Skip to main content

Behind Favre, Rodgers Has Time To Grow


Less than 24 hours into his professional football career, former Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers, on several occasions during the Packers' first round of organized team activities, found himself answering the question, "Are you the one?"

Tabbed as the Packers' first pick in this year's draft, Rodgers, who by all accounts had "fallen" to the 24th spot, suddenly found himself in the enviable position as "the heir apparent to Brett Favre."

"I kept telling myself that everything happens for a reason," Rodgers said. "You obviously want to get out of the green room (on draft day), but I couldn't have imagined coming to a better spot. I think it's going to be a great relationship and a great fit for me. I'm just really excited about the opportunity to play behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time."

Both Rodgers and Packers Head Coach Mike Sherman admit that no one in the near future will be "filling" the three-time MVP's shoes, but there will come a day when someone must replace him.

"I don't think anyone will ever fill Brett's shoes," Sherman said. "Brett is unique in many ways, both on and off the field."

Asked about when that day might come, Sherman joked, "There will be a void here for a long time when Brett is gone, but that's not going to happen for another five or seven years, so we'll just talk about that then."

Sherman also added that Favre, who with the head coach's approval was absent for this week's workouts, was inquiring about Packers' first-round selection.

"He asked, 'How's the young guy doing?'" Sherman said. "I told him he's a pretty smart kid and that he's responding well to everything."

Sherman has yet to officially decide if Favre, who began working out with a personal trainer last week, will be asked to attend the Packers' next workout session.

"I talked to Brett and he's crying that he's working harder there than he would be here," Sherman said. "He said he's so sore he can hardly walk and that he's discovering muscles he didn't even know he had."

Rodgers, who has yet to meet the Packers' legendary gun-slinger, is looking forward to beginning his tutorial session and hopes that he won't have to wait until training camp.

"If Brett were here that would be great," Rodgers said, "but he doesn't need to be here. He's done it for 15 years and if he's here, great. If not, then both Craig (Nall) and J.T. (O'Sullivan) will continue to be a big help."

Admittedly, Rodgers has a long way to go before he's ready to take over the reins of the Packers offense. But with just three days of practice under his belt, he feels confident that he's headed in the right direction.

"Definitely not yet, but I learned a lot this week and I'm excited about my future with the Packers," Rodgers said. "In the first practice I felt like I didn't really know anything. But as practices went on I felt a lot more comfortable and Coach (Darrell) Bevell gave me some plays where I could be successful."

Sherman's first impression of the quarterback was a positive one and, he said, even conjured up some memories of Favre.

"All that we asked him to do I thought he handled extremely well," Sherman said. "I thought he showed very good accuracy. He had all the things that we talked about...quick delivery, accuracy, made good decisions.

"Although he did make a couple of bonehead moves, as all guys will do throwing the ball down the middle late, which you never want to do. Even No. 4 has done that a few times, but overall (Rodgers) performed well and will continue to progress."

Between now and the next time the Packers gather in June, Rodgers will be spending time in the playbook, preparing for the mental challenge that lies ahead.

"Rest," Rodgers said when asked what his immediate plans were. "But also to get ready mentally for the next (OTAs) and to be ready to take more snaps. I've got the physical part down. You can see the arm strength and the accuracy but I'm just not all there mentally.

"I don't know where all the reads are all the time and I just don't understand the plays altogether, but it's coming along. From Friday's first practice until now, I feel like I've made some huge strides, but I still have a long way to go."

As for when he thinks he might see significant playing time on the field, Rodgers remains patient and focused on the individual steps that lie ahead.

"I'm just trying to stay hungry," Rodgers said. "I have to make this team first and I still have a long way to go. I'm just going to try to decrease my mental mistakes and try to increase my efficiency within this offense and then we'll see what happens."

Playing behind a guy that has missed zero starts in his last 205 opportunities, there should be plenty of time for Rodgers to iron out the kinks.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content