“Absolutely,” Saturday said after Monday’s practice. “That’s why I came here. When we sat down and I talked to Mike (McCarthy) … ‘What’s the goal?’ ‘To win a championship.’ It’s not to win a division, … it’s to win a championship. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’ve only got so many left.”
Entering his 14th season, Saturday went to two Super Bowls with the Colts, winning one. He’s now working with his second MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers after snapping to Peyton Manning in Indianapolis for roughly a decade.
“I tell them, those guys are awfully lucky to have me as a center,” Saturday said, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “No, I’m just kdding. It’s incredible. How blessed can you be, right? You go from MVP to MVP, and both guys are well-deserving.
“Aaron is an absolute stud. I’ve been impressed with his work ethic, I’ve been very impressed with his knowledge of the offense, and I’m excited to have a chance to win with him. Let’s go try to put another trophy on the shelf, man.”
The Packers brought Saturday to Green Bay to help them win, of course, but also to possibly help tutor a center of the future. The best candidate at the moment is Evan Dietrich-Smith, whom Saturday already has taken under his wing. Saturday said he’s been feeding Dietrich-Smith various “little tricks of the trade.”
“I keep telling him, you have to try all these things, and once you get them, they help you go a long way,” Saturday said. “They look really good in a game. When you practice them against the same guy every day, it may not look as good. But you get accustomed to doing them in the game and they’re going to make you a better player.
“He’s a great kid. The kid’s got a great future ahead of him and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Elsewhere on offense, WR Tori Gurley continues to get opportunities to use his 6-4, 232-pound frame on jump balls. The QBs gave him repeated tries at an end-zone/corner-fade, and he came down with the first two. The first one was in a one-on-one drill against CB Casey Hayward, and after the catch, Rodgers encouraged Gurley to celebrate with the crowd. Call it a “Nitschke Leap” for Ray Nitschke Field, but the crowd was eating it up.
“I’m just having fun,” Gurley said. “I see how (Donald) Driver gets the crowd going, so I was like, you know what, I can do the same myself. Every time I catch a ball, I just wink at somebody and enjoy myself.
“I look forward to “Lambeau leaping” pretty soon.”
Gurley’s other jump-ball TD came over CB Otis Merrill in an 11-on-11 red-zone period. In a later red-zone team period, QB Graham Harrell tried to go up top to Gurley, but CB Davon House played the ball well and kept it from Gurley’s grasp.
“He plays his technique well and he uses his size,” Gurley said of House, who’s 6-1, 195. “He was able to make some plays. I got him and he got me. We’re just going to keep competing, and hopefully Family Night, I have the better showing.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, graham harrell, jeff saturday, jump ball, mvp, tori gurley
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News and notes from Monday:
–General Manager Ted Thompson commented on the pre-camp release of safety Charlie Peprah: “Charlie’s a great guy. He’s one of us. He helped us win a Super Bowl. We just felt it was time to move on.”
–Thompson defended a Packers defense that came under a lot of fire last season: “Our offense was clicking every week last year. When you’re playing an offense like we had last year, you have to up the ante a little bit. I think we were a little better defensively than the numbers project.”
–Rookie quarterback B.J. Coleman is getting a full dose of coaching from the trio of Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements and Quarterbacks Coach Ben McAdoo, and Coleman is already showing signs of improvement.
“They’re unbelievable at developing the quarterback position. The other piece of it is Aaron (Rodgers), watching him and how he goes about his business, how he operates this offense. I feel very confident when the ball comes out of my hand. I’m just getting there. The biggest thing is making sure you’re like a sponge.”
–Packers wide receiver Tori Gurley was a teammate of O.J. Murdock’s at South Carolina. It was reported on Monday that Murdock, a wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans, had died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Coming out of high school, he was ‘The Man.’ He was one of (Steve) Spurrier’s first highly touted guys to come to South Carolina,” Gurley said of Murdock, who Gurley described as a “laid back guy.”
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