Rodgers: 'Not vitally important' to play

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Unless coach Mike McCarthy changes his course, there's a good chance the Green Bay Packers will open the season with a center-quarterback combination that has no game experience -- not even in the preseason -- together.

And that's apparently OK with the quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers said Monday that he and rookie Corey Linsley, who was thrown in to the starting center job a day earlier because of a knee injury that could keep starter JC Tretter out up to six weeks, will have enough practice reps together to be ready for the Sept. 4 opener at the Seattle Seahawks even if he does not play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I feel like we've spent a lot of time in walk-throughs and pre-practice stuff working on things," said Rodgers, who did not play in last year's preseason finale. "That is not vitally important."

It's perhaps more important for Linsley to get game reps regardless of who's at quarterback. So that might mean other offensive line starters won't play as long as Linsley does against the Chiefs. McCarthy declined to say how he will handle playing time in the preseason finale but indicated the change at center won't alter his thinking.

"To go out there and just totally overdo reps because you've got one player that's going to start, I'm not going to do that," McCarthy said. "If I have to do that, then he's not the right guy. Corey will be ready to play, and he needs to get ready to play against Kansas City."

The Packers think Linsley is, as McCarthy put it, "the right guy."

And so, apparently, does Rodgers.

But practicing inside the Don Hutson Center with piped-in crowd sounds and on Ray Nitschke practice field with music blasting over the speakers is not quite the same as dealing with the noise at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, especially when trying to run the no-huddle offense.

"Obviously, it's different when you go into a situation like Seattle with the advantage they have," Rodgers said. "The stadium configuration and the fan support to get that thing pumping with noise the way they do, it's going to be tough. But it would be tough whether it was JC or Corey, so we expect to be ready. JC was like a rookie. He didn't really play last year at all. Either way, it's going to be the first start for Corey. It's going to be a tough environment, but we expect him to play well."

It would take a disastrous performance or an injury for the Packers to change their thinking at center between now and the opener, but they spent part of Monday's practice with left guard Josh Sitton at center. In that scenario, they brought Lane Taylor off the sideline to play in Sitton's guard spot, but the Packers would rather not weaken two positions to fill one.

Last year, the Packers used right guard T.J. Lang as a fill in at center but now think Sitton would be a better emergency option.

"Josh Sitton has the ability, experience to play center," McCarthy said of his All-Pro guard. "He has played center for us in the past."