What about Rodgers?

At this point, let's assume he's the man instead of Favre

Once the Green Bay Packers replaced fired coach Mike Sherman with Mike McCarthy, the hottest topic of the off-season was Brett Favre's future. Will he or won't he return?

It's mid-April and nobody knows this answer, although Packers fans and media are surrounded by this talk in some form on daily basis. Notwithstanding, I'm taking a stance … at least for this column. Since Favre hasn't decided on his future, I will. He's gone.

Now that we have that cleared up, here's what we have to look forward to: Aaron Rodgers.

Look forward to? That's right, look forward to.

Although most Packers fans want Favre to return, there's part of me who is looking forward to seeing Rodgers under center. I remember the days of Lynn Dickey, David Whitehurst, Randy Wright, Jerry Tagge, Blair Kiel, Anthony Dilweg and Don Majkowski being the man with the keys to the Packers' car.

Some of those seasons, actually most, were brutal. I'm not saying I'm looking forward to Rodgers driving the Packers into a 50-car pileup, but for the first time since early 1992 the Packers will have a vastly different look under center. While teams like the Bears have gone through quarterbacks at a higher rate than Michael Jackson has had nose surgeries, seeing Rodgers will be interesting.

There's nothing we can take away from 2005. Rodgers backed up Favre and played sparingly. Therefore, whenever Rodgers assumes the No. 1 spot, he'll be entering his rookie season. He's a young guy who almost was selected No. 1 in the 2005 draft before falling to Green Bay at No. 24. He's a guy who experienced great success at California, and maybe more importantly has the confidence he can follow Favre and be a capable quarterback in the NFL.

Many question Rodgers' ability, mainly based on a little 2005 action, his college coach's pedigree for having quarterbacks fail in the NFL and because he probably doesn't measure up to this year's stable of soon-to-be rookies in Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Jay Cutler.

Nobody knows, however, how good Rodgers can be. It's all speculation, because he hasn't played in the NFL. Whether it's Mel Kiper or a draftnik, the jury is out on Rodgers.

Which is why I look forward to 2006. Rodgers could be good right away or struggle. He could look like the second coming of, dare we say Brett Favre, or Joey Harrington.

For the past 13 seasons, after Favre's first year in Green Bay, most knew the Packers had a quarterback they could rely on. Now, did we know he'd be around this long? No. But the fact the quarterback position has been nearly invisible during most off-seasons is a credit to Favre. With Favre possibly gone, the talk at quarterback has become all there is to talk about the Packers. It's kind of fun to speculate what the Packers need to do to prepare the quarterback spot for 2006.

They need to add a backup or two, and then hand the keys to Rodgers. If we do see him under center in the season opener, I look forward to watching the kid to see what he has. There will be times you wonder if he's sober and there'll be other times you wonder if he's the next great Packers quarterback.

Likely, it'll be a grab bag of possibilities. Don't get me wrong, watching Favre one more season is something I want to see. Nevertheless, watching Rodgers under center in 2006 would be a different kind of entertainment, and it's possible we could enjoy the ride, even if there are a few bumps.

So if Favre retires, I look forward to Rodgers playing. I just hope the coaching staff feels the same way as the season progresses.

Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at dritchay@sbcglobal.net.

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