A good problem

Aaron Rodgers has made a big jump in performance at quarterback from last year to this year. So big, that coach Mike McCarthy may have to decide whether to insert Rodgers during the regular season if Brett Favre is struggling to lead the offense. PackerReport.com's Matt Tevsh provides his thoughts on the potential dilemma.

Replacing a legend at quarterback is never an easy thing to do, but the Packers and new head coach Mike McCarthy have to be ecstatic with the development of second-year quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will someday take over for Brett Favre. Just when that happens is anyone's guess.

For now, the Packers will head into the regular season with Favre, 36, as their starter. Rodgers, though, is ready to be the man if called upon and has probably been the most productive of all the quarterbacks in training camp thus far. A year ago, he did not appear ready, but after a diligent off-season and the first two weeks of training camp, anyone who has been at practice can see the difference in how he is performing.

"He's more confident," said wide receiver Donald Driver. "He's not that young guy anymore that came in and felt like he had to be someone else. He's Aaron Rodgers. Once you get comfortable with yourself, then you can just go out there and play football."

Rodgers' acted as the Packers No. 1 quarterback for much of the off-season as Favre mulled retirement. He worked closely with McCarthy, studied the new playbook, and improved technically by staying and working out in Green Bay. After Favre announced he was coming back, Rodgers served as a translator for him, helping him with the terminology of the new offense in the post-draft mini-camp. It was strange to see Rodgers taking almost a lead role at the position Favre has manned for the past 15 years, but he looked like the mentor for a couple of days.

Through the off-season work and OTA's, McCarthy got a better feel for Rodgers. If Favre struggles into the middle of the upcoming season like he did at the end of last season with an offense that has a number of questions marks, the time just might just be right to give Rodgers a shot. It probably would not be the most popular move or the easiest decision to make, but it would be beneficial for the team moving forward. McCarthy has to keep one eye on the future while doing everything he can to succeed this year.

Favre has an ironman games played streak for the ages and is chasing some unbelievable records which he may well run down this year, but nobody wants to see him end his career winging interceptions or trying to elude pass rushers just to keep a losing season going. That is what last year felt like when former head coach Mike Sherman made it clear even when the Packers had been eliminated from playoff contention that he would stick with Favre.

Of course last year, through a 4-12 season, Rodgers was not ready like he is this year. That makes the situation a little different. All he is missing is some game time.

Rodgers is taking a professional approach with his preparation and his patience is a virtue. He knows he will get his chance and is not ready to rush to judgment or say anything to the media that will make headlines. He does not even feel any pressure to perform during game time, where he will ultimately be judged, because he knows he is ready, unlike his rookie year.

"I think a lot of times the pressure you feel is either from lack of preparation or lack of confidence in getting ready to play and I don't feel either of that," said Rodgers. "I feel like I'm prepared, I understand the offense, and I'm very confident in leading these guys, leading the second group."

He is not looking ahead, either, focusing on Saturday night's pre-season opener at San Diego and what he needs to do in that game.

"I just want to put up some points. That's my biggest goal," he said.

Whatever direction the regular season goes and where Favre takes it, McCarthy should find comfort in knowing that Rodgers will be ready. Just focus on No. 12 at training camp, and it is easy to see why.

Matt Tevsh

Editor's note: Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com.

Packer Report Top Stories