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The Green Bay Packers young receiver woes were on full display during Sunday’s 23-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings but veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers is willing to work through the growing pains of a young offense that he believes at its core is “talented.”
The lack of chemistry was expected with the absence of five-time Pro Bowler Davante Adams, but Rodgers told reporters Wednesday that type of unison doesn’t happen overnight.
“It’s not (the same as) throwing to older guys out there,” he said, via the Wisconsin State Journal. “It’s young guys who are very talented who are going to make some great plays sometimes, and there’s going to be times when they don’t make the right reaction. (It’s about) just having patience with that. Because I think by the end of the year, they’ll have it figured out.”
Second-round draft pick Christian Watson had the chance to haul in a 75-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers early on in the game to even the score but, despite being wide open, the ball seemingly dropped from his hands.
“We knew there was going to be growing pains. This is real football. It counts. It’s different. There’s nerves,” Rodgers said of Watson’s dropped pass after the game. “I thought Christian ran a great route to start the game. We talked about it during the week: ‘Do you really want to start off with a bomb shot?’ I said, ‘Yeah, what the hell, why not? This kid can really fly. Let’s give him a chance.’”
Rodgers’ frustrations were clearly visible on the field but days later he explained what approach will be needed to get on “the same frequency” as his young wideouts.
“There’s a standard I’m going to hold these guys to because I believe in them, but also there’s a patience that comes with the inexperience. I think I’ve learned how to balance that. But the direct conversations are the best way. These are good kids. They really are. They want to please, they want to do the right thing, they care about it,” he said.
“I’m going to figure out a way to continue to get on the same frequency with them, and at the core of it is just communication. … At the end of the day, that’s how that trust is built, through that direct communication.”
Packers wideouts caught a combined 12 passes for 120 yards against the Vikings. By comparison, Adams caught 10 passes for 141 yards in his debut with the Las Vegas Raiders, who fell 24-19 to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Packers will next host the Chicago Bears on Sunday after their surprising upset over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.