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Friday, August 05, 2005

Aaron Rodgers

by Mark Quarderer
PackerChatters Staff

It's been a little while since I perpetrated my last act of heresy, so here I go again.......

Aaron Rodgers has been in camp for less than a week now and you can see people jumping on the bandwagon. I'm not going to say I'm the guy driving that bandwagon, but you all know that I've argued for quite a while now that the Packers would benefit from having a QB that was smart, mobile, and a good decision maker, especially in big games and in the clutch. It's something that I think is lacking in the team currently.....and I've taken a lot of heat for saying it....but nonetheless I still believe it is true.

Right after the Rodgers choice, some poster (I forget who) said "PN's going to love this guy".

And so far, I do. Yesterday in the scrimmage against Buffalo Cliff Christl succinctly stated: Rodgers looked sharp, maybe sharper than Favre.

It's just one sentence and it's just one scrimmage. But it echos other comments such as Peter King's "Favre looks old" (actually, I believe that Favre is the oldest starting QB in the league this year). Darrel Bevell and Tom Rossley have both praised Rodgers' accuracy, poise, and decision making. He's learned the playbook and is showing why he scored a 35 on the Wonderlich.

The reality is now that for the first time in his career Favre will go out to the practice field every day and share snaps with a guy who is younger, more mobile, smarter, and who is accurate, poised, and has good judgement. And the coaches will be there watching and comparisons are going to be inevitable.

Nobody expects Rodgers to be Favre but I suspect that Rodgers is going to bring things to the table that Favre doesn't and the team is going to benefit from that. He'll clearly make mistakes as he learns and we'll just have to live with that while he does. I suspect he'll learn and adapt quickly.

It has been opined, or flatly stated, by some that Rodgers will be no more than a #3 QB this year and will not see the field. I flatly reject that. Not only is Rodgers in all likelihood a better QB than Nall but the Packers have an enormous investment in him and it is in their best interests to give him every opportunity to develop at a pace which is suitable to him. That means you don't throw him in until he's ready but you DO play him when he is ready instead of handing him a clipboard and telling him to stand over there.

The difference in developmental opportunity during the season between the #2 and #3 QB is stark----the #2 share snaps with the #1 offense and the #3 guy runs the scout team. The #2 guy prepares as though he's only one play from being in the game whereas the #3 guy prepares knowing he's most likely not going to play.

I am aware, as Mark Lawrence pointed out, that Sherman likes to play vets instead of rookies. But he will play rookies. Clifton and Tauscher both started as rookies. So did Barnett and ultimately Carroll. Thomas, Davenport, and Walker are all guys who got time as rookies.

I believe that Rodgers will outperform Nall in training camp and will be the #2 QB by the opener. I further believe that Rodgers will get on the field this year more than Nall has in three years, and that when he's on the field he's going to play well enough that some people are going to understand that they're seeing the future.

Rodgers is the real deal. He's in an incredibly favorable situation in the sense that he's surrounded by offensive talent. It's unenviable in the sense that' he's replacing a legend but he'll have an opportunity to make his own reputation. All he needs to do is come in and play well and help the team win and the fans will welcome him with open arms.

Change is frightening to people, and we've had an unparalleled period of stability at QB, but change is on the horizon and it's not a bad thing.
I agree with all your comments. Favre is great, but he is what he is. Bart Starr, Joe Montana, and Tom Brady were more game-manager, mistake free QB's. They were/are pretty good, eh?
PN - I would go further to say that Aaron Rodgers got the better of the two situations. Let's step back just a bit and review...

Alex Smith goes to the 49ers, who have almost NO offense and hardly a Defense. They looked horrible last year. Part of his job will be to "instantly" make the Offense better. But, can he do that? Can he still scramble to safety on almost every play? Will he get the protection he needs? Will he escape the injury bug and stay healthy all season long?

Or, more likely, will someone get to Alex Smith and put him on the sideline ala Rex Grossman?

While he may have earned the proper placement in the Draft - this is the NFL and it's now a whole new ball game. Everyone starts fresh, period!

Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, doesn't have to deal with being a Starter right off the bat. Certainly, Smith will get his share of warming up to the NFL. But, correct me if I'm wrong here, aren't the Niners expecting Smith to step out onto the field pretty quickly?

Rodgers is NOT under that kind of pressure. You combine that along with having a pretty decent O-Line for protection and I think we'll see Rodgers spending all afternoon out there tryin' to get a tan. We all know he won't be out there right away, but there will (and should) be time(s) when Favre can be on the sidelines telling Aaron what to look for in the middle of live-action play. And, THAT, is where we'll start seeing more than just a few similarities between these two QB's.

JMHO - I think Smith may have got the bigger paycheck - but Rodgers got the better deal. What's more? I think he KNOWS it!
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