Rodgers should learn from Hasselbeck, Favre

If Aaron Rodgers learns one lesson during his first year as a professional, it should be the same lesson learned by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Be yourself. Listen to the coaches. Learn what you can from Brett Favre, but don't try to be Brett Favre.

Hasselbeck's first few seasons in Seattle, while not disastrous, certainly failed to approach anyone's expectations. He was benched in favor of Trent Dilfer a couple of times. He butted heads with coach Mike Holmgren. He would ignore what the coaches said and do his own thing.


"I think he tried a little too hard to be like Brett," Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck said.

"He would come in and say, ‘This is how we did it in Green Bay,' and wasn't very receptive to change," Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn said.

Watching from the sideline opened Hasselbeck's eyes. He surrendered himself to Holmgren's coaching, and he's blossomed.

"After I left Green Bay and he was there with Brett, he watched Brett play," Holmgren said. "And you kind of marvel at some of the stuff Brett does. And I'm sure there's a part of every guy that says, "I want to do that. I can do that.' When he came here, I kind of said, "You're going to be the guy,' and I think he just said, "Now I get to be the man.'"

"Looking back now, I really had no idea. I thought at the time I knew, but I really had no idea," Hasselbeck said.

The Seahawks will play in the Super Bowl on Sunday, and while running back Shaun Alexander is the league MVP, Hasselbeck's play will be the key if Seattle can upset Pittsburgh. If he plays on Sunday like he did to end the season — 76 percent completions, 10 touchdowns, one interception in December; 66.7 percent, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs — then he very well will be the Super Bowl MVP.

"They're the coaches. You're not," Hasselbeck said. "You do what they ask you to do."

That simple bit of advice will be the key for Rodgers, regardless of whether he is asked to be the starter in 2006 or if it's another year or two in the future.

Hasselbeck left Green Bay with a big ego, and Rodgers has one too. That's not a knock. Professional athletes — especially athletes playing a marquee position like quarterback — have to have big egos to succeed. But if Rodgers thinks he can come in and play like Favre, then he'll be a colossal failure. Rodgers, like Hasselbeck, has a strong arm, but it's not in Favre's league. If Rodgers thinks he'll be able to successfully emulate Favre's freelancing style, then the Packers and Rodgers are going to struggle mightily.

There are things, however, that Rodgers can and should learn from Favre.

Speaking of Andy Reid, his first quarterbacks coach in Green Bay, Hasselbeck said, "He told me that I could learn a lot from Brett Favre, including his leadership style and the way he motivates his teammates, the way he has an infectious attitude that when people are around him, they are having a good time. They are enjoying themselves and they don't even know they are at work. So those are the things that I studied."

In comparing Favre to Hasselbeck, Holmgren mentioned similar intangible traits.

"The competitive fire, the spirit of playing the position, the stubbornness, the intellect it takes to play the position, the ability to lead," Holmgren said. "Brett may have been one of the best I've ever seen rallying his teammates around him, which is absolutely necessary for the position. Matt has displayed that now in the last few years once he became the starter and is now playing well. Those would be the similarities. They are quite different in a lot of ways, but those are the things that would be very attractive to anybody that coaches them."

So, Mr. Rodgers, here should be the homework assignment given to you by new coach Mike McCarthy.

Study your playbook.

Study how Hasselbeck plays the game.

Listen to McCarthy and the coaching staff.

And, most important, reach out and touch someone. Call your teammates. Find out how Javon Walker is doing with his rehab. Bond with the affable Donald Driver. Take your linemen out to dinner during minicamp.

You're not Brett Favre and you're not Matt Hasselbeck. You haven't proven anything to anyone, so don't be too proud to learn from your peers.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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