Packers QB Aaron Rodgers looks sharp in surprise appearance

Aaron Rodgers was a surprise starter in Saturday's preseason game at Washington, but there was nothing surprising about the performance of the Green Bay Packers quarterback.

Playing just one series, Rodgers looked to be in midseason form: He caught the Redskins with 12 men on the field to keep the drive alive, scrambled for 13 yards on a third down, and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass on a fade to his new tight end, Martellus Bennett.

"I was looking for the offense to get off to a good start, get that first drive together," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "I thought our run-pass mix was excellent. Aaron played extremely well. We hit the target. That’s why you wait the course of the week. There’s different factors that go into how much you want each guy to play, and for the most part, I thought we came close to the play-time opportunities for all of our players."

For Rodgers, it was a 15-play, 75-yard drive on which he completed 6 of 8 passes for 37 yards. The touchdown to Bennett was a perfectly placed throw to the 6-foot-6 tight end, who was covered by 6-1 linebacker Zach Brown.

"Yeah, it was good," Rodgers said after the game of his first live reps with Bennett. "I threw it a little low. He’s been calling for it up high, but he had a great route. He had a nice release off the ball and had a lot of separation. I was thinking more jump ball before the snap -- I watched the replay and I probably could have put it to the corner on that. We’ll just keep working on it. We’ve been working in practice inside on some of that stuff. He did a good job for us. He’s going to be a big part of our offense."

It looks like Rodgers will get more preseason work than he got last year, when he played in just one game and then had a slow start to the season.

Considering Rodgers said this week that he expects to see action in next week's third preseason game at Denver, he'll likely total more than just the two series he played last exhibition season.

Although Rodgers said earlier this month that he thinks there is no correlation between preseason playing time and how a team starts the regular season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy appears set to play Rodgers more before the Sept. 10 season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

Rodgers did not play in last week’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Mike just told me I’m going to play yesterday," Rodgers said. "I kind of figured I would; I took some of the reps with the first team this week. It’s preseason. I’ve voiced my opinions about preseason in the past, but it’s good to get out there. It was a good, long drive for us. Good to feel the tempo for guys like Jahri [Evans] and Marty. But yeah, probably play a little bit more next week.

"It’s good for them to feel the tempo. Some of the calls are a little different when I’m out there. We’ve obviously got a little bit more latitude with the playbook. Yeah, we’ll just keep working in practice. The key for us is to continue to let them feel the tempo when I’m out there next week as we take more reps and, obviously, probably take some more game play next week in Denver."

The summer of 2012 was the last time Rodgers played in all four preseason games. That year, he took 79 snaps in 14 series.

Since then, Rodgers' summer work has amounted to three games in 2013 (five series, 45 snaps), two games in 2014 (eight series, 69 snaps), two games in 2015 (five series, 45 snaps), one game last year (two series, 26 snaps) and Saturday's single series.