Green Bay Packers‘ quarterback Aaron Rodgers will soon be able to pass on a good part of his practice responsibilities to someone — or rather something — else. Green Bay is set to be the first team in the NFL to try “Seeker,” a high-tech JUGS machine that can be programmed to do the job of a quarterback, kicker or punter.
The Packers have eight of the machines, which can be programmed to change the ball’s velocity, distance location and arc. Each robot has a six-ball magazine and can do 500 throws per hour.
The velocity it gets on the ball is quite impressive, as it can “punt” and “kick” a ball up to 75 MPH.
During Monday’s training camp, a spokesperson for the company explained how players like safety Adrian Amos — who had his own personal Seeker before the Packers acquired theirs — would go about using the machine by wearing a sensor.
“He can watch film on Kirk Cousins and say, when Kirk throws a 30-yard corner ball he has it out in 44 MPH in 3.1 seconds,” the spokesperson said. “He can go back in the safety spot with [a sensor] on his hip… and now that ball is out to him in exact Kirk Cousins settings. Turns pass break-ups into picks, essentially prepares you for whatever quarterback you’re going to play.”
This is excellent timing for the Packers, as earlier this month head coach Matt LaFleur talked about the team’s need of a new JUGS machine because he was frustrated with the one his team was using, calling its performance “ridiculous.”
“It was awful. You couldn’t get the ball to turn over. It was damn near impossible to catch,” LaFleur said on Aug. 3.
Seeker was originally developed by Monac Sports, a Dallas-based sports robotics company, as a tool that players could use during the COVID-19 pandemic when social distancing was essential. A few college football teams have already started using this technology, including Auburn, Tennessee and Kansas.