Rodgers, LaFleur differ on joint-practice merits

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Matt LaFleur likes joint practices.

Aaron Rodgers does not.

But at least the Green Bay Packers coach and quarterback can agree that after two days of work with the Houston Texans, their offense needs to improve.

While the first-year head coach exalted the benefits of practicing with another team, something the Packers had not since 2005, Rodgers was not on board.

"I wouldn't mind if they didn't do it for another 14 years," Rodgers said Tuesday after the second of two practices leading into Thursday's preseason opener against the Texans -- a game Rodgers isn't expected to play in.

Rodgers voiced two concerns:

  • That the offensive work wasn't of great value because "schematically, there wasn't a lot shown."

  • The risk of injury after Packers kickoff returner Trevor Davis (stinger) and tight end Jace Sternberger (jaw, possible concussion) were hurt in Monday's practice. Both players took hits at the hand of Texans rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr., whom the Texans held out of practice on Tuesday.

"We bring a team in, I understand the point of it, but I don't think doing live special teams drills are very smart," Rodgers said. "I think the [NFL Players Association] is going to look at that, for sure. Kickoff especially is one of the most dangerous plays in football and that's why they've tweaked different things over the years to do -- close to a live kickoff drill, I don't think is the best use of inter-squad practices."

Before Rodgers' comments, LaFleur had said "absolutely 100 percent I want to do this again."

He even said he would be open to doing it multiple times in the same summer.

What LaFleur wasn't happy with was the performance of the offense, which went three-and-out in the 2-minute drill against the Texans' No. 1 defense. It also wasn't the first time in camp that LaFleur has been critical of the effort and urgency.

"Anytime you get shut out there, you can't even pick up a first down, that's extremely disappointing," LaFleur said. "I thought we had some sloppy play, we didn't protect very well, we had penalties, pre-snap penalties, we get a good gain and it gets negated by not having enough men on the line of scrimmage. I think really, all you have to do is communicate with the officials. We've stressed the communication. That's something that's going to make or break us this year."

For his part, Rodgers said he was not concerned about the progress of the offense and expressed no issues with the first-year coach's system.

"I like the scheme," Rodgers said. "I mean, I do. I like the scheme a lot. I like the stresses that it puts on defenses, I like the marriage of the run game with the action. I like our concepts from both stack alignments, bunch alignments and from wide alignments. I think it's going to be very tough to get a bead on what we're doing.

"We do more under-center stuff, which I'm totally confident with and comfortable under center. I feel like that allows us to get some more one-high stuff as many defenses basically have checks -- if you're in the gun it's two-high, if you're under center it's one-high. I think it's going to allow us to open some more things up, get some one-on-one opportunities outside. Just this minor frustration is when you do so many fun, schematic stuff for eight or nine days and then it gets kind of cut back for a couple day. But we'll be on next week, probably playing, and looking forward to just practices."