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.”