Tracking quarterback interceptions during training camp is one of the most frivolous plots this time of year.
Sure, it's neat that rookie Marcus Mariota has yet to throw a pick in six practices. It's also utterly meaningless without context.
What type of throws is he making? How is the defense playing him? How is his handling of a new offense? Is he taking chances or just playing it safe? Without answers to these and many more questions, merely pointing to some meaningless training camp stat is extraneous fodder.
Take, for instance, Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers' signal-caller throws contested balls more often in practice to see what kind of play his receivers can make on the ball. It might result in a turnover, but it also provides him valuable information to use on Sundays.
"You have to show it in practice in order for me to feel comfortable making those throws in the game," Rodgers said, via ESPN.com. "That's kind of what this is all about. You make some of these throws and see how the guys respond, and if they're making the plays, then they're going to get more opportunities in the preseason and probably be around for the regular season. If they're not making those plays, they probably won't be around."
Added Rodgers: "I threw five last year in the regular season, so I know how to play in those games. Practice is about, it's different plays. The playbook is exponentially larger than the regular-season, game-week plan. So we're trying different things. There's different guys out there running routes who might not be in there when it is the actual game time. So you make different throws, you're working through different plays. Sometimes the defense makes the plays."
Practice is about learning and improving, not how many interceptions a quarterback throws.
But beat writers must do something, apparently.
"I think the good news of that is you're paying attention," coach Mike McCarthy quipped. "I'm impressed with that. I think like anything, whether it's fumbles, no excuse, interceptions, no excuse for them, but they're graded different than they are in the game. You look at the interception -- is it a decision, is it the throw, is it the receiver? I'm just trying to go through the interceptions, I would think at least three or four of them were competitive balls."
Those competitive balls provide Rodgers with valuable information that can lead to future touchdowns.
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