Rodgers becoming a leader

While Favre's away, backup quarterback gets to play

Playing in the shadow of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers realizes that the Green Bay Packers are not "his" team yet. Possibly in a year or two. This off-season, however, as Favre dwelled on whether or not to continue playing football, Rodgers has worked on an important aspect of being a No. 1 quarterback, and that's becoming a leader.

Remaining in Green Bay and participating in the team's off-season workout program has helped Rodgers get physically stronger. But hanging around the locker room on a regular basis has also helped Rodgers connect more with his teammates.

This weekend, with Favre absent from the team's second off-season mini-camp, Rodgers gets the rare chance to step out of the future Hall of Famer's shadow and lead some bonafide practices. Replacing a legend will not be easy for Rodgers, so this camp serves as another step toward the day when he'll be asked to call the signals for the Packers. Thus far, the team's No. 1 pick from a year ago, feels miles ahead of where he was last year with the offense and how to gain the trust of the players around him.

"I think it's hard not to notice that, but I've picked my ways," Rodgers said. "Last year on the scout team, those guys where my guys. I think we got a lot out of them. We pushed the defense. We got a lot of guys moved up to the active roster. It's the same kind of attitude I took to the scout team that I'm taking to the No. 1 guys – it's leading by example, encouraging them and just being me."

Favre participated in the team's post-draft mini-camp, so Rodgers could only take what he could get as far as taking snaps with the first-team offense. This weekend, he'll soak up as many reps as possible with the first offense, working on gaining their confidence, and furthering his development as a leader.

"For a quarterback, you can't have enough live reps," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's vital to all the young guys to take advantage of this weekend. As you know in the league, the starter usually gets the majority of the reps, and once you get into the season, he takes all the reps. This is a very important time for the development of a quarterback."

Like anyone on the team, Rodgers wants to play. But he knows the situation with Favre and, at least when speaking to the media, has been very understanding.

"I know my role on this team," Rodgers said. "I think you guys know what this team is all about. Brett's the guy and I'm the backup."

After this weekend, when Favre returns for the team's Organized Team Activities later this month and into June, Rodgers will revert to his backup role. In the meantime, though, he'll continue to sharpen his leadership skills as best he can in practice, gaining the trust and confidence of those around him.

"The key is you've got to be consistent," Rodgers said. "That's more than my code word on the field. You have to be a consistent guy in the locker room, a consistent teammate, not being a nice guy to their face and talking trash when you're not around them. … Guys will follow a winner."

With that attitude, "his" team, when he gets the chance to take over, will be right behind him.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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