers] before. I’m (in my second year) now, so I didn’t say it, I’m thinking, ‘Man, just shoot up. Do something.’”

The 2007 season, which ended up being Favre’s last in Green Bay, came 11 years after he entered a drug rehab facility due to an addiction to pain killers.

As for Jennings, it could be argued that the three men he’s trained his focus on – Rodgers, McCarthy and Favre – were largely responsible for helping him the reach the heights he did.

In seven seasons playing with the Packers, he averaged 61 catches, 933 yards and eight touchdowns per year. In the other three seasons he played – two with Minnesota and one in Miami – Jennings averaged 48 catches, 585 yards and four touchdowns.

Stafford’s record contract could mean bigger pay day for Rodgers

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions made quarterback Matthew Stafford the highest-paid player in the National Football League Monday night, but it could mean bigger things for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Stafford had been patiently waiting for a contract extension as he entered the final year of his most recent deal. He was rewarded with a five-year, $135 million extension with an average annual salary of $27 million.

For Rodgers, he could be paid even higher.

2019 will be the final year of Rodgers’ five-year, $110 million contract, which had previously made Rodgers the richest based on annual salary ($22 million). When asked about his status in June, Rodgers didn’t show much concern for his future contract.

“Well, that stuff usually takes care of itself,”  Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “I have a fantastic agent, he does a great job. He worries about that stuff.”

“When it comes to setting the market values, I let that stuff take care of itself. I know my value in this league, and I know the team appreciates me. I’m going to continue to make myself an indispensable part of this roster. When you do that, when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension.”

As pointed out by Acme Packing Company’s Aaron B. Hirschhorn, Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy addressed Rodgers’ situation during this summer’s annual shareholder’s meeting, saying Green Bay would like to come to an agreement with Rodgers prior to the final year of his current deal in 2019.

By locking Rodgers into a new deal before 2019, the Packers can avoid an even higher price tag by the time the New Orleans Saints have to address Drew Brees’ contract in 2018. That could mean a new deal for Rodgers is finalized within the next calendar year, while the Packers have $19.7 million in salary cap space.

Packers hang on for 21-17 win over Redskins

WASHINGTON — After coming out sluggish in the second half, the Green Bay Packers turned it on late for a 21-17 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Saturday night.

Aaron Rodgers saw some time in the first quarter, finishing 6-of-8 for 37 yards and a touchdown. He left the game after connecting with tight end Martellus Bennett for a three-yard touchdown pass.

Brett Hundley took over for Rodgers, ending his night 9-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, though things slowed down in the second half. The first possession after the break saw the offense stall out after a 12-yard completion on 3rd and 9 was negated by a Jason Spriggs hold. Spriggs then allowed a sack on the ensuing 3rd and 23, resulting in a punt. With 9:45 remaining in the game, Green Bay had only put up 17 yards of offense.

But that’s when things started to click again.

Backup quarterback Taysom Hill led Green Bay in rushing, carrying the ball six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. On the scoring drive, Hill had rushes of nine and 23 yards, the latter of which resulted in a score. The next closest yardage leader was Kalif Phillips, a true running back, who collected 17 yards on five carries. Ty Montgomery was sidelined with a knee injury suffered in practice.

Jeff Janis made his case to stick around for a fourth season by leading the team in receiving. He hauled in three passes for 63 yards, but also proved key with his blocking and special teams contributions.

There was still something left to be desired for punter Justin Vogel, who got plenty of work. He had eight punts, averaging 48.3 yards with a long of 63. But the issue was hangtime, with only one punt in the air longer than 4.5 seconds. That was a late 54-yard boomer that stayed up for 6.3 seconds, resulting in a bobbled catch by Washington with the Green Bay coverage unit in his immediate vicinity and ready to bring him down.

The Packers travel to Denver next Saturday night at 8:00 C.T.

Brett Favre thought Aaron Rodgers would have more than one title by now

Count Brett Favre among those surprised Green Bay hasn’t won more than one Super Bowl with quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center.

Speaking at the Lee Remmel Sports Award Banquet in Green Bay Wednesday night, the former Packers quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Fame member told the crowd that he expected the title in 2010 to be followed by more.

“So many factors go into winning and losing other than the individual performance itself. Obviously, Aaron has carried the team for a long time. That’s not going to change. But that in itself is not enough. At least it hasn’t been,” Favre said. “As good as he is, I would have thought they would have won more than one by now, but I don’t know if he can do anything else other than what he’s done up to this point.”

Many said the same thing about Favre’s career. Despite seven division titles and 11 trips to the playoffs during his 16 years in Green Bay, Favre had to settle for the one ring he won in Super Bowl XXXI.

“I don’t think about it as much now,” Favre said. “It’s more directing my focus to something else, because when I was playing there was something I could do about it. ‘Next year there’s a chance. There’s always next year.’ But once you’re done, it’s done.”

Luckily for Rodgers and the Packers, it’s not done yet. And in Favre’s mind, winning a second title this year is definitely within the team’s reach.

“From what I can tell, outside looking in, all the pieces seem to be in place,” Favre said. “A bold prediction would be the Rams win the Super Bowl. A not so bold [pick] would be the Packers. That’s not a [biased] choice, that’s just being realistic. I think they have a good chance.”

The Neighborhood: McCarthy won’t sacrifice longevity for Rodgers’ window

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Among the many things discussed by Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy during Wednesday morning’s training camp introductory press conference were some seemingly innocuous statements about longevity.

“Programs win championships,” McCarthy began, referring back to his thought process as a first-year coach in 2006. “I never thought to sell the farm and be a one-year wonder.”

But after elaborating on his response, it’s clear McCarthy and the Packers have discussed comments from last winter’s playoff run where quarterback Aaron Rodgers put the pressure on management to get him players that can win.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re going all-in every year to win,” Rodgers said after an NFC Championship Game loss to the Atlanta Falcons. “And I think we can take a big step this offseason.”

A lot has been made in recent years about 33-year-old Rodgers and his perceived “window” closing — a reference to the number of years he might remain in elite playing shape. If Rodgers’ pleas were answered, it wouldn’t be the first time a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback got his team to help him win another Super Bowl.

In Peyton Manning’s final season in 2015, the Denver Broncos made a number of free agency moves, highlighted by cornerback Aqib talib and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. That was enough to send him out on top in his 17th NFL season.

Adding to the intrigue was a recent admission by Rodgers that he was entering the “back nine” of his career.

Fast forward to July 26, 2017 in front of reporters in the media auditorium at Lambeau Field, McCarthy seemed unwilling to give in to hints that Rodgers wants more weapons at the expense of prospects.

“Those eight [consecutive years of] playoff victories are a clear reflection of our championship-level program…But my focus is on continuing to grow that.”

“We’ve always focused on the program. We’ve never sold out to win one game.”

Despite McCarthy’s unwillingness to adapt a more nearsighted approach to team-building, general manager Ted Thompson helped acquire players with plenty of star power. Among the notable additions were tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, and offensive guard Jahri Evans.

Green Bay will get its first look at the newest Packers when pads come on during Thursday morning’s first training camp practice.

Aaron Rodgers responds to Greg Jennings’ criticism of Mike McCarthy

Aaron Rodgers has Mike McCarthy’s back.

Days after former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings blamed McCarthy for not having a killer instinct and intimated he was at fault for what has ailed the team, the quarterback came to his head coach’s defense in an interview with WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.

“I think it’s important that when you’re thinking about comments coming from outside the facility, especially by people who haven’t been around the facility in a number of years, you’ve got to take that with a grain of salt,” the two-time NFL MVP said.

“We’re concerned with the opinions of our players and our coaching staff and our organization.”

Jennings, who has criticized Rodgers several times since leaving the team after the 2012 season, said the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick have the right mentality.

“I’m just going to flat-out say it: If we had a lead, our issue wasn’t the defense — our issue was Mike McCarthy,” Jennings said on FS1’s ‘Undisputed.’ “[McCarthy] would cuff us.

“When you watch New England play, when they have a lead, they go for your throat. They don’t relax.”

Rodgers, who claimed to not have heard Jennings’ comments, said his position on McCarthy has been pretty clear.

“He’s our leader and we follow his lead. We love Mike,” Rodgers said. “We believe in him, and he believes in us. So we’ve got his back.”

Aaron Rodgers wins Best NFL player at the ESPYs, Packers take home three awards overall

The Green Bay Packers cleaned up at the 25th annual ESPYs on Wednesday night.

The team took home three awards, including a pair for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Before the show, Rodgers was named ‘Best NFL Player,’ the fourth time he’s earned that honor — the most of any player in the show’s history.

He beat out the likes of Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and regular season MVP Matt Ryan after throwing for 4,428 yards and a league-high 40 touchdowns as the Packers won eight straight games before losing in the NFC title game.

Then during the show, the 33-year-old’s throw to tight end Jared Cook against Dallas in the playoffs was named ‘Best Play.’ It was the second consecutive year that the Packers won the award, with Rodgers’ game-winning ’Hail Mary’ to tight end Richard Rodgers against Detroit in 2015 winning last summer.

Finally, wide receiver Jordy Nelson won ‘Best Comeback Athlete’ after he returned from a knee injury that cost him the entire 2015 season to lead the NFL with 14 touchdowns in 2016. He’s the first Green Bay player to win that award.

Aaron Rodgers among the betting favorites to win the MVP

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers already has two Most Valuable Player awards, and he’s among the favorites to earn a third in 2017.

According to Bovada LV Sportsbook, the 33-year-old has the second-best odds behind New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to take home the award. Rodgers is 7/1, while Brady sits at 4/1. There are five more players behind them before someone that doesn’t play quarterback – Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott – makes an appearance at 20/1.

There are two defensive players named, including former Wisconsin star and current Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who is listed at 66/1.

Few players were as hot as Rodgers was to end 2016. He was the driving force behind a six-game winning streak to earn a playoff spot for a eighth straight year and led Green Bay to the NFC title game for a third time since 2010. For the season, Rodgers finished with an NFL-high 40 touchdowns and his passer rating of 104.2 was fourth-best in the league.

Rodgers earned his first MVP award in 2011 and picked up his second in 2014. Only Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning have won the MVP three or more times in league history.

Thompson on RBs: “We need some more guys”

PHOENIX — Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson touched on a variety of topics during Monday’s NFL Owners Meetings, including a need for more bodies in the backfield.

“We need some more guys,” Thompson said in reference to adding running backs. “We’re a little short in a couple of areas. So from a personnel standpoint, we’ve got to get some more bodies, but we like the guys that we have. It’s just that we’d like to get some more.”

The departure of Eddie Lacy and the release of James Starks leaves just three running backs on roster, none of which have carried the workload a full season would entail. Ty Montgomery, who switched from wide receiver to running back last season, carried the ball 77 times for 457 yards and three touchdowns.

Reports from over the weekend indicated Thompson and the Packers were considering a meeting with former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson but that his asking price was too steep. Those reports also stated that Green Bay may address Peterson after the NFL Draft next month if their needs aren’t met. But when Thompson was asked about Peterson on Monday, he became tight-lipped.

“Let’s all together answer that question,” Thompson told a group of reporters. “We don’t talk about players that are not on our team. We never have, we never will. It doesn’t serve a purpose, I don’t think.”

Thompson and the Packers have roughly $24 million in cap space remaining for this offseason, and while he admitted it’s possible another player is added, that money might be saved for a future contract extension for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.