Rodgers copes with learning offense

Aaron Rodgers knows it will take time but that doesn't make it any easier. With starting quarterback Brett Favre not taking part in the June minicamp, Rodgers has been getting the same number of repetitions as veterans Craig Nall and J. T. O'Sullivan. As the Packers' number one draft choice, Rodgers knows that all eyes are on him – from the coaches and his teammates on down to the railbirds following the action through the chain link fence alongside the Ray Nitschke practice field.

So far, the results have been mixed. Learning the Packers' offense has been a daunting task for the University of California standout. Despite his quick release, Rodgers has struggled a bit with the language of the plays as well as getting a good feel for his checkdowns and receiver progressions. Understanding what's happening in the classroom setting is entirely different than performing when the bullets are flying.

"The plays are very similar to what we had in college," said Rodgers. "There are just more of them and the verbiage of the plays is a lot longer. For me, the hardest part has been translating the language into terms I can understand. I'm doing a lot of thinking out there instead of reacting. That's why I'm playing as well as I'd like to right now."

Case in point, Rodgers dropped back on one particular play and Donald Driver was streaking down the sidelines a full step in front of a defensive back. A bit slow to react, Rodgers still uncorked a tight spiral pass that just went past Driver's outstretched fingertips. Timing is everything. "Because I'm doing so much thinking, I'm a little late on my throws and I've tried to rush them. That's why I've thrown a couple of high ones. But I'm going to shore it up, study my play book and get things squared away. The game will start to slow down for me and I'll make better throws."

Away from the practices, the classroom and the private study, Rodgers says he is beginning to feel comfortable living in Green Bay.

"It's got that small town feel, kind of like my hometown of Chico, California," Rodgers said. "There are some great restaurants and I've been going out every night. We've enjoyed ourselves. The people are great and you almost have to do a double-take because they're so nice! I'm not used to that. And there's no traffic which is great."

One unexpected treat in this camp for Rodgers was a surprise appearance by Favre. Though he hasn't participated in the June camp, Favre couldn't stay away from his teammates and just had to drop in for practice. That was just fine by Rodgers. The look in his eyes made it abundantly clear that he was thrilled to finally meet the future Hall of Famer that he is being groomed to replace.

"I did get to talk to him a bit yesterday," Rodgers chuckled. "He kind of walked up to me and I was really nervous meeting him for the first time. But he's a great guy. I can't wait to get to know him more and become good friends with him."


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