- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Aaron Rodgers’ obsession with avoiding interceptions doesn’t come from his time backing up Brett Favre.

He didn’t learn it at the University of California or at Butte Community College or even Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California.

No, the reason Rodgers enters Sunday’s game at Miami having thrown 12 touchdowns and just one interception through the first five games dates all the way back to his pee-wee team.

“I think it comes from playing for Chico Jaguars back in the eighth grade for coach Curtis Holder and throwing way too many interceptions,” Rodgers said earlier this week on his radio show. “We weren’t very good, but I threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

“(Since then), I’ve always tried to keep my interception total low,” he said. “Realize that if I don’t turn the football over, then I’m helping our team have a better chance to win the game.”

The Packers have won back-to-back games after a Sept. 21 loss at Detroit left Green Bay at 1-2. Rodgers told concerned fans to “relax” and then went on a tear, completing 34 of 45 passes (75.6 percent) for 458 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 147.0.

“I think that’s Aaron. Aaron wants to be challenged,” quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. “I think he loves to be talked about in a negative light, like he was after the Detroit game. I think it only makes him stronger and better as a player.”

That goes back to youth football, too, where Holder found the ultimate motivator for Rodgers, who was playing football for the first time.

“If he threw an interception, I wouldn’t throw anymore. I’d just run the football,” recalled Holder in a telephone interview this week. “And that worked. We passed a lot.”

Rodgers’ only interception this season came in the regular-season opener Sept. 4, when he said he missed his mark by about a foot and the ball caromed to Seattle cornerback Bryon Maxwell. Since then, Rodgers has gone 128 attempts without a pick, the fourth-longest streak of his career. He had a 157-attempt run in 2008, went 181 passed without an interception in 2010 and had a 184-pass streak in 2012, including playoffs.

No quarterback in NFL history has a lower interception percentage (1.7 percent) or higher passer rating (105.4) than Rodgers. And having just thrown his 200th career touchdown pass a week ago against Minnesota, no quarterback had fewer interceptions (53) at the time of his 200th TD than Rodgers.

“Our No. 1 objective is to take care of the football, (to) maximize the number of possessions you get during the course of a game,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. “It starts with the quarterback position. The quarterback handles the football on every single play. So, he’s excellent at that and has been his whole career. It’s a standard he’s set and we definitely benefit from it.”

NOTES: Packers starting left tackle David Bakhtiari was added to the injury report as a limited participant in practice Thursday because of a back injury, but McCarthy insisted the team was “just being smart with him. Today at practice, his back was bothering him a little bit.” . Defensive end Datone Jones (ankle) and wide receiver Jarrett Boykin (groin) did not practice again Thursday, making it unlikely they will play Sunday against the Dolphins.


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