Rodgers calls for patience in young Packers receivers despite Watson's key drop

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Aaron Rodgers urged patience with the Green Bay Packers' young wide receiver group after rookie Christian Watson's early drop of a would-be touchdown proved costly against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers, playing their first regular-season game since trading All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason, averaged just 5.3 yards per pass in a listless 23-7 defeat to the Vikings in Week 1.

Green Bay would have put up more points if not for a loss of concentration from second-round pick Watson, who beat veteran Patrick Peterson on a downfield route but let a perfectly placed deep ball from Rodgers slip through his fingers on the Packers' first offensive play of the game.

That would have tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, and the Packers did not find the endzone until the third, by which point they were in a 20-0 hole.

Rodgers looked visibly exasperated after the Watson drop and cut a frustrated figure during the loss.

However, he accepts that such moments are going to be part of the process of replacing Adams in part with two rookies in Watson and fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs.

"He [Watson] knew there was gonna be growing pains, this is the real football, it counts, it's different, there's nerves," Rodgers said.

"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', we've got to make those plays.

"We've got to have patience with those guys, they're young, they haven't been in the fire.

"That patience will be thinner as the season goes on but the expectation will be high, so we'll keep them accountable but it's gonna happen, there's gonna be drops, hate to see it on the first play but there's gonna be drops throughout the season.

"We had a lot of chances today. Not taking anything away from [the Vikings'] defense, but we hurt ourselves many times, myself included. I had a lot of opportunities to score a lot more than seven.

"[We] made a lot of mistakes in the perimeter, missed some throws, so there's a lot to clean up all the way around."

The Packers will look to bounce back in Week 2 when they have a second straight divisional game, this time at home to the Chicago Bears.