Not quite a month after he suffered a sprained left knee in a season-opening win over the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is looking healthy again, the Detroit Lions insist.
“He looks really good to me,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said on a conference call Tuesday. “He looks like he is moving around just fine. I think you can see it in his play. I think he’s probably in a position where he feels like he can do everything and maybe they were trying to limit him a little bit, but he doesn’t look like he’s limited at all so I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.”
Rodgers injured his knee in the first half of a Week 1 win, but returned after a brief absence to lead the Packers to a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback.
He threw for 281 adrenaline-fueled yards in a Week 2 tie against the Minnesota Vikings, and was clearly not himself the following week in a loss to Washington.
Last week, Rodgers threw for 298 yards and a touchdown and scrambled five times for 31 yards in a 22-0 shutout of the Buffalo Bills. He practiced during the week for the first time since suffering the injury, and said after the game he felt “tremendously better.”
“He’s an extremely athletic player,” Patricia said. “Even if you go back to the Washington game where you can say he wasn’t moving as well, but he still scrambled and ran for first downs on third down and no one could catch him. So this guy is very, very dangerous when he’s out in space. This guy can make and create a lot of plays, not only with his arms but with his legs.”
Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni said it’s important the Lions keep Rodgers in the pocket Sunday because he’s one of the best in the NFL at extending plays with his mobility.
“I know that he was hurt in the first game against the Chicago Bears, but as you evaluate the film, especially last week’s film against Buffalo, he’s moving extremely well,” Pasqualoni said. “He’s playing at a very, very high level. He’s running the ball. He’s doing everything that he’s always done and he’s doing it very well. So I think we have to be prepared for Aaron Rodgers to come in here, we got to be prepared for his best shot cause that’s what we’ll expect to get.”
More carries for Kerryon?
Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter declined to wade into the discussion about whether rookie running back Kerryon Johnson was used enough in last week’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Johnson, the Lions’ best running back this year, played just 20 of a possible 54 snaps against the Cowboys. He broke a 32-yard run on the game’s first play, but finished with only 10 offensive touches.
“Number of touches and all that stuff’s not really something I’m going deep down the path of,” Cooter said. “Every game’s a little different. You don’t know situationally what’s going to happen with each game from a rep perspective, from a situational perspective, from a matchup perspective. The ultimate goal is to win the game. That’s the goal each week. That’s what we put all our thought into, all our work into and that’s the emphasis for us.”
Johnson leads the Lions with 216 yards rushing through four games but is averaging just 12 touches a week between carries and receptions. Cooter would not say what an ideal workload is for the 204-pound rookie.
“I’m still not going to go down the path of like an ideal workload or a sort of number of touches type of thought process,” he said “We’re going to keep that in house. I think that’s kind of strategic information we’d like to hang onto.”
Hand me down
Patricia would not confirm an NFL Network report that safety Quandre Diggs broke his hand against the Cowboys.
Diggs missed the entire fourth quarter with the injury, and with Tavon Wilson sidelined with a back problem, the Lions used rookie Tracy Walker in his place.
It’s unclear how much time Diggs will miss because of the injury or if he’ll be able to play with his hand in a cast.
“Everybody’s really different with different injuries that everybody has,” Patricia said. “There’s probably cases of players throughout the history of the league playing with different broken body parts. I’m pretty sure I remember a linebacker from Pittsburgh back in the ’70s who broke his leg by the name of Jack Youngblood and I think he played with that at one point, too. So I really have no idea as far as that’s concerned with all the different players.”
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