The Green Bay Packers fell to the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Sunday's season opener at U.S. Bank Stadium, and reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows his team needs to clean things up entering Week 2.
"Drops are going to happen," Rodgers said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. "They suck more when it would've been a walk-in touchdown, but the ones that are most frustrating are the mental mistakes, and we made way too many of those on Sunday, and that's what we got to clean up."
"We can't have a bunch of robotic things going on out there. We need guys who are able to react in real time and to make adjustments on the fly and some of that is experience, for sure, and some of that is just in the preparation. It's not just understanding what you need to do, but why you need to do what you're doing and then what to expect, which will change what is drawn on the paper to what actually needs to show up in live time in the game.
"So, again, that's why we need to have patience. A lot of these guys have not played a ton of football and really it's not something that could have been figured out in training camp or some offseason throwing session. These are live rep things with the pressure of a regular season game, with the pressure of it counting. ... It all comes down to in the moment, can we make the right adjustment? Can we think quickly but have a slow mind? Can we play fast but be under control?
"And that's why I'm not too worried about it. There's a lot of talent on our side of the ball. We just got to execute a little bit better."
One of the plays Rodgers was referencing was when he dialed up a deep pass to rookie wide receiver Christian Watson on the first play of Green Bay's first drive of the game. The second-rounder ran a great route and left Minnesota cornerback Patrick Peterson in the dust, but he dropped the ball on what would have been a touchdown.
Watson went on to finish the game with two catches for 34 yards. A.J. Dillon, Romeo Doubs and Robert Tonyan all had more receptions than Watson, who entered Green Bay with some high expectations.
Considering the Packers traded star wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders over the offseason, the offense was expected to go through its growing pains.
Of course, the franchise would have liked to iron out the kinks in training camp, but as Rodgers said, playing in a game that actually counts with a lot more pressure is an entirely different experience.
Green Bay has some time to figure things out, but with the Vikings and Chicago Bears starting the season with wins, the franchise will need to get things under control quickly.