Packers' new offense (not new helmet) on Aaron Rodgers' mind

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers is more interested in how the Green Bay Packers’ new offense performs in Thursday’s preseason game against the Ravens than which helmet he’ll wear when he takes the field in Baltimore.

The Packers quarterback must pick new headwear because the model he’s worn since the 2010 season has been banned for this season by the NFL. He said Tuesday that he will decide between two models that he has been testing -- one of which is made by a company that he has a financial stake in.

But it did not sound like it was foremost on his mind, at least not to the degree of Raiders receiver Antonio Brown, who lost a grievance in an effort to continue to wear his banned helmet.

“There’s a connection to a helmet, for sure,” Rodgers said. “I loved my helmet -- every one that I’ve worn. I don’t know that I would want to retire if I couldn’t wear my helmet. I obviously didn’t because I’m here today. I’m sure he can find one that he really likes.”

All eyes will be on Rodgers -- not on his helmet -- because Thursday will be his debut in the Packers’ new offense that first-year coach Matt LaFleur has installed.

LaFleur said Tuesday that Rodgers and the starters -- minus running back Aaron Jones, who won’t play because he recently came back from a hamstring injury -- will play “a quarter or so. Just kind of dependent on how we perform out there. That’s the plan going into it.”

LaFleur sat Rodgers and 15 other likely starters in last week’s preseason opener against the Texans.

When asked what Rodgers wanted to get out of the quarter or so of action, he said: “Healthy. Efficiency. Communication sorted out the right way with the plays coming in and the delivery to the line and the adjustments within the plays and obviously be efficient.

“It will be a good test for our first time running this offense in another stadium on the road against a really good defense.”

Rodgers barely played in the last few preseasons, which was understandable given his familiarity with then-coach Mike McCarthy’s offense. Last summer, Rodgers played only seven snaps -- all in one preseason game. He said he expects to play in this game and the third preseason game against the Raiders on Aug. 22 in Winnipeg.

It will be Rodgers’ first game action since he sustained a concussion in last year’s regular-season finale. That was at least the third known concussion of Rodgers’ NFL career. He knew even before last season that he would have to make a helmet change for the 2019 season because the Schutt AiR XP Pro that he had worn would no longer be allowed.

“I changed after ’10 when I had two concussion to a safer one,” Rodgers said. “I was wearing the one like (Brett Favre) was wearing for so long. That was a little outdated probably, and then I think around that time when the CBA got signed they had some better regulations about the safety quality of the helmets and I’ve just kind of been up to date for years. Last year, my helmet -- because there’s been such advancements in helmet safety -- my helmet was in the not-as-safe category but anybody wearing that got one more year to find a new helmet. I knew coming in I was going to have to change.”

He said he has been testing a new helmet by Schutt and one by VICIS. He said the helmet fitting has become so advanced that he can switch between the two and does not notice a difference.

Rodgers actually has a financial interest in VICIS.

“I’ve invested some money in VICIS because I believe in the product,” Rodgers said. "The last two years [they] have the safest helmet on the market. I purchased a number of them for high schools in northern California -- all three in my area: Chico High School, our rival, Pleasant Valley High School, where I went, and Paradise High School, as well, so those kids can have the safety product out there.”