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Rodgers Making The Most Of His Opportunity


Aaron Rodgers has finally gotten his chance.

No, Brett Favre hasn't retired, but with his excused absence from the Packers second mini-camp that opened Friday, Rodgers served as the number one quarterback for the Green and Gold.

The 6'2, 223-pound signal caller hasn't received many opportunities to work as the starting quarterback and that obviously has made it even more difficult to prove his worth as the 24th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

However, Rodgers has worked very diligently this offseason and by all indications, the second-year man out of California seemed to accommodate himself quite nicely.

"I put in a lot of hours learning the offense, getting into the weight room, and working on the field," Rodgers said. "Obviously it paid off in the first minicamp and I think it will in this one as well."

Head Coach Mike McCarthy has certainly taken notice of his young prospect.

"He's comfortable, he's been here since March 20th," McCarthy said. "So he's very comfortable with what we're asking him to do, but he needs to play. There's no substitution for playing football and that's where he's at right now."

Due to that lack of experience, this weekend is even more critical to his development, according to McCarthy.

"It's very important," McCarthy said. "This is the closest environment you get to playing in a game. For a quarterback, you can't get enough live reps.

"I think it's vital to all the young guys, the whole quarterback group, to take full advantage of this weekend because the starter usually gets the majority of the reps and once you get into the season, he usually gets all the reps. So this is a very important time for the development of the quarterback."

While Rodgers and McCarthy were pleased with the offense's work in the first mini-camp, Rodgers admits the morning practice could have gone a little better.

"We were a little sloppy," he said. "We put it to the defense at the last mini-camp so they kind of set the tone and we didn't match their intensity on offense.

"We beat them up pretty good in the first mini-camp. We hit some deep balls on them and had some big plays in the run game. But they got off the ball a little quicker today and wanted it a little more than we did."

Rodgers said he took about 50-percent of the repetitions when Favre was here for the last mini-camp and he estimates about the same amount this time around as well. While Favre's job isn't in jeopardy, Rodgers has used this time wisely in getting to know his teammates better while also becoming a more polished quarterback.

"It's an opportunity to show leadership, work on things to get better and start to get guys involved and follow my lead," Rodgers explained.

Besides repetitions, learning what it takes to be a successful NFL quarterback has also been a little easier on Rodgers for another reason: McCarthy.

"Being a former quarterback coach, I think he understands what we go through more on a day-to-day basis and our thought process," Rodgers said. "And as much as he puts on the quarterback and our offense, we have a lot of interaction one-on-one, what I'm thinking, what I'm seeing, as far as making checks at the line of scrimmage and pre-snap and post-snap reads."

Needless to say, Rodgers has put his time to good use. And he makes it known that it's too late in the offseason for the offense to be "new" to him.

"We've been doing this for six or seven weeks now so I feel like I've been doing pretty well," Rodgers said. "We went over the one and two offensive installs in the first mini-camp so I've got them down real well and feel like a coach on the field and that's where I need to be."

Not to mention where the Packers will eventually need him to be someday as well.

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