“Quarterback whisperer’” Martellus Bennett talked to Aaron Rodgers

"Chemistry was one of my best classes, and in real life chemistry is one of my best traits," said Martellus Bennett.

“Chemistry was one of my best classes, and in real life chemistry is one of my best traits,” said Martellus Bennett.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Sure, Martellus Bennett would love more preseason snaps with Aaron Rodgers — or any preseason snaps with his quarterback at this point — but the Green Bay Packers’ new tight end has another formula that he thinks will help them connect on the field when it counts.

“I need all the reps I can with Aaron — practice reps, game reps, meeting room reps,” Bennett said. “Any rep I can get with him I’ll try to get, whether it’s just whispering to him, try to be the quarterback whisperer. It’s just a lot of communication and a lot of reps. Over-communicate and over-rep every single thing we could possibly do.”

Rodgers probably doesn’t need to play in the preseason for his own good, but he might for Bennett’s.
It was no surprise that Rodgers didn’t play in last Thursday’s preseason opener against the Eagles, although he did surprisingly take part in pregame warm-ups. And given that Rodgers took only the first rep of every period on Tuesday with the No. 1 offense and then jumped over to the scout team like he did last week, it looks like this preseason might mirror last year’s — when Rodgers played just two series (26 total snaps) in the second-to-last preseason game.

If that’s the case, then Rodgers’ only preseason snaps likely will come on Aug. 26 at Denver.

And that’s fine with him even though last year he didn’t exactly start the regular season fast. Rodgers said last week that there’s no correlation between playing time in preseason games and how an offense starts the season.

“I felt great, I felt great,” Rodgers said of how he felt going into last season. “It was nice. Body felt really good. You know, we do things on the side conditioning wise to make sure we’re ready to go. So I initially felt great. I would assume this year with Denver being the third preseason game I’ll play for sure in that one. And that altitude will help with the conditioning because it’s tough to play out there.

“We played out there in 2008 in the preseason, I had a good half of football, but yeah, it’s preseason. Mike [McCarthy] wants to look at the other guys for sure [in] extended time. He feels good about what we’ve got, we’re trying to work our timing in practice with the young guys and the new tight ends. We’ll figure it out as we go.”

Bennett said he believes he and Rodgers will be on the proverbial same page come Sept. 10 for the regular-season opener against the Seahawks.

Rodgers has raved about Bennett almost ever since he arrived for the offseason program back in April and there’s been nothing on the practice field to indicate the two won’t have an immediate chemistry, but the reality is they may not know until the games count.

“I’m like everybody’s type, so I have chemistry with everybody,” Bennett said. “I never really had problems having chemistry with anyone. Chemistry was one of my best classes, and in real life chemistry is one of my best traits. So I have a lot of good chemistry with a lot of good people, so I don’t lack in the chemistry field.”

Bennett played 11 snaps — all with Brett Hundley as the quarterback — in the preseason opener and caught the only pass that came his way, a 13-yard pickup on a third-and-2 slant.

“It doesn’t matter who throws the ball or who’s back there, I’ve just got to do my job,” Bennett said. “That’s what I try to do, make it easy for the quarterbacks.”

The president of the Packers Mark Murphy: The appearance of the Super Bowl in Minnesota is very interesting for fans

GREEN BAY, Wis. — It would be heaven for the Green Bay Packers but a nightmare for the Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun for all our fans to drive across the state when we’re in the Super Bowl in Minneapolis,” Packers president Mark Murphy told a crowd of about 7,000 on Monday at Lambeau Field for the team’s annual shareholders meeting.

After the meeting, Murphy clarified that it wasn’t meant to be a guarantee that the Packers would return to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2010 season.

“It certainly wasn’t a guarantee,” Murphy said. “It was just that it would be really nice to play in a Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Not only is it a short drive … I hear from fans all the time in western Wisconsin, and Minneapolis is a great city, and the new stadium is really pretty spectacular. It will be a really nice Super Bowl.”

The Packers are one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, their odds are 10-1, behind only the New England Patriots (3-1) and the Dallas Cowboys (8-1).
The Packers know they’ll never host a Super Bowl in Green Bay, so Minneapolis might be the closest thing they’d ever get to playing for the NFL title at home. And it would be another chapter in the sometimes bitter rivalry between the two NFC North teams. It’s a rivalry that includes Brett Favre’s two years with the Vikings after the Packers traded him to the New York Jets.

The Packers are coming off a loss in the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta, which prompted another tongue-in-cheek guarantee from Murphy at Monday’s meeting: “We’re going to host the NFC Championship Game every year we can.”

Speaking of events at Lambeau Field, Murphy said he expected to hear from the NFL at this time next year about the Packers’ and Green Bay’s bid to host the NFL draft beginning in 2019. They have put in a bid to host in 2019, 2020 and/or 2021.

“What I’ve heard is they’re going to announce soon the ’18 draft [location soon], so it would probably around this time a year from now that they’re looking at ’19,” Murphy said.

Murphy also confirmed that there have been discussions about a college football game between Wisconsin and Notre Dame at Lambeau Field. The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that a series could start between the two schools in the 2020s, with games at Chicago’s Soldier Field and Lambeau.

“I would say we’ve been working on that for a while, and I’m very hopeful very soon we’ll be able to make an announcement,” Murphy said. “What we’d like to is, and I mentioned it, have a big major event in the bowl every year. I thought last year the Wisconsin-LSU game was very positive, and the Billy Joel concert, and obviously I think a Notre Dame-Wisconsin game would be pretty special.”

Packers WR Geronimo Allison faces marijuana charges

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers receiver Geronimo Allison will appear in court later this month on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana in nearby Manitowoc County, according to Wisconsin circuit court records.

The court records show Allison was pulled over on Sept. 4, the day after he was released in final cuts and the day before he was re-signed to the Packers’ practice squad. Allison was eventually elevated to the roster on Oct. 24.

Allison, 22, was cited for speeding, going 11 miles over the posted speed limit, and paid a $200.50 fine, court records showed.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which first reported the charge, police smelled marijuana coming from his rental car and found cigars that later tested positive for marijuana.

The marijuana charge was added on Dec. 15, and he has an initial court appearance scheduled for Jan. 23, according to the circuit court website.

“The Packers are aware of the matter involving Geronimo Allison,” the team said in a statement to ESPN.com. “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will refrain from making any further comment.”

Allison was signed as an undrafted free agent from Illinois. He caught 12 passes for 202 yards with two touchdowns in the regular season and had one catch for 8 yards in last Sunday’s playoff win over the New York Giants.

He’s expected to be a significant contributor in this Sunday’s divisional-round game at Dallas, especially if Jordy Nelson’s rib injury keeps him out.

Clay Matthews Elite Jersey

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The play that knocked Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer from last week’s game at Green Bay cost Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews $18,231.

The NFL fined Matthews for leading with the crown of his helmet on the hit. Hoyer sustained a broken left arm and was placed on injured reserve after undergoing surgery.

His recovery is expected to be 6-8 weeks.

Matthews combined with Julius Peppers to hit Hoyer in the second quarter of the Packers’ 26-10 win at Lambeau Field. Neither was penalized on the play.

Matt Barkley finished the game for the Bears. Opening-day starter Jay Cutler has been cleared to play for the first time since his Week 2 thumb injury.

It’s the first time Matthews has been fined this season. He was fined $17,363 last season for a hit on quarterback Nick Foles in a game against the Rams.

Elite Eddie Lacy Jersey

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have traded backup running back Knile Davis to the Green Bay Packers, who desperately need to add depth to their injury-riddled backfield.

The Packers gave up a conditional draft pick Tuesday for Davis, who has already started practicing with his new team. A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the pick is a conditional seventh-rounder in 2018.

The Packers needed help at running back with Eddie Lacy nursing a bothersome ankle and James Starks undergoing knee surgery. Lacy was their only active running back against Dallas on Sunday, when he rushed for 65 yards on 17 carries in a 30-16 loss.

Starks will be out a couple of weeks. Lacy was being held out of practice Wednesday because the ankle was “very sore,” coach Mike McCarthy said.

A source told ESPN on Tuesday that the Packers are concerned over Lacy’s availability for Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears.

That means the Packers will have to get Davis up to speed on the playbook quickly if he is going to be ready when the Bears visit Lambeau Field on Thursday night.

“It’s obviously a big challenge when you’re on a short week, but he’s definitely a talented young player,” McCarthy said. “So just looking forward to getting him into the mix and get going.”

Top cornerback Sam Shields, who has been out since the season opener with a concussion, was placed on injured reserve to make room for Davis on the active roster.

The Packers have been struggling in the passing game, and the injuries to Lacy and Starks have added to their issues on offense. McCarthy got a look at Davis in Green Bay’s last preseason game, when he ran for 58 yards and 1 touchdown on 14 carries in the Chiefs’ 17-7 win on Sept. 1.

Davis had been passed over by Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West on the Chiefs’ depth chart, and the return of Jamaal Charles from his knee injury made him expendable.

“I feel like I’m off the reins,” Davis said after practice Tuesday. “I’m just excited to be a part of Green Bay and do what I can here. Hopefully my role is bigger.”

Davis, a former Arkansas standout, was the Chiefs’ third-round pick in 2013. He was expected to team with Charles in a power-and-lightning backfield. But issues with fumbles that plagued him in college continued in the NFL, and he gradually lost playing time to other running backs.

His best season was in 2014, when he ran for 463 yards and six touchdowns. But he has only carried 29 times for 70 yards and 1 touchdown the past two seasons combined.

Davis was a longshot to make Kansas City’s roster out of training camp, but his special teams ability may have made the difference. He has averaged 27.2 yards on kickoff returns during his four-year career, and he returned three kicks for touchdowns.

The fact that the Chiefs and Packers were trade partners is hardly surprising. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey played for the Packers in the 1980s, spent most of his career in their front office and rose to director of football operations before joining the Chiefs prior to the 2013 season.

Davis was the third player he drafted in Kansas City.