ALLEN PARK - Preseason. Practice. Season Opener. Pffft. Lions' defensive tackle Shaun Rogers prepares the way Shaun Rogers needs to prepare.
And he would be the first to tell you that.
Detroit's defensive stalwart, among the league's most gifted linemen, is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he registed 87 tackles and four sacks. And if the team hopes to post a winning record, much of the same is expected from "Big Baby". But despite his success, Rogers has often caught criticism for his lack of time spent in a film room. Many players, including quarterback Joey Harrington, spend hours reviewing tape.
But that just isn't Rogers' style.
"I watch film, but I do what Shaun Rogers needs to do," he admitted, demonstrating proficiency at referring to himself in the third-person. "If watching three plays is enough for me verses another guy who may watch three or four hours - it's put on the individual, it's whatever I need to do to get ready for a game."
Arrogance? Not quite. Rogers would be the first to admit his presence -- all 6-4, 357 pounds of it -- is felt by the opponent physically. The mental part is likely felt immediately thereafter. During Sunday's season opener, that opponent happens to be former Michigan State Spartan and Packers' rookie Will Whitticker.
So does Rogers plan to make quick work of the seventh-rounder?
"It's doesn't matter who they put across from me," said Rogers, whose onfield cubicle joins fellow 350-plus pounder Dan Wilkinson's. "When I'm doing what I'm doing it doesn't matter - I'm not saying I'm unstoppable; I'm just saying that when I'm doing what I'm doing, it's tough on anybody.
"It doesn't matter who is over there. I'm just going to try and do what I do to the best of my ability and whoever has the best day is going to be on top."
In just five seasons, Rogers has quickly become one of the more recognized and well-respected talents in the league. At a position that doesn't receive much glory, he has -- with apologies to Warren Sapp -- become just that: the benchmark that all other defensive tackles are measured against. Typically, that is determined by the respect demonstrated by opposing quarterbacks. Most notably, Packers' signal caller Brett Favre, whom Rogers has an ongoing, competitive relationship with.
Rogers reciprocates the respect with Favre, and recognizes him as one of his own: a competitor with talent predicated on athletic instinct -- not an abundance of brain activity.
"We are playing against a competitor," Rogers said. "He's a competitor, I'm a competitor and whoever has a better day is going to win. It's all about working and getting the job done. All that thinking doesn't get you anywhere."
So, when asked the redundant "keys to the game" question, Rogers response was predictable. If not downright bona fide.
"I just go out there and play the game. I just go there and do what I have been doing - go be disruptive, have fun. There are no true keys. Like I said earlier, it is not about what they do it is about what we do.
"We have got to go out there and force our will against them."
"Big Baby" Looks To Impose Will on Packers
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