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Notebook: Rodgers On Cusp Of 4,000 Yards, Possible Pro Bowl Bid

Aaron Rodgers always has put team goals first, but there’s no doubt he’s making a strong case for an individual Pro Bowl bid. Rodgers enters Sunday’s game against Seattle needing just 38 more passing yards to hit 4,000 for the second consecutive year, which would make him the first quarterback in league history to reach that mark in each of his first two seasons as a starter. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 24


QB Aaron Rodgers scored his fourth rushing TD of the season last Sunday in Pittsburgh, matching his rushing TD total from a year ago.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers always has put team goals first, but there's no doubt the Packers' signal caller is making a strong case for an individual Pro Bowl bid in just his second season as an NFL starter.

Rodgers enters Sunday's game against Seattle needing just 38 more passing yards to hit 4,000 for the second consecutive year, which would make him the first quarterback in league history to reach that mark in each of his first two seasons as a starter.

That alone should get him strong consideration, but a look at where he ranks among NFC quarterbacks makes an even more compelling case.

With three quarterbacks selected to the Pro Bowl roster from each conference, New Orleans' Drew Brees and Minnesota's Brett Favre are virtually certain of getting two spots. They've directed the two teams with the top records in the NFC all season, and their passer ratings (Brees 109.4, Favre 104.1) are also the top two in the conference.

But Rodgers is as solid a choice as any for that third spot. In the NFC, his 102.4 rating is third, his 3,962 yards and 28 touchdown passes are second to Brees' 4,130 yards and 33 TDs, and his seven interceptions are tied with Favre and Dallas' Tony Romo for lowest among regular starters. He also leads all quarterbacks in the entire league with 305 rushing yards.

So is a Pro Bowl nod coming his way when the squads are announced next Tuesday? He's certainly not the only Packers player with a legitimate chance, as previous Pro Bowl honorees Charles Woodson, Nick Collins and Donald Driver also have had strong seasons. Running back Ryan Grant, receiver Greg Jennings, and linebackers Nick Barnett and Clay Matthews all have a shot as well.

"I think it would just mean that our team is doing well, that's what you have to start with," Rodgers said of the possibility of getting picked. "Anytime there's a Pro Bowl selection, that means the guys around you have done a nice job. If that happens, that would be great. I'd like to get this win (on Sunday) first, and as much as the Pro Bowl I think is a goal of all of ours, I'd rather play in the Super Bowl."

Holiday off

Players and coaches packed a lot of work into this week in order to be able to take Christmas off on Friday, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy believes the one-day respite this late in the season should pay dividends for the team, both physically and mentally.

"The longer you're in this business, the more you realize the importance of stepping away from your desk," McCarthy said, referring to the practice field and weight room as well. "And with the amount of work that was accomplished Monday and Tuesday, and then increasing the load Wednesday and Thursday, I feel very good about where we are in our week of preparation."

McCarthy felt the last two days of practice - Thursday was in full pads - went very well, and he felt a lot of energy during the workouts from players knowing they were getting a day off at the end of the week.

"I was having a conversation after practice that I'd consider giving the players off on Friday as opposed to Tuesday, because the way they practiced today with a day off tomorrow, it was as good as it gets," McCarthy said. "I'll tell you, we looked like we were in training camp the way they were flying around."

Players and coaches will return to work on Saturday to finish final preparations for Seattle, but everyone was definitely looking forward to spending the holiday with family and friends.

"We're happy, we're smiling, we enjoy it," Driver said. "It shows family comes first. That's what he's always said, and this is a great opportunity for us all to enjoy this great time with our family."

Familiar foe

Ever since Mike Holmgren left Green Bay to become head coach and general manager in Seattle in 1999, there have been numerous front office and personnel ties between the two franchises.

The most recent of those connections has nothing to do with those of the past but will make for an interesting matchup in the trenches on Sunday. Former Green Bay defensive tackle Colin Cole signed as a free agent with Seattle this past offseason and is starting on the defensive line for the Seahawks.

{sportsad300}He very well could be matched up against fourth-year Packers guard Daryn Colledge, who spent plenty of time blocking Cole in training camp and during practices through his first three seasons in the league (2006-08). It's not a battle Colledge is looking forward to, simply because it's always more difficult to go head-to-head with players who know you well, but that cuts both ways too.

"I'm never excited to go against guys that have played here before," Colledge said. "They seem to know a little bit more than the dudes usually do. We'll treat him similar to a division opponent. We assume that he knows the calls and we assume that he knows what he's doing, and he's playing very well this year. So, no, I'm not excited to see him."

Cole has started 13 of 14 games for Seattle this season and does not have a sack, but he does have 40 total tackles (23 solo), tying his career high set in Green Bay in 2005.

Injury/participation update

Two players were added to the Packers' injury report on Thursday. Linebacker Brandon Chillar was limited in practice because of a back spasm, while cornerback Trevor Ford sat out due to a knee injury.

McCarthy didn't sound overly concerned about Chillar, figuring the day off on Friday would help him recover. Ford banged his knee on the final play of Wednesday's practice and came in Thursday very stiff and unable to go.

Three Packers were upgraded to limited participants after sitting out on Wednesday. They were Barnett (knee), Woodson (shoulder) and defensive end Johnny Jolly (knee).

For the second straight day, Collins (calf) was limited, cornerback Brandon Underwood (hip) was a full participant, and nose tackle Ryan Pickett (hamstring) sat out.

For the Seahawks, running back Julius Jones (rib) was upgraded to a full participant after sitting out on Wednesday, while wide receiver Ben Obomanu (hamstring) was downgraded and did not practice.

Receiver Nate Burleson (ankle) and linebacker Aaron Curry (shoulder) did not participate for the second straight day.

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