Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers believes the number of penalties being called against teams -- which has been high during the preseason -- will eventually diminish once the regular season kicks off on Sept. 7.
Aaron Rodgers believes penalties against teams will eventually diminish once the regular season kicks off.
The NFL preseason has seen too many penalty flags thrown -- a trend which Rodges believes will change in less than three weeks' time, per Mike Spofford of the Packers' official website:
"Aaron Rodgers believes there's a clear method to the madness of all the penalty flags being thrown this preseason, and that the current trade is going to change next month.
"The NFL has made downfield contact between receivers and defensive backs, as well as contact to the heads of offensive and defensive linemen points of emphasis this season, and the result has been preseason games turning into flag-tests that have slowed the pace of games and frustrated players who are doing what they've grown accustomed to.
"The league office has said players will have to adjust. Rodgers suggested on Tuesday it might be the officials who will adjust some, too.
"'This is my own opinion, but I believe there is a message being sent this preseason with the number of flags,' Rodgers said. 'But I don't see how you can continue to ref it the same way. As we've seen, there are so many calls that can be called on every single play, whether it's offensive holding or illegal contact or what have you.'
"Rodgers had a TD pass to receiver Jordy Nelson last Saturday in St. Louis called back to an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty on left tackle David Bakhtiari. Rodgers said that particular emphasis may require a different approach because linemen on both sides can duck their heads in trying to execute certain moves, and the head-to-head contact becomes incidental.
"'The intent is not to harm the player or (commit) a violation of the player safety stuff they want to cut back on,' Rodgers said. 'They need to potentially take a look at it.'
"Rodgers made it clear on Tuesday he doens't need to look at any more centers, proclaiming JC Tretter a trustworthy starter who 'gives us absolutely zero cause for concern at the position.'
"Tight end would still appear a bit up in the air, however, with Brandon Bostick's lower leg injury creating an opportunity for second-year pro Jake Stoneburner to get some snaps with the first unit. Bostick, who is out for a couple of weeks, said his injury is to his right leg and is not related to the left foot that required surgery in the offseason.
"Stoneburner made an immediate impression on Tuesday, catching a pass from Rodgers up the seam in one of the early periods.
"'I think they want to see what everyone's got,' Stoneburner said. 'Definitely when you're out there with the starters and with 12 behind the center, you can see what you really can do because he'll get any type of throw out there.
"'This is probably the biggest opportunity I'll get.'"
In a related team development, the Packers told ESPN's Rob Demovsky on Aug. 20 they plan to use reguar-season hand signals which are much different from what they're currently using during the preseason:
"If the Seattle Seahawks think they have the Green Bay Packers' no-huddle offense figured out from watching Aaron Rodgers run it last Saturday at the St. Louis Rams, they should think again.
"According to several Packers' players and coaches, the hand signals they are using in the preseason are nothing like what they will use to combat the noise when the regular season opens in the Pacific Northwest on Sept. 4.
"'It's really geared towards our first game,' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. 'So you don't want to show a whole lot. I think our players, particularly on offense have done a great job with communication. No-huddle is a big part of what we do. To have a set of signals for preseason and a whole different set for the regular season, this is really the first year we've done that. So, we just have a lot more going on.'
"The reason for the different hand signals is two-fold:
"1. The Packers want to keep the Seahawks guessing.
"2. They believe several of the players they cut in their roster reduction at the end of camp may be picked up by other teams on their schedule.
"'It's tough, especially when you play in a no-huddle situation,' quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. 'You hvae 90 guys in camp but 53 are going to be around so, obviously, some people aren't going to be here. You try to have the second group of signals ready to go. Use the ones we use in camp then say, 'All right, guys, let's wipe the slate and here's the new set.'
"'That's part of dealing with crowd noise is having the ability to change signals. Maybe one week the signal is 'this,' and the next week the same signal becomes the double move off of that. Just try to keep the defense guessing.'"
The 30-year-old Rodgers is entering his 10th NFL season. He has thrown for 24,197 yards, 188 touchdowns and 52 touchdowns on a 104.9 passer rating in 94 career regular-season games, per ESPN stats.