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Aaron Rodgers' practice absence having ill effects

NFL.com | Updated: 2018-09-30 06:00:14

Each week since injuring his knee in the season opener, Aaron Rodgers has sat out practice Wednesday through Friday, taken part Saturday and played Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers starting quarterback missing practice time during the week seems to be having a pervasive effect on the rest of the team.

"He's clearly the guy that probably stirs the drink down there on Hinkle Field," coach Mike McCarthy said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He's so competitive. Once again, the quarterback position has to bring that to your program. You cannot grow during the week if your quarterbacks aren't bringing it."

The final sentence could be read as an indictment of backups DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle, who lead the offense during the week.

Having the starting quarterback on the field on Sunday is obviously the priority, but even Rodgers admits it's difficult not to be able to fine-tune the offense during the week.

"I do love to compete," Rodgers said. "There's no doubt about it. It is difficult and different for me to not be out there. I'm one who always loves being out there because you're not just competing but you're working on things with the guys and working on the game plan, especially on days like Wednesday and Thursday.

"So that's been obviously a struggle for me."

Less than a month into the season, the Packers offense, like many around the league, is still gearing into form. It's much more difficult to find the connection when the starting quarterback is working on the rehab field most of the time.

The lack of chemistry between Rodgers and his receivers was evident in last week's loss to the Washington Redskins. The entire offense just seemed a tad off, whether it was the quarterback uncharacteristically missing throws due to his balky knee or miscommunications with the receivers.

The Packers hope the continued missed time doesn't haunt Sunday's game against a Buffalo Bills defense that just obliterated Green Bay's division rival Minnesota Vikings last week.

UPDATE: McCarthy said Thursday that Rodgers' practice participation has been upgraded to limited, marking the first time since Week 1 that he will get in work on the field during the week.

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